In different situations, you will be able to write a letter of motivation in and after your studies. At the university, the letter of motivation is the entry ticket to a seminar; however, when applying for a place at university, motivation letters are often required. Motivation letters are also required when applying for a scholarship or for a semester abroad. In this article you will get the tips to convince your application and get you in your career!
Checklist – what do you have to consider?
Whether it’s a letter of motivation for a study place, a job, a seminar or a semester abroad: First, you have to read the guidelines carefully to be able to meet what is desired. For example, the motivation letter may be desired to include information about your hobbies, or the motivation letter must be written in English.
Applying for a seminar – what you can mention
If you want to participate in a particular seminar at the university, it is customary to send a short letter of motivation. Imagine this: What degree program are you studying? In which semester are you? Do you already have previous knowledge (examples: “I attended the Proseminar” … “by Prof. Dr. X.” / “I read the book” … “.” / “I attended the lecture” … “.” )? Lecturers prefer seminar participants with prior knowledge, as they can contribute better to the discussion.
It is important that you express that you have an interest in the subject area. Explain what exactly you are interested in this seminar.
If you are interested in a particular topic, you may like to go into a bit of detail. Example: “I find particularly interesting in Rosch’s prototype theory that …”.
Consider writing for a seminar as an application for a job: At the end of the letter, you can mention that you would be very happy to receive a seminar entry.
Tip: Some motivational pages require certain things. For example, one should answer certain questions. Always adhere strictly to the requirements for the respective seminar according to the course catalog.
Another tip: Most interesting seminars are packed in no time. It is therefore advisable to get the course catalog as soon as possible and to write the application for interesting seminars on the same day.
The motivation letter for a job
Many job offers require a letter of motivation. But how does the letter of motivation differ from a normal application letter? In their construction, the two are actually quite similar. If a letter of motivation as well as a conventional cover letter are required in an application, the motivation letter is the so-called “3. Page”. While the cover letter should contain information on the location of the job advertisement, the name of the position, your education, your CV, etc., the motivation letter goes into more detail. Please note: Should a specific contact person be specified, you also mention this in the letter of motivation.
Content of the motivation letter are your personal goals and motives. Here you can emphasize your chocolate side and represent in an individual way, why you are suitable for the job. You can also explain what you think is great about the prospective employer and how it fuels your ambition. Emphasize your talents, job skills, and other relevant skills, as well as your preferences and experiences that could benefit the company. At this point you can describe your previous successes.
Make sure that content in job applications and motivation letters are not redundant. To do this, you have to shorten the part of the section, which deals with the motivation and the aptitude of the applicant, a bit shorter. In addition, for your letter of motivation, you should find a confident last sentence that is different from the last sentence of your letter.
Example: You choose the last sentence for the cover letter “I would be very happy about an invitation to a job interview.”. For the letter of motivation you then choose the sentence “I would be glad to support you soon.”.
What belongs in the letter of motivation for a semester abroad?
Enter relevant language skills. You can also show to what extent you have informed yourself so far about the particular country and its culture. Illustrate what would be a stay in your life, how you could grow and what would be the benefits for you.
Maybe you were already on vacation in that country. Then you can mention that.
Show why you should give preference to you!
One more way to make the motivation letter more informative: Inform yourself thoroughly about the range of courses at the university in the country. You can mention the courses you would like to take there.
Clarification – Third page
Once again to avoid misunderstandings: If a job advertisement states that you should send an application with a letter of motivation, this means that a “third party page” – in addition to the application letter – is desired. When applying for a scholarship, traineeship, for a study place or for a semester abroad, a “letter of motivation” is required? Then you do not have to attach an additional letter of application.
The perfect spelling
No matter how meaningfully you have expressed your commitment to the letter, in every letter of motivation you should make sure that spelling and punctuation are perfect. The spelling gives a first impression of how intelligent each candidate is. If you feel insecure here, you can ask someone to proofread.