Other than having a stellar resume, a motivation letter is a great way to convince a selection panel to pick your application for an opening. Unlike a cover letter that accompanies your resume when you’re looking for a job, a motivation letter is used when you’re applying to a college or university, a non-profit organization, an internship, or a volunteer program. A cover letter highlights how your qualifications match the job you’re applying for while a motivation letter explains your passions and reasons for wanting to join an organization.
How do you explain motivation in a job?
Writing a motivation letter can be quite simple to do if you follow some guidelines. It just involves putting into words what drives you and why you should be considered for a position in the organization. Use your letter to let the recipient know that you’re passionate about what you do, and that your skills will be a good addition to their organization.
Guide to writing your motivation letter
To get you started, create an outline for your letter that’ll guide you as you write. In the outline, include the reasons you’re interested in the school or organization, your skills and how they’ll fit into the program, and the reason behind your application. After you’ve done that, you can start writing your letter. If you get stuck, you can use your outline for pointers.
How to structure your motivation letter
Your motivation letter should include:
- An introduction
- A body (between 3-7 paragraphs)
- A conclusion
How do you start a motivation letter?
Just like any other letter, your motivation letter should include a section where you introduce yourself to the organization. Tell the recipient of the letter who you are, what you do, and the position you’re applying for. As this is the beginning of your letter, it is important to make it captivating and attention-grabbing. If it’s bland you’ll lose the recipient’s interest.
What do you say in a motivation letter?
Use the body of your letter to appeal to the recipient as much as you can. Mention your skills, your experiences, and your passions. Use descriptive words to sell yourself but don’t lie. A genuine, well-written letter speaks volumes compared to one riddled with lies and extravagant claims.
Your letter should include:
- The reason for your application. Why do you want to join the school or organization?
- Your top skills and qualities that will be beneficial to the organization.
How do you end a motivation letter?
Wrap up your motivation letter with a few lines that summarize your goals and leave a lasting impression on the recipient. Your conclusion should be about 2-3 lines long and should include an appreciation to the reader for considering your application for the position. You can also ask them to contact you in the event they need additional information or clarification.
When you’re done writing, proofread your letter. You can use a grammar editor to weed out spelling errors and other grammatical issues in your motivation letter. The aim is to make your letter interesting, professional and error-free.
Tips for writing your motivation letter
To make your letter even more compelling and convincing to the admissions panel, we’ve compiled some tips for you that you can use when writing.
- Adhere to guidelines
Most applications come with strict guidelines about the length and content they want to be reflected in your motivation letter. The instructions may also include formatting details like font style and size, the common ones being Times New Roman or Arial in size 12.
- Align your letter to the program’s requirements
Aside from the guidelines, you should also write your letter per the requirements of the program. The skills you talk about should be close to those that the recruiters are looking for.
Show the recipients that your values are in line with those of the organization and the type of candidates they’re looking for.
- Address the recipient directly
A motivation letter is a good way to let your personality shine through. Share your experiences with details that show your feelings and unique perspectives to the reader.
Even though you’ll write in a formal language, keep your letter light and conversational. It also works to your advantage if you know the exact recipient of your motivation letter so you can address them by name and official title, as this will add a personal touch to your letter.
- Use simple language
Using technical terms or a lot of jargon in your letter may alienate the reader. Although you want to showcase your knowledge, a motivation letter is meant to be simple to read and understand. Your qualifications will speak for you in your resume. Write your letter in short, unambiguous, and easy-to-read sentences that can be understood universally.
- Be truthful
You may be tempted to write things that are untrue to make your letter more alluring. But seasoned interviewers can easily detect made-up stories and you’ll be tossed out without a second thought. Instead, focus on your letter on your strengths and achievements.
Examples of motivation letters
If you’re still unsure of how to write your letter, we’ve included two examples below to show you how you can get it done.
College application motivation letter example
Dear Ms. McCloud,
My name is Mallory Cooper, a student at Andes High School in Boston, with an interest in acting and on-stage performance. I am writing to apply for the BFA in Dramatic Arts in The School of Drama at The New School in New York City.
I hope to become an actress in the future, and I believe studying under your instruction will set me on that path. It has been a dream of mine since childhood to become an actress on Broadway.
My love for acting is a deep one, as I have been doing it for a long time. I was first cast in a play when I was 5 years old, in our school’s production of The Cautionary Tale of Humpty Dumpty. From then on, I have been an active member of drama clubs from elementary school through high school, and I hope to spend the rest of my life bringing joy to people through my performances.
The New School is renowned for its excellence in Performance Art training. It has also birthed many actresses and actors, most of whom are my personal icons. Under the tutelage of your qualified teaching staff, I am confident that I will become one of the best actresses of my generation.
I am a hardworking person, who is open to experiences that aim to challenge me as well as help me grow in my craft. Not only do I have a background in stage acting, but I also have a bit of experience as an assistant director in my community theater. I’m sure I will thrive in your drama program.
Thank you for interest in my application and for considering me for the position.
Contact me on my email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Volunteer Motivation Letter Example
Dear Dr. Cullman,
I am writing to express my interest in the volunteer program at Children of Hope Orphanage in L.A, that was posted on your website in late August. I am a recent graduate from Zoe University with a degree in Psychology.
I am interested in taking up the position as a counselor in your institution because I have a passion for helping children and it is also my area of study. Having grown up in an orphanage myself, I know that my experiences as well as my education, can be put to good use in your organization.
While in college, I volunteered in other children’s homes like Opal Home for Destitute Children and Faith House. In both institutions, I worked under licensed psychologists to help counsel the children in safe, loving environments and also learn how to connect with them.
I am very interested in working with you and your team because your organization is larger and offers more support to children. Your commitment to advocating for children’s rights in various capacities is also a force behind my interest in joining your team. Your core values align with my own beliefs that all children should have access to a nurturing atmosphere despite their circumstances.
In conclusion, I feel that I would be a valuable addition to your organization as we work towards protecting children and safeguarding their future.
Please contact me at email@example.com for inquiries into my application.
Your motivation letter can make or break your application. Therefore, you should take enough time to write it so that you can convince the recipients of your suitability for the position. It should be honest, personal, and well-written, allowing the readers to see your personality and the motivation behind your application.