Motivation Letter Format
The motivation letter structure is very similar to the structure of a cover letter with the main difference being to do with the content you include. Writing a cover letter for a job will require you to give details on previous work history, which could be applicable if your motivation letter is for an internship. However if you are writing a motivation letter for university, you will be more likely to talk about your academic achievements and personal skills.
1. Details: always layout your motivation letter with your address and contact details at the top (left) and the recipient address details (right)
2. Salutation: formal greetings are important, know specifically who you are writing to and what department they might be in
3. Main body: include skills, achievments, working past (optional), personal qualities, relevant experiences
4. Conclusion: be persuasive and enthusiastic, wanting to follow up, eager to hear back, signing-off
The cover letter is a document that usually accompanies your CV when applying for a certain academic or professional position. It provides additional information on your skills and gives you an extra opportunity to sell yourself for a job, scholarship or some type of work experience. Knowing how to write a cover letter in a way that paints you in the best light will help ensure your success.
The discussion between what is the difference between the cover letter vs motivational letter is quite simple as they are extremely similar. However, within the category of a cover letter you will find two principal purposes: the cover letter for a job, to persuade a company that you are the right person for the position, and the cover letter for educational purposes, to demonstrate how important your school of choice is to you.
Cover Letter Basics
When writing a cover letter it is important to distinguish whether you are writing a professional cover letter or an academic cover letter because they will have different audiences and purposes. Although, between the two types of cover letter the single main reason is to convince the person looking over it that you are what they need.
Cover Letter for a Job
Professional cover letters are important in the job application process, especially for competitive positions where you are one amongst many interested in the same job. Depending on the company, some may place heavier importance on your cover letter than on your CV which is why you need to know how to write a cover letter and what goes in a cover letter format that will show you off in your best form.
It is also vital that you read through your cover letter before handing it in; take a look at some tips and advice on writing your cover letter that might prevent a major slip-up on your part. It is not unheard of that some applicants have simply reused old cover letters without editing them for new job positions. Not only would this ensure you to be out of the question for that specific position, but it could make you memorable and out of question for any future position at that company or one of their partners.
Cover Letter for an Internship
Despite this cover letter being for a temporary position, it is still commonly asked for during the application process. It plays a bigger role with more competitive internships as employers want to know that you will take your responsibilities seriously. It is your opportunity to show an interest in what the company does, and prove that you would work just as hard as a normal employee. Cover letters for an internship would generally carry more importance than your CV specifically because you are not applying for a permanent job.
Cover Letter for a Voluntary Position
Similar to the cover letter for an internship, the cover letter for a voluntary position also carries high importance. The organisation has to see that you are eager to work hard, despite not getting paid, and that you will be a positive for them rather than a negative. Although the element of competition might not be present in this case as it would for an internship, you will still be given a workload similar to that of a paid employee and will be treated like one as well. This means that applying for a volunteer position in hopes you will not have as much work is the wrong mentality to have. Volunteer positions can sometimes lead to internships or permanent jobs, therefore by showing you are serious in your cover letter, it could benefit you in the future.
Motivation Letter for University
An academic cover letter is not too different from a cover letter for a job because they both require you to sell why you would be a good candidate for a position. The difference lies in the audience of the cover letter and who will be on the receiving end. In this case it will be an academic representative instead of an employer, meaning that you need to emphasise academic strengths rather than professional ones. It is always a good idea to exhibit both, but remember the advice on writing your cover letter is to tailor each one specifically for each position.
With university places, you can be sure that you will have competition. There will be many students who are all applying for the same course and depending on the popularity and places available, your cover letter may be a deciding factor. Knowing how to write a cover letter and what to put in the cover letter format is therefore even more crucial in this particular case.
Motivation Letter for a Scholarship for University
Applying for a scholarship will require some sort of motivation letter or essay to provide information about yourself. In these cases, it is less common that it will be accompanied by your CV which means that you may have to include more factual details in your academic cover letter. You have to be even more persuasive here because you must ensure to show the academic enterprise you are responsible and are a good choice for their support. A scholarship cover letter should focus more on you as a person rather than your achievements because you are asking for aid rather than applying for a position at a university or company.
Personal Statement vs. Motivation Letter: Do You Know the Difference?
When you’re filling out your applications, you’ll notice that universities and degree programmes will ask for additional materials, like writing samples, transcripts, CVs, and recommendations. You will also see that sometimes schools will ask for personal statements, while other universities are asking for motivation letters.
ü Both the ‘motivation letter’ and a ‘personal statement’ are meant to provide this information. So, then, what is the difference?
ü Being personal in a personal statement
ü A personal statement is your opportunity to get, well…personal. It’s the chance for you to talk about yourself (and who doesn’t love talking about themselves?) and explaining to the university exactly who you are.
ü A key part of a personal statement is your opportunity to be open and honest. Talk about the struggles you have had during your studies or life-changing experiences you have undergone throughout your life. The personal statement is a chance to explain to the admission committee exactly what kind of person you are.
ü You should also specify how your personal experience has shaped you into the scholar that you are today, and how it will continue to influence your research (this is where there is a slight overlap between a personal statement and a motivation letter).
ü You have to tell about your plans and motivations; but, in a personal statement, you’ll want to place a lot of emphasis on who you are.
ü It is crucial that you be most honest about yourself, and outline anything that you think the admission committee ought to know about you – things that won’t fit on your CV or show up on your transcripts.
ü Most importantly, with a personal statement, you have room to be creative. Try to grab the reader’s attention with an interesting anecdote, or story from your life. Open with a quote from your favourite author, or philosopher. Introduce an idea that keeps them reading.
ü You do not need to feel constrained by any form, language, or structure. Use your personal statement to be expressive – this is exactly what they are asking!
Motivation for a motivation letter
Like a personal statement, you are also asked to talk about yourself in a motivation letter. The difference is, however, that you will have to spend a lot more space discussing your future goals than you do talking about your past experiences.
You will be asked to answer a few questions, like:
· Why are you applying for this specific degree programme? Why is this the right time for you to be applying?
· What do you hope to do in the future (i.e. career goals) and how is it connected with this degree?
· What are your specific interests on this subject? Do you have a specific area you would like to research, or a topic you would like to explore?
· What is so special about the programme you’re applying to, and what do they offer you? Show here that you’ve thought carefully about the school your applying to and the people who are there.
· What makes you the perfect candidate for this programme? This is where you talk a bit about yourself, your life, your experiences, and your abilities that have shaped the kind of student you are.
As you can see, in a motivation letter, you’re meant to answer a lot of ‘why’ questions.
In other words, you indicate to them specifically why you are sitting down and filling in this application today, and why they should look at your application. Spend less time on your own biography and backstory; spend more time talking about how you’ll be the best match for their programme, and what compels you to study there.
It’s important to note that a ‘motivation letter’ is actually a letter in the conventional sense. Start your motivation letter as you would any other letter, by writing, ‘Dear admission committee’; or, if (and only if) you know the name of the person who is assessing your application, address him or her by their surname and title: ‘Dear Dr. Smith.’