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How to Write Motivation Letters?

How to write motivation letters

Writing a motivation letter is a challenge for almost everyone: the first time a candidate suffers a blank sheet, and already gaining some experience, is lost in search of another original concept.

We have gathered for you the basic tips that will help the beginner and give inspiration to an experienced candidate.

What is a motivation letter?

Typically, this is the text that reveals details of the candidate’s application. It is written to the potential employer, the university admissions committee, the organizing committee of the conference, the forum and so on.

If the resume is the person of the candidate, then the motivation letter is the person of his project. They should not be twin brothers, that is, to repeat one another word for word, or distant relatives, that is, to remind each other only after a meticulous examination. Ideally, they complement each other and form a complete picture of the candidate and his ideas.

Summary and motivation letter are different, first of all, in the form of presentation of information: abstract in summary and coherent text in the letter.

Answering a regularly arising question about whether a motivation letter is a letter in the full sense of the word, several recommendations can be made. Typically, this is a text that does not meet all the requirements of the letter in the literal sense. However, there may be exceptions. It is worthwhile to specify separately the features of the genre in the country whose representatives will read it. For example, if you are going to write to France, then both versions will work: a letter written in the form of an essay, and in which the canon of the epistolary genre will be observed: an address to the addressee, the final formula of politeness.

Writing any text, if, of course, it is not a question of a sudden visit to a poetic muse, requires preparation. Writing a motivation letter – doubly!

Therefore, do not take it on the night before the deadline: a positive result is possible only if you go back to the text several times, improving it.

Step one: preparatory

It can be divided into several phases. The first and most important is to give yourself a clear answer to the question “Why do I write a motivation letter?”. Universal letters, as well as widespread summaries, do not exist. Otherwise, it can hardly be a question of motivation for a particular project.

Having designated the purpose (job search, application for a scholarship, project description), you can proceed to compose the structure of the letter. Let us recall the experience of school essays: the teacher of literature was still right, demanding that the text is preceded by a plan, otherwise logical failures can not be avoided.

As there is no text without preparation, there is also no text without the basic idea. And although it seems subconscious that the concept of all motivational letters is the same – it’s not enough to tell why you should be paid attention to. Everyone will want to pay attention. Become the one who correctly places the accents.

In other words, it is worth highlighting what this story will be about this time. For example, about what led to the chosen specialty, if the previous education was received in another area. Or about why this internship is the very first step to a career dream.

When the main idea is formulated, it is possible to draw up a more detailed plan. A single recipe can be repeated, it can not be, but it is worth remembering that the introduction, the central part and the conclusion are unshakable, no matter what they are talking about.

At the planning stage, you can think about the introduction and conclusion that can be both more classical (at the beginning – the presentation of the candidate and the project, at the end – the final formula, the expression of hope for interest in the candidacy), and more individual. For example, why not start with a capacious, attention-grabbing phrase that positively characterizes the author of the letter or his idea.

Group ideas and arguments: the previous experience in one column, the reasons for interest in the position, the project and so on – in another, plans for the implementation of the skills received in future studies, work in the third. This will help not to forget the important and avoid illogical transitions.

Think about the words-bunches, and if you want to write in a foreign language, it’s useful to arm yourself with a list of connectors for writing an essay.

Step two: go to action

Before proceeding to write the letter, let us return once more to the first point – its purpose. It will determine the content and structure.

Admission letter to the university

The key word here is the background that corresponds to the chosen direction. Therefore, you need to concentrate on what you have done, moving towards the intended goal. Let’s say we’re talking about a master’s degree in ecology. Telling about what you studied in the bachelor’s program, make an emphasis on participation in scientific conferences and schools, published works, mentioning, for example, volunteering in a reserve or holding lectures for schoolchildren. It is important to remember that aspects of activities need not merely be listed: this has already been done in summary. At the stage of the motivation letter, it is essential to know what kind of experience the candidate received by doing this or that activity, what qualities he showed, what he acquired knowledge and skills necessary to successfully master this program and to realize himself in the profession.

It is also necessary to tell with the maximum degree of specifics about who you want to be after you receive the diploma, where you plan to work. Even if you think so far it seems impossible, only in this way you can achieve persuasiveness.

