Have you ever applied for a job, an Aureus committee, etc.? Chances are that you had to write a piece of text explaining your motivation. One thing is certain: even if you have not written one yet, you will probably need to write a motivation letter somewhere during life.
Trying to translate your feelings into words can be quite a challenge, especially if your real reason is not what the recipient would like to hear. Unfortunately, “I just really like the university” is not enough to get into that one spot you have in mind for your exchange. Fear not, you can use this blog as a helping hand.
What is a motivation letter and why is it important?
A motivation letter is a one-page letter in which you try to convince the reader why you are the perfect candidate. Think of it as a closing sales pitch, your final chance to make a great impression. What makes you stand out? Even though you have the largest list of extracurricular activities and studies on your resumé, it is important to show how enthusiastic and driven you are for a particular position.
In the first heading, you explain the main topic of this section. After that, you go deeper into the different elements of that topic in the subheadings. A situation where you would use this format is if you interview more than 1 person in a blog.
The first paragraph is always your introduction. You should at least include:
- Who you are and what you do;
- A quick recap on what you are applying for;
- The general reason why you are applying, as an introduction to the main part of your letter
The middle paragraph(s) is the most important. Here is where you tell your story, your achievements, your skills, your goals, and more. Use this section as a selling pitch, but beware: the person reading your letter will probably have read a thousand before. Consider the reader to be an expert who reads through every lie or exaggeration: it’s better to be 100% honest. It will not hurt to include some proof to back up what you wrote down.
The conclusion should be a short and concise summary of your letter. Summarize your key points written in the middle section, state your main reason for applying once more, and thank the reader for its time and consideration he/she has devoted to reading the letter.
How to stand out?
The best piece of advice is: do your research. Try to find every bit of information about the organization or position and use it to your advantage. For example, look who is reading your letter and address that person directly. Think about the most important aspects of the function and try to make connections between your own characteristics. Look at the stated requirements and elaborate on how you have achieved them. It’s best to make your letter as personal as possible, using all the useful information you can find.
If you use complete sentences that show both intellect and interest, you are almost guaranteed to stand out from the crowd. Do not exaggerate too much, but use sensible paraphrasing. Try to say “I believe that this is the perfect place to further develop my skills because ….” instead of “I would love to go to this organization because…”.
One last tip: use the Internet. You can find millions of example letters, layouts to use, example sentences you could include, and much more that could spark your creativity through Google. Read some example letters before writing, and you will find that it will be much easier to write your own letter.
Good luck with putting your motivation on paper! We hope this blog has been helpful. If you ever find yourself in a position where you have to read that large pile of motivation letters yourself, then a small course in fast reading might be nice! You can find one here.