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How to Write a Good Cover Letter for a Research Position

Writing a cover letter can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be!

Some people believe cover letters are a science. Others seem to think they are more akin to black magic. Regardless of how you feel about cover letters, they are one of the most important parts of the job application process. Your resume or CV may get you an interview, but a good cover letter is what ensures that the hiring manager reads your resume in the first place.

Writing a cover letter for any job is important, but the art of writing a good cover letter for a research position can make or break your application. While writing a cover letter for a research position, you have to walk a fine line of proving your expertise and passion while limiting jargon and dense language.

In this post, we will explain cover letter writing basics, and then dive into how to write a research specific cover letter with examples of both good and bad practices.

hands typing on blank google doc

What Is A Cover Letter and Why Do Cover Letters Matter?

A cover letter is your opportunity to tell a story and connect the dots of your resume. Resumes and curriculum vitae (CVs) are often cold and static—they don’t show any sort of character that will give companies a hint about if you will fit in with their culture. 

Your cover letter gives you the chance to demonstrate that you are an interesting, qualified, and intelligent person. Without proving that you are worth the time to interview, a company or research organization will set your application in the rejection pile without giving it a second look. 

So, what is a cover letter, exactly? It is an explanation (written out in paragraph form) of what you can bring to the company that goes beyond the information in your resume. Cover letters give a company a glimpse into the qualities that will make you the ideal candidate for their opening. 

Note that a cover letter is not the same as a letter of intent. A cover letter is written for a specific job opening. For example, if I got an email saying that the University of Colorado was looking for a tenure track faculty member to teach GEO 1001, and I chose to apply, I would write a cover letter. 

A letter of intent, however, is written regardless of the job opening. It is intended to express an interest in working at a particular company or with a particular group. The goal of a letter of intent is to demonstrate your interest in the company (or whatever type of group you are appealing to) and illustrate that you are willing to work with them in whatever capacity they feel is best. 

For example, if I loved the clothing company, Patagonia and wanted to work there, I could write a letter of intent. They may have an opening for a sales floor associate, but after reading my application and letter of intent, decide I would be better suited to a design position. Or, they may not have any positions open at all, but choose to keep my resume on hand for the next time they do. 

Most organizations want a cover letter, not a letter of intent, so it is important to make sure your cover letter caters to the specifics of the job posting. A cover letter should also demonstrate why you want to work at the company, but it should be primarily focused on why you can do the job better than any of the other applicants.

How to Write a Good Cover Letter: The Basics 

Writing a cover letter isn’t hard. Writing a good cover letter, a cover letter that will encourage a hiring manager to look at your application and schedule an interview, is more difficult (but certainly not impossible). Below, we will go over each of the important parts of a cover letter: the salutation, introduction, body, and conclusion, as well as some other best practices.

How to Write a Good Cover Letter Salutation

Don’t start with “Dear Sir/Ma’am” (or any iteration of a vague greeting, including “to whom it may concern”). Avoiding vague greetings is the oldest trick in the book, but it still holds a lot of weight. Starting a cover letter with the above phrase is pretty much stamping “I didn’t bother to research this company at all because I am sending out a million generic cover letters” across your application. It doesn’t look good. 

The best practice is to do your research and use your connections to find a name. “Dear Joe McGlinchy” means a lot more than “Dear Hiring Manager.” LinkedIn is a great tool for this—you can look up the company, then look through the employees until you find someone that seems like they hire for the relevant department. 

The most important thing about the salutation is to address a real human. By selecting someone in the company, you’ve demonstrated that you’ve done some research and are actually interested in this company specifically. Generic greetings aren’t eye-catching and don’t do well.

How to Write a Good Cover Letter Introduction

Once you’ve addressed your cover letter to a real human being, you need a powerful introduction to prove that this cover letter is worth the time it will take to read. This means that you need a hook. 

Your first sentence needs to be a strong starter, something to encourage the hiring manager not only to continue reading the cover letter, but to look at your application as well. If you have a contact in the company, you should mention them in the first sentence. Something along the lines of “my friend, Amanda Rice (UX/UI manager), suggested I apply for the natural language processing expert position after we worked together on a highly successful independent project.” 

The example above uses a few techniques. The name drop is good, but that only works if you actually have a connection in the company. Beyond that, this example has two strengths. First, it states the name of the position. This is important because hiring managers can be hiring for several different positions at a time, and by immediately clarifying which position you are applying for, you make their job a little bit easier.  Next, this sentence introduces concrete skills that apply to the job. That is a good way to start because it begins leading into the body, where you will go into depth about how exactly your experience and skills make you perfect for the job. 

