How To Write a Motivation Letter (With Template and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 22 November 2022 | Published 2 August 2021

Updated 22 November 2022

Published 2 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When applying for a job, internship or academic programme, recruiters might require you to write a motivation letter. You can use this document as an effective device to build interest in your application. Understanding how to present your most valuable characteristics and experience to a recruiter can increase your chances of receiving an interview invitation. In this article, we describe what a motivation letter is, explain the benefits of including one with your application, share how to write a motivation letter and provide a template and examples for you to reference.

Related: How To Write a Business Letter (With Tips and an Example)

What is a motivation letter?

A motivation letter, also known as a personal statement, is a formal letter you can submit alongside your CV and cover letter to explain why you are an excellent candidate for the position. It contains details about your skills, experience and career ambitions so that the reader can familiarise themselves with your background and aspirations. A personal statement may also accompany an application to help you gain admission into an education programme, earn an internship or secure a volunteer opportunity.

While a personal statement and a cover letter are both documents that can convince key decision-makers of your potential, they serve two separate purposes. In the hiring process, a cover letter's aim is to act as an introduction to your CV, while a personal statement acts as a closing sales pitch.

Related: How To Write a Cover Letter

What are the benefits of a motivation letter?

If a recruiter specifically asks for a personal statement, it's important to adhere to their requirements because it gives you another opportunity to reveal more about your skills and interests. Making this extra effort can distinguish you from other candidates and increase your chances of being selected for an interview. Another benefit of writing a personal statement is that it explains your motivations behind applying for the role.

For example, you can share your personal journey or highlight how the organisation inspires you. This can help you create a personal connection with the reader. Demonstrate your work ethic and knowledge of their organisation to impress hiring managers and potential employers.

How to write a motivation letter

Review the following guide on how to write a convincing personal statement:

1. Identify your recipient

Before you write your personal statement, identify your recipient so you can address them directly in your letter. Gathering some research on the recipient can help you tailor your letter to their interests. For example, if you discover they study a particular subject that you find appealing, you can mention this in your personal statement. Greeting your recipient by name can help you establish a respectful rapport with them.

Related: Dear Sir or Madam: How To Use It and Alternatives

2. Review the requirements of the job or program

Study the job description or the program's requirements to determine the key characteristics the recipient is looking for in their ideal candidate. Try to align yourself with these skills and values to present yourself as a good fit for the role. The more detail-orientated you are with your letter, the more motivated and organised you may appear.

3. Structure your personal statement

Strategically plan the basic structure of your personal statement to ensure your points connect and flow smoothly. Here's a summary of the key components you can include:

  • Introduction: Begin your personal statement with a short, engaging pitch about yourself that also explains your reasons for applying. In this section, your goal is to establish who you are and engage with the reader.

  • Main body: This section is the bulk of your letter where you can highlight your skills, character and motivations to convince the reader of your value. You can include stories and examples of your achievements, but remember to be as factual as possible.

  • Conclusion: In your final paragraph, summarise your main points and write an impactful statement explaining why you're an excellent candidate for the position. Express gratitude for the recipient's time, restate your excitement to join them and close with a respectful salutation.

4. Answer the key questions

A successful personal statement addresses the questions and concerns of the reader. When writing your letter, consider the following questions:

  • What attracted you to the organisation?

  • How do you share their values?

  • How do you meet their requirements?

  • What do you hope to achieve?

5. Proofread your writing

Before you send your application, remember to proofread your personal statement carefully. Look for any spelling, grammar or formatting errors. Read it out loud to determine whether your sentences flow smoothly. An error-free application shows recruiters your work ethic and leaves a good impression.

Motivation letter template

A personal statement template is a useful guide you can use to ensure that you've included all the relevant details in your application. The following is a template for your reference:

Dear Mr/Ms. [recipient's surname],

My name is [your name] and I am a [position/qualification/area of study]. I am writing to apply for a [vacancy/scholarship/volunteer opportunity/place] at [name of organisation].

I would love to [work/study/volunteer] with you because [reasons are interested in the role or program]. I am especially interested in your [company/school] because [reasons for choosing a particular organisation].

I feel I would be an asset to your organisation because I am [list of positive qualities]. I am also skilled in [list of positive skills] which I developed through [relevant experiences or courses].

I hope to get the opportunity to [work/study/volunteer] with you at [name of organisation]. Thank you for taking the time to review my application. Please contact me at [preferred contact details] if you have any questions for me. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name]
[Phone number]
[Email address]

Motivation letter sample

Since your motivations may differ depending on the position or program you're applying for, it's important to create a customised personal statement for each opportunity. The following are a few personal statement examples for different situations:

Example of a motivation letter for a job application

Here's a personal statement example that can accompany a job application:

Dear Ms. Wong,

My name is Lydia Man and I am a primary school teacher. I am writing to apply for the primary five teacher position at Hope Primary School. I would love to work with you because of your school's innovative and dynamic approach to teaching. I am especially interested in your school because I feel strongly connected to your core values of diversity and inclusion.

As a teacher, I have worked with students with varying talents and interests. This has led me to understand the importance of having a diverse teaching methodology and using different tools to support different learning styles. I believe my inclusive and creative approach could be of great value to you.

I feel I would be an asset to your organisation because I am a great communicator and listener. I believe listening to my students' questions carefully is key to facilitating their understanding. I am also skilled at using technology to create an interactive classroom environment. This has noticeably kept my students more engaged and improved their comprehension of complex subject matters.

I hope to get the opportunity to work with you at Hope Primary School. Thank you for taking the time to review my application. Please contact me at 6543 6543 or lydia@email.com if you have any questions for me. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

Lydia Man

Example of a motivation letter for a college admission application

Here's a personal statement example that can accompany a college admission application:

Dear Mr. Zhu,

My name is Stephanie Lai and I am a secondary student at Hong Kong International School with a keen interest in computer studies and visual arts. I am writing to apply for the multimedia design degree at Hong Kong University.

I hope to become a web designer, so I would like to learn more about multimedia design. I feel your course would help me understand the digital design process and the way websites and their visual imagery can help businesses present an image to consumers.

I respect HKU's reputation for academic and sporting excellence. I appreciate that you encourage students to achieve their potential in the classroom and outside of it. As a social person who has participated in several extracurricular activities, including the school band and hockey team, I feel my diverse interests would make me a great fit for your university.

Studying at your university would help me develop my aptitude for design while having fun, whether it's on the sporting field or in another arena. Thank you for taking the time to review my application. Please email me at stephanielai@email.com if you have any further questions.

Yours sincerely,

Stephanie Lai

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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