Writing a convincing motivation letter

You will probably write a motivation letter when applying for a job, minor or project. Read this blog article to learn more about writing a convincing cover letter.

Function of the motivation letter
In many cases the person reviewing your application will first look at your CV. When this sparks their interest because your background suits their position, they will move on to your letter. This motivation letter, or cover letter, is supposed to convince them that you not only could work at the organisation but also that you want to work there. Or at the very least you would like to get to know them better during the event you apply for (such as an in-house day).

Practical tips

  • Put yourself in the position of the reader: What are they looking for and how can you match your motivation and experience? In an in-house day, your arguments could be that you would now like to look around in the sector where you would like to work after your studies for reasons A, B and C.
  • Maximum length: A cover letter is a maximum of one page in length. This means that you can use about 2/3 of it for your arguments, the rest should remain available for the traditional letter layout.
  • Do not merely repeat your CV: Instead go deeper into specific experiences that match the company. What did you do in your Master that sparked your interest in this company? How does your experience in your part-time job help you after your studies when you start working in the same field this organisation operates in? Give short examples. 
  • Do your homework: What is it exactly that the organisation does and how do they describe themselves? Also review the career pages on their website for this. What about that do you like and for which reasons? Those may make for great arguments in your motivation letter. 
  • Write a new letter: While you will develop certain standard phrases after writing a couple of letters, write a new letter for every application rather than just changing the name of the organisation. Really make the match between you and the organisation you will be sending your letter to. 
  • Address the letter to a person if possible: It’s always better to address your letter to a person rather than ‘To whom it may concern,’ Similarly, do not just say ‘your company’ but include the organisation’s name.
  • Always proofread.

More tips? Check out the Career Toolkit of TU Delft Career Centre.