What is a motivation letter?

Usually, when applying for a job, a motivation letter is presented in addition to the CV. In the motivation letter, you write about why you are a perfect fit for the position you are applying for. Base it on the requirements and expectations of the position, and the skills needed for the job.
A motivation letter is a more thorough version of the cover letter. It allows you to draw attention to your strengths and previous professional achievements. When writing a motivation letter, remember that its content should spark an interest in the employer to meet you. The length of a motivation letter is usually one page.

Compile the motivation letter in different topic sections:

  • In the first section, write in general about the reason why you decided to apply – the reason, the job you’re applying for, and, for example, where you heard about the job opening.
  • In the second section, stress those parts of your skills, experience, and education that would be useful when working the job in question. Remember that a letter of motivation doesn’t simply repeat the CV but complements it.
  • The third section is the most important part of the motivation letter. There you explain why you are motivated to apply to this specific job and what value hiring you would bring to the employer.
  • In the fourth section, make a brief summary. Specify that your CV is attached to the letter. You can also add a note about your readiness to answer any follow-up questions by the employer and your expectation to participate in a job interview.
  • At the end of the letter, write your name and contact information.

Recommendations for writing a motivation letter:

  • Remember that the purpose of the motivation letter is to answer the employer’s question about why you are the best fit for the advertised position.
  • Be confident but avoid making yourself look better than you are.  Be honest with yourself and the employer!  At the same time be proud of what you have done and achieved!  Definitely give examples because those help substantiate your claims.  If you just write that you’re good, smart, and skilled, it’ll hardly attract anyone’s attention. But if you write how, for example, you contributed as a volunteer and which projects you have led, and what you learned from them, then that gives a lot more information about you.
  • Take your time!  Don’t leave writing the motivation letter to the last moment. Take several days to write your motivation letter. First, gather your thoughts and write down keywords that you would like to write about. When the text is ready, let it sit for a while and have another look at it the next day, for example. With fresh eyes, you may get new ideas and spot spelling errors.
  • Ask for help! It’s a good idea to involve your friends and family in writing a motivation letter. Ask them how they would describe you, what they would say in your praise, and what successes they would highlight. We often tend to be too modest and consider some achievements trivial, while others don’t think that way.
  • Spelling and first impressions! Correct spelling speaks volumes about the candidate’s word processing skills, written expression skills, and leaves a good first impression of you. Asking for help to check the spelling is also a good idea! Ask a friend, parent, or teacher to look at your writing because other people are better at spotting minor typos or inconsistencies.
  • Be correct! Format your motivation letter correctly and properly. For example, don’t write longer than allowed (1 to 1.5 A4) and make sure that your name, contact information and the place you are applying for are easy to find. It is recommended to use one of the most common fonts, like Times New Roman or Arial with a font size between 10 and 12 pts.
  • Don’t be discouraged by sentences about necessary 2-year work experience in the field or required 3-year experience in the position. If you have enough knowledge and skills to do the job in the job description, then having less work experience in the field or position will definitely not be what excludes you from the competition.

Compiled based on Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund www.tootukassa.ee.

The aim of the Unemployment Insurance Fund is to implement labour market policy.

Published in the youth information portal Teeviit in 2022.

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