A letter in which the candidate scolds the previous university or his country and the education system in it will not be successful, thus trying to explain the need to study or conduct research where he applies. If the specialty is rare and its teaching in a particular city or country is not done, there are no necessary laboratories for conducting research, and so on, we can mention this, but it is not worth taking this idea to the fore.

Letter for scholarships, grants

The application for a scholarship is usually submitted at approximately the same time as the package of documents for admission to the university, or even simultaneously. Therefore, you do not have to invent a bicycle: the commission will again be interested in your education, and also why you are the ideal candidate for training in this specialty. After all, scholarships are usually intended just for those who have managed to prove that it is able to be realized in the chosen field. Therefore, it is worth mentioning those merits and skills that are directly related to the profession, which the candidate plans to master.

What exactly is worth writing in the hope of a grant, so it’s about the financial component of the issue. Family income, the euro or dollar rate, the cost of living in another country and other factors that may seem relevant are not that at all. Scholarships in the overwhelming majority of cases encourage successful candidates in the academic sense, leaving the social aspect behind the brackets. Abroad there are scholarships on social criteria, where the amount is calculated from the financial position of the candidate, but, as a rule, for foreign citizens, they are not available.

Internship letter

If in a letter to a scholarship it is appropriate to mention the diversity of the candidate’s activity, then the more specific the goal, the more accurately it must correspond to the content of the letter.

It is appropriate to focus on what the candidate already knows how to do in this area (even if he does not know how much). The previous experience is certainly valuable, but all with the same condition of relevance: applying for the position of an intern in the HR department, it is not necessary to talk about how efficiently you performed the duties of the waiter.

To study the employer to whom the letter is written is useful not only to those who aspire to take a permanent position but also to an intern. For example, it may be found that the company has connections with Spanish partners – so knowing the language you were looking for will become a weighty argument.

When writing a motivation letter, you need to look more often at the job announcement with the list of requirements: the employer is waiting for confirmation that the candidate meets them.

Letter for work

The “warned – armed” principle works here as nowhere, so at the preparation stage, it is necessary to carefully study the company to which the letter will be addressed.

First, for the features of work. The letter should tell you about the situations that showed your skills and qualities necessary for this position. If the activity is such that business trips are forthcoming, tell us about the successful experience of business trips at the previous place of work. If you work remotely – show that you can organize yourself. More examples! They will bring the specifics.

Secondly, it would be superfluous to study the rhetoric of the company, for example, after reading information from the official website. This does not mean that after this it is necessary, forgetting about your style, to copy the expressions that describe the company’s activity, but it will not hurt to learn some essential points for the ideology of the collective.

Stage Three: Motivation Letter Editing

If the sweet moment has already come and put a dot in the last sentence, it’s too early to relax: ahead is a re-reading of the letter and correction of logical and linguistic shortcomings. What you should pay attention to:

  • Spelling and punctuation are important regardless of specialty and position because literacy is courtesy to the reader.
  • The structure of sentences: they should not be overloaded and ambiguous. Particularly meticulous is to take into consideration the sentences with several “which”, and also to the combination of more than two nouns in the genitive case.
  • The choice of vocabulary: avoid too abstract words and expressions, as well as banalities like “sociable.” And, of course, the fight against chancery should be fought mercilessly. “Given the above,” and “there is a place to be” can not decorate any text.

Now, finally, you can read the letter to a friend and click the “send” button.

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Olivia Stephens
Olivia Stephens
I wrote for periodicals last few years and I believe that now this experience continually helps me. Experience in the media gave me many other advantages. I know how to look for information not only on the Internet. I know how to use archives, how to get the right information from people, how to conduct real investigations. Thanks to the studying at the university, I efficiently collect unique material for my papers.


  1. I wrote a motivation letter to participate in the university exchange program. Could you review it and point out the mistakes. What is your opinion on things to be corrected or changed?

    1. For admission to the any US University, you must write a motivation letter. Sometimes it could be 2-3 papers depending on the speciality and university. Motivation letters play a leading role in your admission! There is a need to adapt the motivation letter for each particular university, indicate their specific advantages and why they should choose you. We will gladly help you with this stuff.

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