Tips + Tricks for Writing a Motivational Letter
Written by: Project Manager of the Womenpreneur-Initiative, Michaela Sullivan-Paul
Motivational letters can be intimidating for many reasons. Sometimes organizations ask you to write about your future in a role that is vague or ambiguous, sometimes they ask for something short and concise, making it tricky to prioritize what should and should not be included, other times you find yourself reusing the same one over again for different positions, making it hard to tailor your expertise to a specific role. However, a well-written motivation letter can secure you the chance of a lifetime. A clear, well-organized, and concise account of your experience and qualifications can land you your dream job, or snag you a major scholarship, it can even be your ticket into schools, residences, and events!
That is why we have put together some Tips + Tricks to master your Motivational Letter.
Let’s start at the basics… What is a Motivational Letter?
A Motivational Letter, also referred to as a “statement of purpose” or “motivation letter”, is a written document that outlines and distills your professional and academic skills. This should be complemented with your reason (or motivation) for applying for that opportunity, whether it be a job, scholarship, internships, or volunteering.
This document is often accompanied by a resume or CV (curriculum vitae), and the application for the opportunity, along with other documents that may be requested such as transcripts, recommendation letters. Often when you are offering additional documents, this is a good opportunity to reduce repetition between your documents, offering you the chance to include experience that is not necessarily highlighted by other documents, but more on that later.
Break it down and build it up... How to Structure a Motivational Letter
Most requests for Motivational Letters will specify how long it should be, but in cases in which they don’t, it is usually best to stick to one-page. This can be easily organized into 3 paragraphs, 5, even 7, but regardless of how many paragraphs you choose, you should definitely consider including the following in this order:
- An introduction to you
- Your experience
- Their priorities
- Why you should work together
Content: A little about you, a lot about them
Introduction: A brief pitch about yourself. This should be catchy and appealing, like the hook of your application. Here you can include:
- Contact Information
- Should include: your name, an email, a phone number
- May include: Organization/Institution name, personal websites or social media links
- Personal Information
- Current position/institution/placement
- General reasons for your application and interest in the opportunity
Your experience: No time to be humble, here is your chance to show off all your talents, experiences, and skills. Here you can include:
- Academic, volunteer, and/or professional experiences
- Use real-life examples with real measurements or indicators
- Ex: I organized an event in which a panel of 5 experts shared their insights with 75 attendees
- Reasons your experience are relevant
- Lessons learned from experiences
Their priorities: Show that you did your homework and highlight why that organization or institution’s values align with your personal goals.
This can be in the form of highlighting specific faculty members or departments for educational opportunities, or reference to the organizations’ mission statement and how it relates to your future goals including professional, academic, research, or personal reasons. Most organizations and institutions want to see that you have taken the time to research and acknowledge their priorities. This may take time, but it is definitely worth it.
Why you should work together: You’ve highlighted your strengths, you’ve highlighted their needs, now put them together for a perfect match.
Here is your chance to show the review board why you are the perfect candidate for the opportunity. This should be both backward and forward thinking. Make reference to your past experience and relate them to the future, outlining why you are the right fit for this opportunity. This is a great chance to make direct reference to the eligibility requirements or expectations related to the opportunity. If no requirements are available, do your best to anticipate the requirements and explain why you are confident that you can fulfil them.
Conclusion: Wrap it up
Like most written conclusions, this section should be a concise summary of what was previously highlighted in the Motivational Letter. However, this can also be used to highlight other relevant information that is not directly related to the opportunity, but to your ability in fulfilling or accepting the opportunity. This may include:
- Your available starting or acceptance date
- Your willingness to relocate or travel to accept the opportunity
- The documentation you possess that will determine your ability to accept the opportunity (I.e. Passport, visas, residency)
- Your willingness to carry out the opportunity in-person or remotely
Now that you are ready to write a great Motivational Letter, check out the Womenpreneur Digital Hub to check out the most recent opportunities in employment, education, conferences, and more!
About us: The mission of Womenpreneur-initiative
Womenpreneur is a non-for-profit organization, conducting activities in Belgium and in the MENA region. Since 2016, we have launched several initiatives and projects which aim to boost women’s economic participation and engagement in entrepreneurship and tech, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have reached and empowered more than 15 000 women since 2016.
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