Motivation letter

The thing with motivation letters is similar to the thing with résumés. There are many templates, each different than the others, and it is not easy to pick the right one. That is why we include some advice as to how to write a motivation letter.
As the name suggests, a motivation letter should describe what motivates the candidate seeking the job. Why does he/she want that particular job? Why does he/she want to work for the company? But don’t make it too long. The reader must be interested, not bored. This type of letter is used to accompany another document, namely the résumé. This means that information included in the résumé should not be restated in the motivation letter. In the letter, you need to express drive and put your determination to get the job into words.

How to make your motivation letter interesting

  1. If the job offer includes a name of contact person, start the letter with a salutation including his or her name. “Dear Mr. Doe” is an ideal form (when writing in Czech, don’t forget the correct declension).
  2. Why you send the résumé. I am writing you in response to an offered vacancy of Sales agent for Beer Ltd. (fictive company). You don’t have to write, where and when you read the ad.
  3. Expression of your interest. State what vacancy you are interested in and why. Are you interested in the field in general? Do you like the job description? And why? Do you know the company and want to work for it? You should express and explain you interest in the job briefly and poignantly. For example: “I am interested in your offer because I am interested in trading and I like dealing with clients. I like dynamic environment, where I can put my communication skills to use.” These sentences both express an interest and provide explanation. Or: “I am interested in this vacancy not only because I like the job description but also because I have been interested in Cola Ltd. for some time. I know the company as consumer and I am very satisfied with the quality of its products.”
  4. We already explained why we react to the particular ad and what we find interesting about the vacancy. Now comes the motivation bit. You might find it curious that it is not just about your motivation. Persuading the reader to invite you for an interview is just as important as explaining your own motivation. You can best express your motivation by stressing what is important for you at work and what complies with the given job description. If you apply for work in an international firm looking for dynamic people, you might write: “I find working in an international environment stimulating because I like to learn new things, meet new people and speak foreign languages.” This communicates that you will be comfortable in the environment of an international company and that you have what it takes to “fit in” but also that you are an active and communicative person. By pointing out the compliance of the specified requirements with your experience, abilities and characteristics, you motivate the reader to invite you for an interview. For example, if an employer requires knowledge of foreign languages, your motivation letter should include truthful information about your language capabilities. You can also specify the length of your experience in a given field. For example: “I have been working on trading positions for the last 5 years and I would like to use my experience working for Auto Ltd.”
  5. Pointing to the résumé. All we need now is to point the reader in the direction of the résumé. Just refer to the enclosed document – i.e. your résumé. You can, for example, write: “Please find detailed information about my work experience in the enclosed résumé”, or “Please find all relevant information regarding my experience…”
  6. Request for contact. Avoid declarations such as “I believe I am the suitable candidate” or “I consider myself an appropriate candidate”. Rather, ask the reader to contact you directly. For example: “I will be happy to answer your queries during an interview” or “Please do not hesitate to contact me by phone. I will be happy to answer any questions you might have” or “I will be happy to attend an interview to answer any questions you might have”. Finally, don’t forget a closing and your full name.
If you want the addressee to read your motivation letter, don’t send it as an attachment. Attachments are for résumés. Motivation letter should be the “body” of your e-mail or message. This makes sure that the addressee really reads it. Avoid “universal” motivation letters. There is no such thing. Take the time and write an original motivation letter for each occasion. There is nothing worse than having to read a motivation letter about applying for a job of accountant in a small family business because you are the silent and shy type looking for a small team, when the vacation actually regards a position of a trader in a supranational firm.

Frequent mistakes

“Universal” text of motivation letter is one of the worst sins, which can actually close the door leading to personal meeting for an interview. HR specialists, however, often have to face many more mistakes:
  • Motivation letter is incompatible with the vacancy.
  • The text is too long or hard to read.
  • No mention about the candidate’s motivation.
  • Restatement of information covered by the résumé.
  • Boastful and untrustworthy motivation letter.
  • Spelling errors in the motivation letter.
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