Another technique for a strong lead-in to a cover letter is to begin with an applicable personal experience or anecdote. This attracts more attention than stereotypical intros (like the example above), but you have to be careful to get to the point quickly. Give yourself one or two sentences to tell the story and prove your point before you dive into your skills and the main body of the cover letter.

A more standard technique for introductions is simply expressing excitement. No matter how you choose to start, you want to demonstrate that you are eager about the position, and there is no easier way to do that than just saying it. This could take the form of “When I saw the description for X job on LinkedIn, I was thrilled: it is the perfect job for my Y skills and Z experience.” This option is simple and to-the-point, which can be refreshing for time-crunched hiring managers. 

Since we’ve provided a few good examples, we will offer a bad example, so you can compare and contrast. Don’t write anything along the line of: “My name is John Doe, and I am writing to express my interest in the open position at your company.” 

There are a few issues here. First, they can probably figure out your name. You don’t need that to be in the first sentence (or any of the sentences—the closing is an obvious enough spot). Next, “the open position” and “your company” are too generic. That sounds like the same cover letter you sent to every single employer in a hundred mile radius. Give the specifics! Finally, try to start with a little more spice. Add in some personality, something to keep the hiring manager reading. If you bore them to death in the first line, they aren’t going to look over your resume and application with the attention they deserve. 

How to Write a Good Cover Letter Body

So, you’ve addressed a real human being, and you’ve snagged their attention with a killer opening line. What next? Well, you have to hold on to that attention by writing an engaging and informative cover letter body. 

The body of a cover letter is the core of the important information you want to transmit. The introduction’s job was to snag the attention of the hiring manager. The body’s job is to sell them on your skills.  There are a few formatting things to be aware of before we start talking about what content belongs in the body of the cover letter. First, keep the company culture and standards in mind when picking a format. For example, if I want to work for a tech startup that is known for its wit and company culture, I can probably get away with using a bulleted list or another informal format. However, if I am applying to a respected research institution, using a standard five paragraph format is best. 

In addition, the cover letter should not be longer than a page. Hiring managers are busy people. They may have hundreds of resumes to read, so they don’t need a three page essay per person. A full page is plenty, and many hiring managers report finding three hundred words or less to be the idea length. Just to put that into context, the text from here to the “How to Write a Good Cover Letter Body” header below is about perfect, length-wise. 

Now, on to the more important part: the content. A cover letter should work in tandem with a resume. If you have a list of job experiences on your resume, don’t list them again in the cover letter. Use the valuable space in the cover letter to give examples about how you have applied your skills and experience. 

For example, if I have worked as a barista, I wouldn’t just say “I have worked as a barista at Generic Cafe.” The hiring manager could learn that from my resume. Instead, I could say “Working as a barista at Generic Cafe taught me to operate under pressure without feeling flustered. Once…” I would go on to recount a short story that illustrated my ability to work well under pressure. It is important that the stories and details you choose to include are directly related to the specific job. Don’t ramble or add anything that isn’t obviously connected. Use the job description as a tool—if it mentions a certain skill a few times, make sure to include it!

If you can match the voice and tone of your cover letter to the voice of the company, that usually earns you extra points. If, in their communications, they use wit, feel free to include it in your letter as well. If they are dry, to the point, and serious, cracking jokes is not the best technique.

A Few Don’ts of Writing a Cover Letter Body   

There are a few simple “don’ts” in cover letter writing. Do not: 

  • Bad: I am smart, dedicated, determined, and funny.
  • Better: When I was working at Tech Company, I designed and created an entirely new workflow that cut the product delivery time in half. 
  • Bad: When I was seven, I really loved the monkeys at the zoo. This demonstrates my fun-loving nature. 
  • Better: While working for This Company, I realized I was far more productive if I was light-hearted. I became known as the person to turn to in my unit when my coworkers needed a boost, and as my team adopted my ideology, we exceeded our sales goals by 200%. 
  • Bad: I would love this job because it would propel me to the next stage of my career.
  • Better: With my decade of industry experience communicating with engineers and clients, I am the right person to manage X team. 
  • Bad: I know I’m not the most qualified candidate for this job, but…
  • Better: I can apply my years of experience as an X to this position, using my skills in Y and Z to… 
  • Bad: I am a thirty year old white woman from Denver…
  • Better: I have extensive experience managing diverse international teams, as illustrated by the time I…  

The most important part of the cover letter is the body. Sell your skills by telling stories, but walk the razor’s edge between saying too much and not enough. When in doubt, lean towards not enough—it is better for the hiring manager to call you in for an interview to learn more than to bore them.

