How to write a cover/motivation letter
“Why should I write a motivation letter? No one even reads it!”
In majority of the times the hiring person gives more importance to your motivation letter (ML) than to the rest of the documents you send. The reason is obvious — your ML is the way how to show your future employer how well your brain works. A good motivation letter enables you to connect your relevant experience with required competences you have in an interesting way that everybody will remember.
Unfortunately, there is no universal way how to write it because you always have to consider a very specific context. You can find plenty of advice, tips, guides online but this guide isn’t going to be one of them because we are telling you that…
And use your brain
…it is your brain who has to do the hard work.
You can start immediately by thinking about the “obvious steps”, which come from our experience.
Check grammar & language
Obviously, your ML needs to be grammatically correct. Nobody wants to read emails after their employee to check the grammar. That is the easiest part for your brain. The hard part is to study company’s profile and its language. Also the job advertisement is written in their language and so should be your ML.
Back it up
The job position is described with required competences which you should mention in your ML but with suitable evidence and arguments that you posses these. Do not skip anything and think of any possible competences you could have gained during any kind of relevant job/volunteering/ training course experience you ever had.
Obviously, you need to stay real and normal. The moment you start to exaggerate or explain unnecessary details, everyone will notice. Also, read between the lines — if they look for someone whose strength is simplicity — try to make the ML simple and brief. Point. They need to see that you will give them what they need and even more.
Make them remember you
Obviously, your ML needs to be memorable and outstanding. That is the third time you will have to use your brain. Everyone has a special experience in something.
Let’s say I used to do synchronised swimming for few years as a child and with the current job position it has nothing to do but this can serve me to draw their attention to the fact that I am very sensitive to the group dynamics and devoted and self disciplined, even ready to safe colleague’s life on a company’s boat trip. Try to make the person reading your ML smile. Everyone wants to work with a person with a good sense of humour.
The last “obviously” belongs to the outsider’s view. Let another person give you a feedback on what you have written: if it is clear what you say, if they can understand what you mean by each phrase and if they see the important connections between the required competences and the evidence given by you.
It’s up to you
Remember, the people who are experts on MLs and CVs read a lot of them every day, that is why they can distinguish “bla bla” from a thought-through letter. Don’t worry if it doesn’t work at the beginning. The so-called neuroplasticity of our brains guarantees that it can grow and expand its capacity if we train it. The responsibility to do that is fully and only in your hands.
Have fun and nail that letter!