Not every company or employer in Europe requires a letter of motivation when applying. However, if you would like to apply for a scholarship or study abroad, this letter is almost always a part of it. The letter of motivation is also known as the third page of the application. The reason for this name is as simple as it is plausible: The motivation letter follows the first two pages – the cover letter and the CV. Attention: Of course, these can sometimes have a larger scope.
The overall meaning of a motivation letter
A letter of motivation is in many cases something volunteer. There are even places where such a letter is rather inappropriate: A job as a temporary worker requires as little writing as the application for a management position.
But why even advertise with the third party? The motivation letter serves as a kind of hanger. Means that once the job requirements have been matched with the candidates’ qualifications and CV, the third party prevents the application from being lost in the crowd.
For which career should you write a letter of motivation?
The addition of the third party is especially worthwhile in the application for a job or training that is in great demand, so there is a high competition. Also, it makes sense to write such a letter if the curriculum vitae differs greatly from the requirements of the job or if the company is located abroad. Further applications for which a motivation letter is suitable:
- applying for a job after graduation with missing qualifications (eg experience)
- the application for a dangerous or very stressful job (for example pilot)
- Applying for a job that requires aptitude or passion (for example, journalism)
On a motivation letter you should in no case waive, if this is required in the application.
What should you pay attention to?
But what does this letter really mean? Clear: your motivation for the respective job or for the study. But it’s not that easy, because the arguments do not just come to you. Or even worse, you know what you want to write and the moment you start chewing on the keys, everything is gone. Since it probably goes this way, you get in this article a few useful tips around the creation of the third party.
First of all, you should try to animate the reader to read on. For this purpose, a suitable and above all exciting headline is suitable. In this way, the HR specialist learns more about your skills and qualifications than the cover letter and CV.
Before writing, think about what your strengths are: what can you do best and why do these skills fit into your degree, company or internship?
Your experience in the field is also important. Here you are allowed to apply a little thick, i. You can cite everything that is in a traceable connection to the sought-after study or job. You do not have to limit yourself to professional experience, but you can also mention your hobbies or volunteer work.
In terms of explaining the career goals, some people make the mistake of stating that they are earning a lot of money. That may be honest, but does not fit into a letter of motivation. For example, you should specify whether you want to climb the career ladder or whether you want to run a franchise business, for example. It is also important to specify how the court you are seeking can help you with this.
Last but not least, you have to ask yourself what attracts you to the company or the scholarship. Care should be taken to use only arguments that can be substantiated. Big songs of praise with big exaggerations about the employer should be waived!
These guidelines are only a small help: In the letter of motivation can also be argued arguments, which were not listed here.
The construction of the third party
As an applicant, one wonders, of course, what the perfect motivation letter looks like. There is no clear answer! The third page is but i.d.R. not more than one page long. If you do not get this page full, you should rather omit the letter of motivation (if it was not required). Otherwise, the whole project seems simply too set up and artificial. The layout should be based on the layout of the letter.
As far as the structure is concerned, there are generally two possible variants: you can write the motivation letter as continuous text or as bullet points. If you design the writing as continuous text, it is very similar to the cover letter: Use the direct speech and subdivide the continuous text into several sections.
Once you have decided to write in bullet points, you first think about several headings (strengths, goals, …) and then list the points in short sentences.
Differences between cover letter and motivation letter
Not a few applicants face a great challenge because of the similarity between the cover letter and the letter of motivation. Anyone who wonders what the differences between these two letters are will be grateful for the following tips.
In any case, it must be avoided that repetitions occur in both letters. While you write in the cover letter your suitability for the study and focus on your experience and qualifications, you explain in motivation letter above all, why you want to have the appropriate place. Here you can also relate to experience, but should primarily explain your motivation.
Another difference is that you briefly address your goals in the cover letter, but you elaborate on them in the letter of motivation.
While the letter includes various mandatory information, you can “let off steam” in the letter of motivation. There are no fixed rules here. The more the third side testifies to your personality, i. the letter of motivation will give your application a personal character.
If you follow the above instructions, nothing stands in the way of your successful application with a great motivation letter.