How to Write a Good Cover Letter Conclusion

 The last lines of a cover letter are extremely important. Until you can meet in-person for an interview, the conclusion of your cover letter will greatly affect the impression the hiring manager has of you. A good technique for concluding your cover letter is to summarize, in a sentence, what value you can bring to the company and why you are perfect for the position. Sum up the most important points from your cover letter in a short, concise manner. 

Write with confidence, but not arrogance. This can be a delicate balance. While some people have gotten away (and sometimes gotten a job) with remarks like, “I’ll be expecting the job offer soon,” most do not. Closing with a courteous statement that showcases your capability and skills is far more effective than arrogance. Try to avoid trite or generic statements in the closing sentence as well. This includes the template, “I am very excited to work for XYZ Company.” Give the hiring manager something to remember and close with what you can offer the company. 

The final step in any cover letter is to edit. Re-read your cover letter. Then, set it aside for a few hours (or days, time permitting) and read it again. Give it to a friend to read. Read it aloud. This may seem excessive, but there is nothing more off-putting than a spelling or grammar error in the first few lines of a cover letter. The hiring manager may power through and ignore it, but it will certainly taint their impression. 

Once the cover letter is as flawless and compelling as it can be, send it out! If you are super stuck on how to get started, working within a template may help. Microsoft Word has many free templates that are aesthetically appealing and can give you a hint to the length and content. A few good online options live here (free options are at the bottom—there is no reason to pay for a resume template).

How to Write a Cover Letter for a Research Position

Writing a cover letter for a research position is the same as writing any other cover letter. There are, however, a few considerations and additions that are worth pointing out. A job description may not directly ask for a cover letter, but it is good practice to send one unless they specifically say not to. This means that even if a cover letter isn’t mentioned, you should send one—it is best practice and gives you an opportunity to expand on your skills and research in a valuable way.

Format and Writing Style for a Research Position Cover Letter

Research and academics tend to appreciate formality more than start-ups or tech companies, so using the traditional five paragraph format is typically a good idea. The five paragraph format usually includes an introduction, three short examples of skills, and a concluding paragraph. This isn’t set in stone—if you’d rather write two paragraphs about the skills and experience you bring to the company, that is fine. 

Keep in mind that concise and to-the-point writing is extremely valuable in research. Anyone who has ever written a project proposal under 300 words knows that every term needs to add value. Proving that you are a skilled writer, starting in your cover letter, will earn you a lot of points. This means that cover letters in research and academia, though you may have more to say, should actually be shorter than others. Think of the hiring manager—they are plowing through a massive stack of verbose, technical, and complex cover letters and CVs. It is refreshing to find an easy to read, short cover letter. 

On the “easy to read” point, remember that the hiring manager may not be an expert in your field. Even if they are, you cannot assume that they have the exact same linguistic and educational background as you. For example, if you have dedicated the last five years of your life to studying a certain species of bacteria that lives on Red-Eyed Tree Frogs, all of those technical terms you have learned (and maybe even coined) have no place in your cover letter. Keep jargon to an absolute minimum. Consider using a tool like the Hemingway Editor to identify and eliminate jargon. While you want to reduce jargon, it is still important to prove that you’ve researched their research. Passion about the research topic is one of the most valuable attributes that a new hire can offer. 

Use your cover letter to prove that you have done your homework, know exactly what the institution or group is doing, and want to join them. If you have questions about the research or want to learn more, it isn’t a bad idea to get in touch with one of the researchers. You can often use LinkedIn or the group’s staff site to learn who is working on the project and reach out.

What Research Information Should be Included in a Cover Letter

A research position cover letter is not the place for your academic history, dissertation, or publications. While it may be tempting to go into detail about the amazing research you did for your thesis, that belongs in your CV. Details like this will make your cover letter too long. While these are valuable accomplishments, don’t include them unless there is something  that pertains to the group’s research, and your CV doesn’t cover it in depth. 

If you do choose to write about your research, write about concrete details and skills that aren’t in your CV. For example, if you have spent the last few years working on identifying the effects of a certain gene sequence in bird migration, include information about the lab techniques you used. Also, try to put emphasis on the aspects of your resume and CV that make you stand out from other candidates. It is likely that you will be competing with many similarly qualified candidates, so if you have a unique skill or experience, make sure it doesn’t get lost in the chaos—a cover letter is the perfect place to highlight these sorts of skills. 

