How to write a "letter of motivation", you can also write a cover letter
for employment. Make sure to include relevant details of job post that you are applying for.
"Letter of motivation" seems to be a literal translation
of the French "lettre de motivation". In the English-speaking world,
the document is called a cover letter. Remember that it is a letter, so
the layout must be correct:
Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing a cover letter.
• A "letter of motivation" or cover letter (CL) is your
opportunity to "sell" yourself, i.e. convince the institution or
company that they need to have you. Do not be modest: when applying for
a job, explain clearly why you think you are suited for the position.
• The goal of a CL is to provide a picture of your background and
goals that will persuade the admission committee to accept you.
expect you to show that what you have matches what they want. Remember,
this is a question of interpretation, and the secret of writing a good
CL lies in using your qualifications and experience to show that you
are the best person for the position. (This means, of course, that you need to modify your CL for each position you are applying for. The same goes for your CV, of course.)
• Beyond the particular skills required by each program, a CL
should show you to be a clear-headed person, capable of thinking
clearly, and a motivated, active learner. Write in a clear and logical
manner: remember, the way you write and present yourself says a lot
• Before writing the first draft, take some time to think about
yourself, your goals and your skills. Think about your background, what
and where you have studied, and how all that makes you suitable for the
program/position. Put this in to the first part of the CL.
• Continue in the second section with your professional goals, explaining the connection between them and your studies.
Present your long-term plans, and say how the program you are applying
for will help you achieve those goals. Make clear why your background
makes you suitable for the program, and how the program will help you
achieve your long-term goals. In this section also explain why
etc. is your choice – the courses, faculty, research interests are
possible reasons. In conclusion, state how you can contribute to the
• You need to take time. Expect to revise your letter up to 10
times (no exaggeration!) before you come up with a good CL. One
strategy is, let it rest after you have written a new draft for a few
days, and read it again, in order to get a more objective view. And
have it checked by as many other people as possible! To do this, of
course, means you must start the process early.
• And don’t just copy what you have said in the other documents
that you submit, but try to add to them. Answer the essay/statement
question, if you have one – it usually will be something like "Why are
you the right person for this program?".