How to Write a Professional Motivation Letter (With Examples)

A well-written motivation letter might persuade hiring and admissions officers to call you in for an interview or accept your application. In this post, we'll go through how to create a motivation letter for school or work, as well as some sample letters to get you started.

A motivation letter is sometimes referred to as a letter of motivation.

motivation letter

What is a motivation letter?

A motivation letter is a document that details your professional qualifications and motivation for applying for a course of study, a scholarship, or a volunteer position.

This letter goes with your application and any supporting materials you may have, such as a transcript of your grades or a resume/CV. A "statement of purpose" or a "motivational letter" is another name for a motivation letter.

For paid job applications, motivation letters are rarely utilized and are usually accompanied with cover letters.

Why does a motivation letter matter?

A motivating letter is a one-page letter in which you explain why you are the best candidate for a specific job. It is often included with your résumé.

motivation letter

In the following four circumstances, you must compose a motivating letter:

  • You're submitting an application for admission to a college or university's educational program (undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate).
  • You've applied for a position at a non-profit organization.
  • You're submitting an application to work as a volunteer for an organization.
  • You're submitting an application for an internship with a firm.

A motivating letter is not to be confused with a cover letter, which is meant to show how particular information on your resume/CV corresponds to a job vacancy.

Consider a cover letter as a hiring manager's introduction to your resume/CV, and a motivational letter as a persuasive closing sales presentation for a university or non-profit.

So, why is it important to write a motivating letter? You're more of a doer than a talker, as seen by your resume/CV, which lists all there is to know about you. That should suffice, right? Wrong!

People who truly want to be there and are enthusiastic about what they do are sought by all organizations. Your main motivator should be your goal!

A well-written motivating letter may be a game-changer. It can help you improve your resume while also compensating for any skills gaps.

motivation letter

How to write a motivation letter

Write down some of the major ideas and significant elements you'd like to include in your motivation letter, then build around them and expand their content.

  • Make your objective clear: What's the intended purpose of the letter? Are you applying for a job or university application? If so, why do you think the university and the Master's program appeal to you and are a good fit for you?
  • Focus on your strongest qualifications, past experiences (international experiences are always relevant), and qualities: Organize the middle paragraphs in terms of the qualifications most relevant to the program to the qualifications least relevant to the program, and you can also refer to your resume/CV for more details.
  • Don't go overboard with your writing: The majority of inspiration letters are half a page long, and they are never more than one page long!
  • Consider your life's sources of inspiration: The things that led you down the route you're on now. But don't push it, and don't devote too much space in the letter to it.
  • You have the option of using a three-paragraph format (intro, body, and conclusion) or a five-paragraph structure (where the body includes 3 separate paragraphs).

Here's how to get started.

Write an outline

Make a point-form/bullet-point outline of the content and general arrangement of your motivation letter.

Make a list of points that cover the following topics:

motivation letter

  • Why are you interested in taking the course or volunteering with the program?
  • Your abilities or qualities that will be beneficial to the school or non-profit organization
  • What drew you to the school or non-profit organization in the first place?

Consider whether you've included all of the necessary information. A motivation letter for a Ph.D. program, for example, will require more information about your past experiences and precise future objectives than a letter for a bachelor's degree.

Compare and contrast your outline with material from the school or non-profit organization to demonstrate that you possess the characteristics and qualifications they want.

Examine your format and structure to see whether rearranging points might result in a more logical flow.

Make changes to your outline until you're happy with it.

To remain on track, refer to your finished plan when composing your polished motivation letter.

Start your introduction

Write an introduction to the letter receiver/recipient in which you introduce yourself. If at all feasible, include the recipient's name to personalize your motivation letter. Include facts about your accomplishments in this area of your introduction to catch your recipient's attention and urge them to read on.

Avoid addressing the reader using "Dear Sir or Madam." Personalize the letter by addressing them by name.

Consider the following:

  • What is your name, and what do you do?
  • What position are you attempting to obtain? Where?
  • An introduction to the main body of your essay. Mention why you're applying in general, and then go into the meat of your motivating letter.

Use a body paragraph

The body of your motivation letter is formed by expanding the points in your plan. For each new topic, start a new paragraph. Remember that the goal of your motivation letter is to persuade the reader of your worth, so utilize compelling facts to do so.

motivation letter

Consider the following:

  • Do your values align with the position you're applying to.
  • Which qualifications make you a perfect fit for the program?
  • What are your hopes in terms of achievements that could be shared in order to increase the chances of getting accepted to the program?

Close your letter

Finish your motivation letter with a conclusion that highlights your objective and makes a favorable impression. You could also express gratitude to the receiver for taking the time to examine your application and invite them to contact you if they have any questions.

Proofread your letter

Make your motivation letter more succinct and professional by proofreading it. Correct any grammar and spelling problems, as well as any odd phrasing. To guarantee your motivation letter contains only unique information, edit anything previously included in your application form or resume.