Industry experience is a great differentiator. If you have relevant industry experience, make sure to include it in your cover letter because it will almost certainly set you apart. Another valuable differentiator is a deep and established research network. If you have been working on research teams for years and have deep connections with other scientists, don’t be afraid to include this information. This makes you a very valuable acquisition for the company because you come with an extensive network

Include Soft Skills in Your Cover Letter

Scientific skills aren’t the only consideration for hiring managers. Experience working with and leading teams is incredibly valuable in the research industry. Even if the job description doesn’t mention teamwork, add a story or description of a time you worked with (or, even better, lead) a successful team. Soft skills like management, customer service, writing, and clear communication are important in research positions. Highlight these abilities and experiences in your cover letter in addition to the hard skills and research-based information. 

If you are struggling to edit and polish your letter, give it to both someone within your field and someone who is completely unfamiliar with your research (or, at least, the technical side of it). Once both of those people say that the letter makes sense and is compelling, you should feel confident submitting it.

Cover letters are intended to give hiring managers information beyond what your resume and CV are able to display. Write with a natural but appropriately formal voice, do your research on the position, and cater to the job description. A good cover letter can go a long way to getting you an interview, and with these tips, your cover letters will certainly stand out of the pile.

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Home » Creative Motivation Letter for Scientific Research : 09 Samples

Creative Motivation Letter for Scientific Research : 09 Samples

Motivation Letter for Scientific Research

It’s no secret that scientific research is critical to the advancement of human knowledge and understanding. The work that scientists do is complex and challenging, but it’s also incredibly important. If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in scientific research, you’ll need to submit a motivation letter to your chosen institution. In this blog post, we’ll provide some tips on how to write an effective motivation letter for scientific research. Stay tuned!

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How To Write a Motivation Letter for Scientific Research?

Applying for a scientific research position can be very competitive. In addition to your qualifications, the committee will also be looking at your motivation letter to see if you are a good fit for the position. So how do you write a motivation letter that will stand out from the rest? First, it’s important to address the letter to the correct person or committee. Next, briefly introduce yourself and explain why you are interested in the position.

Then, go into more detail about your qualifications, highlighting any relevant experience or research you have done. Finally, end with a strong statement of interest and why you would be the best candidate for the job. By following these tips, you can ensure that your motivation letter makes a strong impression on the committee and increases your chances of being offered the position.

Related: How To Write a Cover Letter (And Get Hired in 2022!)

Motivation Letter Scientific Research Examples

Motivation Letter for Scientific Research

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing to apply for the position of scientific research in your company. So, I am a recent graduate of XYZ University and have experience in conducting research in the field of ABC. I am passionate about scientific research and have a strong interest in contributing to the advancement of knowledge in this field.

So, I am confident that I have the skills and abilities required for this position, and I am eager to put my knowledge and experience to work in your company. Also, I believe that I can make a valuable contribution to your team and am committed to making a positive impact on your organization.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Related: Best Motivation Letter Erasmus: 5+ Editable Samples

Motivation Letter Scientific Research Examples

I am writing to apply for the Scientific Research position at your company. Based on my research, I believe that my skills and experience make me an ideal candidate for this role.

As a recent graduate of XYZ University with a degree in Biology, I have a strong foundation in the scientific method and research design. My coursework has also given me experience in data analysis and interpretation. In addition, I have worked as a research assistant in a laboratory setting, where I gained first-hand experience conducting experiments and collecting data.

I am confident that I can be an asset to your team and contribute to the success of your company. I am eager to utilize my skills and knowledge in a professional setting, and I believe that the Scientific Research position at your company would be the perfect opportunity to do so.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Related: Great Motivation Letter For Employment: 5+ Examples

Short Motivation Letter for Scientific Research

I am writing in regards to the open position for a scientific researcher. I am confident that I have the skills and experience needed for this role, and would be a valuable asset to your team.

As a scientist, I am passionate about discovery and learning. I thrive in an environment where I can explore new ideas and solve challenging problems. I am also an excellent communicator, able to effectively communicate my findings to both scientific and lay audiences.

In addition to my scientific skills, I also have experience in project management and grant writing. So, I am confident that I can successfully manage a research project from start to finish, and have a track record of securing funding for my projects.

