Career preparation

How to write a good motivation letter?

Your CV and your motivation letter should together give the employer a positive, accurate impression of you, so it’s important that the letter is well written and well laid out. A letter is a personal thing, so it isn’t easy to say what a good one should look like. However, there are a number of tips to help you write it.

  • Be original. To make sure your motivation letter stands out, it is important not to just copy it from a standard version you found somewhere online. Why are you applying for this company/organisation in particular? What makes you unique from other candidates? Try to answer these questions in your letter.
  • As a follow up to what is mentioned above: collect information about the company. This way, you can proof that you are truly interested, and it will be easier to adapt your letter to the specific function and company you are applying for.
  • Consider it to be an extension – not a repetition – of your resume.Your resume should include all your (relevant)  educational and professional experience. In your motivation letter you have the opportunity to elaborate on your experiences and include additional explanation. Do not just repeat what is already stated  in your resume, but explain why it makes you a suitable candidate for the job.
  • If you know the name of the person responsible, start your letter with his or her name. Someone who is personally approached is more likely to be appealed by your letter.
  • Formulate in a positive and future oriented way.Instead of: ‘I have no experience in this working field’ it is better to write: ‘I am eager to develop the required skills and competences to excel in this new working field’.
  • Use facts to support your arguments. For example, instead of solely stating your organisational skills are strongly developed, refer to experiences that proof this.
  • Make sure the letter is the correct length, i.e. no more than 1 x A4.
  • Use a good layout, i.e. an opening paragraph. middle paragraph and closing paragraph. The introduction should be persuasive and grab the reader’s attention. In the closing paragraph you should show your enthusiasm, but don’t overdo it. At this point you can mention that you are happy to provide any further information in person.
  • Explain why you are applying for the job and why you want to work for the company.
  • Also explain why you think you are a suitable candidate for the position. Talk about some of your experiences – do this in more detail than in your CV.
  • Ask someone to read through your letter before you send it – spelling mistakes and ungrammatical sentences give a poor impression.

 

  • When you are sending your motivation letter via email: make sure you have a ‘professional’ email address.
  • As mentioned before, companies want to know why you want to work for their company. Don’t use long, poetic sentences to explain your motivations. Stick to the point, be as concrete as possible. 
  • Do not forget to sell yourself. Do not only focus on what you can do/have done/want, but think about what the company is looking for. Try to link your specific competences to the needs of the organisation. This will make your letter convincing.
  • Recruiters will ask about you weak points in a job interview: do not mention them in your letter. However, it is okay to mention what you will hope to learn or develop in the job you are applying for.
  • Do not come up with professional or educational experiences which are not stated in your resume.
  • Make sure you do not exaggerate or sound arrogant. However, you do not have to underestimate yourself either. Being clear about what you are good at is allowed.
  • Double check for spelling mistakes
  • Avoid  using exclamation (!) marks
  • Avoid clichés
  • Ask someone else to read your motivation letter before sending it
  • Make sure enough ‘white space’ remains on the page, this makes your letter more pleasant to read
  • Before you send your letter, ask yourself ‘does this letter represent who I am?’
  • Do you want more tips or advice? See the website of NEXT

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