Motivation Letter Examples (With Steps to Write One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 2 May 2022

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.

A motivation letter outlines why you believe you're the most suited candidate for a certain position. It details your professional skills and explains why you're applying for a course of study, a scholarship or a volunteer job. Learning how to write a good motivation letter can help you influence hiring and admissions managers to invite you for an interview or accept your application. In this guide, we discuss what a motivation letter is, outline how to write one and provide examples to help you craft your own.

What is a motivation letter?

A motivation letter is a document that details why you're the ideal candidate for a position or course. This document usually accompanies other supporting documents, like a resume or transcript of educational experience. It's most commonly used to accompany admission to:

  • educational courses at university or TAFEs

  • a position at a not-for-profit organisation

  • a volunteer program

  • an internship position

A motivation letter differs from a cover letter. People use a cover letter for a paid job application. It has the purpose of outlining how the skills and experience on your resume make you a suitable candidate for a job opening. Your motivation letter can help an organisation learn more about you and understand the motivation behind your application.

Related: How to Write a Cover Letter

How to write a motivation letter

Using a motivation letter can help you craft your own and enhance your application. A good motivation letter requires planning and time. Below are steps you can follow to write a motivation letter:

1. Consider any provided guidelines

It might be helpful to check the guidelines of the university or organisation you're applying to before writing your motivation letter. There may be guidelines that specify content, formatting and length or other information. The advertisement may already include the guidelines or they may be available by contacting the organisation.

2. Write an outline

Identify the points you want to include in your motivation letter and decide on the most appropriate order to include them. In your letter, you can address the following topics:

  • reasons you want to study the course, become employed in the position or take part in the volunteer or internship program

  • skills and qualities you can bring to benefit the university or organisation

  • your interest in the university or organisation

Think critically about the points you have included and the purpose they serve. Cross reference your outline with information about the program or position you're applying. Ensure your motivation aligns with the core principles and values of the organisation.

3. Write a header and introduction

Write a header to your letter, including the date, the name of the person who might look at your application and the name and contact details of the organisation where you're applying. Under this, add your name and contact details such as your contact number and email address.

Next, write one paragraph to introduce yourself to the recipient. Address your recipient by name if possible, as this makes the letter more personal. In your introduction, you may aim to impress the admissions manager and encourage them to continue reading. Include details about your achievements and positive qualities in this section.

Related: How to Address a Letter

4. Expand the outline of your body

Refer to your outline and expand on each point. Use a new paragraph for every topic and ensure to sequence the topics in a logical order. Include interesting facts and specific examples to show that you're a suitable candidate. You may take your time with this step and reflect on each fact and example you give. This can ensure that you include the most suitable information.

5. Conclude your motivation letter

Conclude your motivation letter by summarising your goal and how the course or position might help you be successful. Leave a positive impression by thanking the reader for considering your application. Finish by encouraging the reader to contact you for an interview or for further questions. Sign off in a professional and polite way using 'Regards' or 'Yours sincerely', followed by your full name.

Related: How to End a Letter

6. Proofread and adjust your motivation letter

Proofread your motivation letter to pick up spelling or grammatical mistakes. Also, consider the appropriateness of language used and look for ways to make it more concise.

You can proofread your motivation letter several times to identify all problem areas. If time permits, complete this step a few days after writing your motivation letter. The time away from your work allows you to view it more objectively. To ensure your letter has professional grammar and spelling, you can ask a friend, family member or colleague to proofread your motivation letter after you.

Motivation letter examples

Here are some motivation letter examples you can use as a guide for writing your own:

University application motivation letter sample

Below is a motivation letter sample for a university application:

Ms. Carol Williams
Head of Admissions
Melbourne Central University
(03) 986 543
carol_williams@email.com

Stephanie Smythe
0412 355 439
stephanie_smythe@email.com

Dear Ms. Williams,

My name is Stephanie Smythe. I am a professional marketing coordinator with a keen personal interest in graphic design and visual art. I am writing to apply for the master's degree in multimedia design and communication at Melbourne Central University.

I hope to expand my career into being a graphic artist, 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 visual imagery can help businesses present an image to consumers.

I love the way different colours and images can evoke emotions in viewers. I enjoy experimenting with the power of colour and imagery and think I have a natural creative flair. I am confident that I will apply this flair to new projects at your university and increase my design abilities with you.

I respect Melbourne Central University's reputation for academic and career excellence. I appreciate yours is a university that encourages students to achieve their potential in the classroom and outside. As a social person who takes part in several co-working groups, including the young business group of Melbourne, I feel my desire for engagement with others would make me a great fit for you.

Studying at your university would help me develop my aptitude for design while having fun, whether it is through an organised university social group or in another arena. I am open to whatever experiences life at Melbourne Central University would bring me and hope I could achieve them through your master's degree in multimedia design and communication. Thank you very much for considering my request. Please email me at stephanie_smythe@email.com for an interview, or if you have any questions about my application.

Regards,
Stephanie Smythe

Volunteer program motivation letter example

Below is a motivation letter sample for a volunteer program:

Mr. Steven Garcia
Volunteer Coordinator
Australian Coral Reef Rehabilitation Centre (08) 5643 6542
steven_garcia@email.com

Ronald Baker
0416 525 685
ronald_baker@email.com

Dear Mr. Garcia,

My name is Ronald Baker. I am a marine science student at Perth University. I am responding to the call for volunteers posted on the Australian Coral Reef Rehabilitation Centre website. This opportunity attracted me because I have a natural passion for ocean welfare, which I am pursuing in my studies.

I grew up around the ocean, living at Cairns on the Queensland Sunshine Coast. During this time, I explored and rehabilitated the ocean. This included: monitoring coral reefs with my secondary school, caring for injured marine life with a local not-for-profit organisation and exploring the ocean through scuba diving and snorkelling. I love spending time in the ocean and with marine life. I have learned how important the coral reef is for the welfare of the environment and have become fascinated with how coral reefs operate. I also learned of the devastating decline in the health of the coral reefs in Australia and around the world, which has made me even more passionate about working to rehabilitate them.

Through my marine science studies at university, I have learned even more about ocean welfare, including how to determine the health of a reef, how to diagnose and treat ocean animals with disease and how to rehabilitate coral reefs. I also believe I could learn a lot more to complement my schooling at your organisation.

I am especially interested in working at the Australian Coral Reef Rehabilitation Centre, as you monitor and rehabilitate a diverse range of marine life. I also appreciate your centre's no-kill policy and commitment to the ongoing care of marine life. These policies align with my belief that our natural environment deserves the best chance to flourish and that we can do our best to protect it from harm.

In conclusion, I feel I would be an asset to the Australian Coral Reef Rehabilitation Centre and hope you may accept my application for volunteer work. Please contact me at ronald_baker@email.com if you have any questions about my application.

Yours sincerely,
Ronald Baker

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