I believe that I would be an excellent scientific researcher for your team, and am eager to put my skills to work on your behalf. So, I look forward to discussing this opportunity with you further.

Related: Creative Motivational Letter for Learnership [7 Samples]

Motivation Letter for Scientific Research Sample

I am writing to apply for the scientific research position advertised in the Sample University Times.

As a recent graduate of Sample University with a degree in Biology, I am excited to begin my career in scientific research. My coursework has given me a strong foundation in the scientific method and data analysis, which I believe will be invaluable in this position. Also, I am also proficient in laboratory techniques and have experience working with a variety of scientific equipment.

Also, I am eager to put my skills to use in a real-world setting and contribute to the advancement of knowledge. So, I am confident that I can be an asset to your research team and look forward to applying my skills to your ongoing projects.

Thank you for your consideration.

Related: 7+ Sample Motivation Letter for Masters Degree

Motivation Letter for Scientific Research Template

I am writing to apply for the scientific research position advertised in the XYZ Journal.

As a recent graduate of ABC University with a degree in XYZ, I am eager to put my knowledge and skills to work in a real-world setting. My coursework has provided me with a solid foundation in the theories and principles of XYZ, and I am confident that I can put this training to good use in a research capacity.

In addition to my academic credentials, I have also gained valuable experience working in a research lab during my time at ABC University. This experience has given me first-hand exposure to the day-to-day workings of a research facility, and has helped me to develop the skills and abilities necessary to be successful in this field.

I am confident that I have the skills and experience necessary to be a valuable asset to your research team. So, I am eager to put my knowledge and skills to work in a real-world setting, and I believe that your research facility is the perfect place for me to do so. I look forward to discussing my qualifications in further detail at your earliest convenience.

Related: Best Motivation Letter For Masters In Management: 5+ Samples

5 Things To Include In a Motivation Letter for Scientific Research

  • Your research question: What are you trying to find out? Be specific.
  • Your approach: How are you going to answer your research question? What methods will you use?
  • Significance: Why is your research important? How will it contribute to our understanding of the world?
  • Personal motivation: Why are you interested in this particular topic? What personal experiences have influenced your decision to pursue this line of inquiry?
  • Previous experience: What relevant skills and knowledge do you already have? Have you conducted any previous research, either in school or as part of your job? If so, what did you learn from it? Describing your previous experience will show that you’re serious about pursuing a research career.

Related: What is Cover Letter? Complete Guide To Get any Job.

Thank you for reading this blog post on motivation letters for scientific research. I hope you found it helpful and informative. If you have any questions or need help drafting your own motivation letter, don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to assist you!

Short Motivation Letter for Scientific Research

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Writing A Scientific Motivation Letter: How to write a research motivation letter for PhD, Postdoc, or any position.

Writing a Motivation Letter for a Ph.D., Postdoc, or any Research position can be reasonably challenging, but we need to put extra effort into it, which cannot be avoided.

You need to give proper attention to this part (motivation letter for ph.d., postdoc, or any research positions) like other preparation. knowing some significant ideas and approaches can help you in this process..

A motivation letter helps the admissions board/professor compare outstanding students and impressive ones. With this help, they can prosper in choosing worthy research students. Still, admission boards will surely think of this as the classification to significantly find a suitable candidate for his research group. Showing you are preferred depending on what you write, however much more on just how you design, particularly the tone you use and the level of interest you receive in your writing that matters.

