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How to Write a Motivation Letter in 2024 (Guide & Examples)

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If most people find writing a cover letter hard, they find writing a motivation letter nearly impossible.

Motivation letters sound odd and apply to various situations which makes it more difficult to apply specific guidelines on what they should say and how to write them. 

Maybe you’ll just try to sneak past with a cover letter and hope no one notices…

Not so fast.

Motivation letters aren’t as hard as they sound and they’re simple to write once you know how. Lucky for you, we’ll tell you all the hows and whys behind a motivation letter that’ll get the hiring manager more motivated to hire you than Tony Robbins.

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What is a Motivation Letter

A motivation letter, also called a letter of motivation, is a short one-page-long letter that explains why you’re the perfect candidate for the position by using examples of your interests and achievements. It’s usually attached to your resume when applying for a job.

A motivation letter can also be used for other situations outside the job world such as applying for an educational program at a college or university.

Due to its nature, a motivation letter is perfect for candidates applying for an internship, volunteering role, or for candidates who have little or no job experience.

So that sounds just like a cover letter or a letter of interest, right?

Not exactly.

The difference between a motivation letter vs a cover letter is that a cover letter gives specific examples of how your job experience and skills match the opening you’re applying for. A motivation letter, on the other hand, focuses more on your personality, interests, and motives for applying. That’s what makes it such a great addition to a volunteer resume, an internship resume, a resume with no experience, or an entry-level resume.

Read more: How to Write a Cover Letter for Internship

How to Write a Motivation Letter

The best way to go about writing a motivation letter is using the three part structure that includes an introduction, body, and conclusion. 

To write a motivation letter introduction that will grab your reader’s attention, use these tips:

  • Add your up to date contact information in your letter heading. Include the addressee’s details as well.
  • Refer to the hiring manager or point of contact by name.
  • Mention what you’re applying for specifically; your reader doesn’t have time to guess what you might be interested in.
  • Explain why you’re writing your letter of motivation. Think of your intro paragraph as a pitch that needs to engage the reader enough to want them to read on for more details and examples.

If you’re struggling to write a good intro paragraph, a good trick is to leave it for the end. That way, you’ll know what you’ve mentioned in your letter of motivation and can find it easier to summarize and point out in your intro paragraph.

Let’s move on to the second paragraph.

The body of your motivation letter is where you really turn it up a notch and sell your best points. Don’t just list a bunch of things you can do or have done and definitely don’t just rehash your resume if you’re applying for a job.

Here are some pointers on creating a killer second paragraph:

  • Use specific examples that prove the motives and desire you expressed in the previous paragraph.
  • Use action verbs to put some power behind your words.
  • Include resume keywords not only to spice up your motivation letter, but also to get extra points in the ATS that the company might pass your motivation letter through.

We know that you really want in on whatever opportunity you’re applying for, but don’t make your motivation letter sound overly desperate and don’t lie to sound wonderful. Both those cases will just put your motivation letter on the fast track to the trash can. 

Now the last paragraph. The conclusion of your motivation letter should nicely wrap up the rest of your letter. Here’s how to do it right:

  • Mention why you’d think you’d be a great fit in the company or organization.
  • Include what you’d like to learn or gain from your experience. 
  • Add a call to action to show that you’re really committed to the role. 

So how does that all look put together? Check it out.

Motivation Letter Example

May 17, 2019

Ruth Tanner
1096 Locust Street
Albany, GA 31701

Javier Alfaro
HR Manager
Shofer Unlimited
3705 Shobe Lane
Albany, GA 31702

Dear Mr. Alfaro,
After watching my parents give and grow through their work in NGOs, I decided that when I was ready, I would follow in their footsteps. I was excited to hear that your organization was looking for volunteer drivers to help the elderly and others with limited mobility safely move around the city. I would very much like to become a part of Shofer Unlimited.

I was raised in the spirit that it’s more important to give than to receive, especially when we already have everything we need in life. From my freshman year in high school, I’ve volunteered during my summers as a dog walker in dog shelters as well as a teacher’s aide in daycare centers. One day, I realized how hard life can be when my grandmother could no longer move around the city by herself. When I got my driver’s license, I started driving her around to doctor appointments and for other errands. I realized then that this is something that I could do for others in the exact same situation and help them continue living a relatively normal life despite their years.

I’m a friendly and outgoing person who really enjoys spending time with others and making them smile. I’m a safe driver, I’ve had my license for 2 years and haven’t received a single ticket. I believe that I’d be a perfect fit in the Shofer Unlimited team with empathy and open-minded approach to others. I’m also convinced that Shofer Unlimited will be the perfect place for me to gain even more experience in working with different people and improving my customer service skills.

I’d love to talk over the phone with you over the next week about this position and what I could bring to the Shofer Unlimited team.

Ruth Tanner

Ruth may not have much experience, but she’s explained her motivation for applying for the volunteering opportunity as well as some previous experience that she’s gathered. This is definitely a motivation letter the hiring manager won’t be tossing out.

Read more: How to Write a Cover Letter

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How to Format a Motivation Letter

Now that you have the content all squared away, you still have to make sure that your letter of motivation doesn’t look like something the cat dragged in.

When formatting your motivation letter, take the following things into consideration:

  • Use a professional letter font and set it to 12 pt size.
  • Set your letter spacing to 1” on all sides of the page.
  • Choose a good letter layout to convey your professionalism.
  • Make sure you create a professional letter file title so that recruiters can find your motivation letter right away.
  • Remember to choose a letter design that suits the position you want and your own personality.
  • Always proofread before sending! There’s nothing more embarrassing than getting passed over because of typos on your letter or motivation.

Read more: The Best Cover Letter Outline

Key Takeaway

Writing a letter of motivation isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but it’s definitely something you can tackle with the right approach. Just remember:

  • A motivation letter is a great choice if you’re just starting your career or applying for an internship or volunteering.
  • Introduce yourself with an attention grabbing pitch in the first paragraph.
  • Use the second paragraph to show what you already know and have done.
  • Conclude with the value you could bring and a call to action.

Thanks for reading! Do you still have any questions about a motivation letter? Drop your question down in the comments below and we’ll get back to you!

About Zety’s Editorial Process

This article has been reviewed by our editorial team to make sure it follows Zety's editorial guidelines. We’re committed to sharing our expertise and giving you trustworthy career advice tailored to your needs. High-quality content is what brings over 40 million readers to our site every year. But we don't stop there. Our team conducts original research to understand the job market better, and we pride ourselves on being quoted by top universities and prime media outlets from around the world.


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Oliwia Wolkowicz
Oliwia is a writer and career expert with a solid background in consulting. At Zety, she writes dedicated, advice-driven guides to help readers create great resumes and cover letters to land the job of their dreams.

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