It's possible that you'll have to proofread your motivation letter multiple times to catch all of the flaws. Complete this step two days or more after drafting your motivation letter if time allows, since time away from work helps you to see it more objectively. Ask a trustworthy friend or coworker to review your motivation letter after you to ensure it has professional grammar and spelling.

motivation letter

Motivation letter example

Here are examples of motivation letters to use as a guide.

College application example

Dear Mr. Jenkins,

My name is Danielle Smith, and I am a senior at Iowa City High School who is passionate about computer science. I'm writing to apply to Iowa University's design and communications program.

I want to learn more about multimedia design since I want to be a programmer and web designer. I believe your course will assist me in better understanding the digital design process and how websites and their visual images can assist businesses in projecting a positive image to customers.

I'm fascinated by how different colors and imagery may elicit different feelings in viewers. I like experimenting with the impact of color and images, and I consider myself to be naturally creative. I am certain that by working with you, I will be able to apply this flare to new projects at your institution and improve my design skills.

I like Seattle University's academic and athletic accomplishments. I admire how your school pushes kids to reach their full potential both inside and outside of the classroom. I believe that my broad interests, as a sociable person who has participated in numerous extracurricular activities, including the school band and softball team, would make me a wonderful fit for your school.

Studying at your institution would allow me to further develop my design skills while having fun, whether on the sports field or in another setting. I'm open to whatever experiences life at Seattle University has in store for me, and I'm hopeful that I'll be able to attain them with your multimedia design and communication degree. Thank you very much for taking the time to evaluate my request. If you have any queries regarding my application, please contact me at [email protected]

Sincerely,

Danielle Smith

Scholarship application example

To Ms. Stark,

My name is Brian Johnson, and I'm writing to express my interest in a scholarship for your Bachelor's Degree program in Nursing. I have a strong desire to serve people, and I hope that my financial constraints will not prevent me from pursuing this goal in my work.

I was raised in a lower-middle-class home by a single mother who worked three jobs to support my brothers and myself. My mother instilled in me the value of hard work and the significance of looking after people who are unable to look for themselves. She also emphasized the value of education in our lives, telling us that it would enable us to live a better life. Her support, along with my own dedication, enabled me to get some of the highest marks in my high school class.

I spent a lot of time caring for my younger brother, who has cerebral palsy, because my mother worked long hours. I believe that caring for him piqued my interest in nursing. His grins praised me for learning to be sensitive and patient. In the future, I aim to make my own patients smile in the face of their own health issues.

My inherent work ethic and desire to achieve make me believe I would be a valuable contributor to Los Angeles University. I know your school offers a great nursing program, and I believe it would be the ideal setting for me to earn the degree I need to land my dream career while also giving back to the community. Rest confident that I would take advantage of the scholarship opportunity and do my best to please you and my mother.

I appreciate you taking the time to review my application, and I hope to hear back from you soon. If you have any queries concerning my application, please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected]

Sincerely,

Brian Johnson

Volunteer work example

Dear Ms. Henderson,

My name is Susanne Brock, and I am a Chicago University veterinary science student. I'm replying to the Single Pet's volunteer request on their website. This opportunity piqued my interest since I have a natural interest in animal welfare, which I am pursuing via my studies.

I grew up on a farm in rural Illinois, surrounded by animals. I was active in many facets of animal care at this period, including dog training, horse grooming, and cow milking. I enjoyed spending time with our pets and learned how rewarding their company can be. I also learned the value of animal care's less glamorous aspects, such as cleaning trash and enclosures to make our animals comfortable.

I've learned even more about animal care as a result of my veterinary science courses, such as how to detect and cure animal ailments and how to assist animals in giving birth. I feel these abilities, along with my agricultural expertise, would be extremely beneficial to you at Single Pet's. I also feel I could learn a lot more at your company to supplement my education.

I'm particularly interested in working at Single Pet's since you take in such a wide variety of animals. I particularly admire your shelter's no-kill policy and dedication to providing long-term care for older animals. These regulations reflect my personal opinion that all animals deserve the opportunity to live a long life and find a forever home, regardless of how long it takes.

Finally, I believe I would be a valuable contribution to Single Pet's, and I hope you will accept my volunteer application. If you have any queries regarding my application, please contact me at [email protected]

Sincerely yours,

Susanne Brock

Motivation letter writing tips

Writing tips.

Follow guides

Follow your potential school's or non-profit organization's formatting, length, and content standards.

If the organization doesn't give any information, write 1/2 to 1 page of text in a simple 12-point typeface like Times New Roman or Arial.

With with your personality

Because your hobbies, feelings, and opinions are unique, including them in your letter is an excellent approach to set it apart from others. Write in a conversational tone that mimics how you would address your recipient if you were in the same room.

Focus on your strengths

For inspiration letters, it's ideal to use simple language that readers can comprehend. When proofreading, look for any too complicated phrases or jargon and replace them with simpler language. Make brief, energetic sentences that aren't easily misunderstood.

motivation letter

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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