  • A motivation letter is a document where you express your expert capability and the personal impulse to examine a particular study area at a specific college/research group.
  • A motivation letter is a possibility you have to impress the selection panel.
  • To procure the listing of candidates, selection panels regularly use motivation letters.
  • The candidates thought finest are ultimately chosen for the program.
  • The success of your application mainly trusts by the motivation letter.
  • The motivation letter can be much likened to an Individual statement.
  • It is just as crucial to stay clear of being humble while writing your Motivation Letter.
  • It seems like something that would be written to a friend instead of a penfriend.
  • It’s not a cover letter and requires giving reasonable circumstances in which it’S a Motivation letter.
  • You need to give proper attention to this part (Motivated Letter for Ph.D., Postdoc, or any Research positions) like other preparation.
  • Knowing some significant ideas and approaches can help you in this process.
  • Give your statements much attention to pushing your statements as much as possible to suit your situation.
  • Try not to claim something that you wouldn’t have tried to do if you were a different person or had a different job.
  • Try to be honest about your experiences and how you would like to use them to your advantage.
  • You can also include teaching and research experience, work outside an academic field, and even volunteering, given that all matters in terms of the abilities and expertise you gained.
  • You should also include the info regarding your previous scholastic and professional experience, as well as your work outside of the academic field.
  • There is a demand to recognize if you’re qualified to do a research/degree position while writing an application.
  • Hence, the motivation letter is the perfect insight into what you genuinely are and anticipate doing it justice.
  • It can be effortless to confuse while writing a Motivated Letter and neglects that motivation can not be completed without the necessary proof to back it up.
  • Yet what requires to go in this, and what tone is suitable for it?
  • To give you some suggestions, today, we’re sharing all about motivation letters, so you can see what your motivation letter needs to include or correct.
  • It’s a good idea to write a motivation letter because a person or some individuals must be required to write it because they have to know some individuals or some people have to have to do it themselves.
  • The best way to start is by writing a short intro defining the program you want to get into and why you would be appropriate for studying there.
  • This defines why you wish to embark on that position and why it is appropriate for you to study there.
  • It also defines just how your scholastic, as. Your professional achievements make you a beneficial candidate for the Ph.D. degree/Research position you are related to.
  • It should be written to make it easy for people to read it and understand what you are trying to say.
  • It must be written with a sense of humor and be clear that you are not trying to make a point that you think is important to make to the person you are applying to.
  • You must be clear of making spurious cases, and you should be clear about the reasons you are doing it.

The motivation letter is the possibility you have to impress the selection panel. To procure the listing of candidates, selection panels regularly use motivation letters. The candidates thought finest are ultimately chosen for the program. The motivation letter is the most substantial part of your application. The success of your application is mainly trusted by the motivation letter.

Any Motivation Letter should consist of a short intro defining the program you would like to get.

Stay clear of making spurious cases, demonstrate how much ability or work experience you have, be specific, the main message of the letter-, closing of the motivation letter, q- key things to bear in mind when you write the motivation letter, q- what are a couple of points for writing an excellent motivation letter for a ph.d., q- exactly how should i structure my motivation letter, q- how to end a motivation letter., q- what key points should i include within my ph.d. motivation letter, q- what not to include when writing a scholarship motivation letter, q- why motivation letter require, and how much important it is, q- how long should a phd motivation letter be, q- should i write various motivation letters when looking for several research programs, q- what are the best motivation letter, q- what is the difference between the lom – letter of motivation and the sop statement of purpose, q- how to start a motivation letter., q- what’s the difference between a cover letter and a motivation letter, sample – motivation letter.

The motivation letter (likewise known as “declaration of objective”) is a document where you express your expert capability and personal impulse regarding picking to examine a particular study area at a specific college/research group.

A motivation letter can be much likened to an Individual statement.

When you apply for a Ph.D./Postdoc and some research position, you must write a research proposal and a Motivation Letter. Especially, a motivation letter is more required for Ph.D. candidates. This defines why you wish to embark on that position and why you would be appropriate for studying there. Yet what needs to go in this, and what tone is suitable for it? To give you some suggestions, today, we’re sharing all about motivation letters, so you can see what your motivation letter needs to include or correct.

motivation letter for a research job

First, state a clear objective of your future task and the reasons for picking this individual Ph.D. program.

Provide the info regarding your previous scholastic and professional experience. You can also include teaching and research experience, work outside an academic field, and even volunteering, given that all matters in terms of the abilities and expertise you gained. All your experiences must, in some way, attach to your picked Ph.D. program, as you would need to define just how your scholastic and professional achievements make you a beneficial candidate for the Ph.D. degree/Research position you are related to.

Your applications are not just sorted out in the same way as any other random application. There are processes involved without which your chances of getting in may be reduced.

There is a demand to recognize if you’re qualified to do a research/degree position while writing an application. Hence, the motivation letter is the perfect insight into what you genuinely are and anticipate doing it justice.

It is relatively easy to confuse while writing a Motivation Letter and neglects that motivation can not be completed without the necessary proof to back it up.

Nobody’s interested in exactly how incredible you are until there is no backup proof of it. Yet, there would not be any motivation without the proper evidence to back it up.

For Example, it is very typical to see people create; “I work well with other people, or I am a specialist at working under pressure.” Well, it is not a cover letter; it’s a Motivation Letter, and also you required to give reasonable circumstances such as; “my leadership ability was demonstrated when I needed to be in charge of a group of coworkers during my teaching fellowship, which needed intense pushing management abilities.”

Give much attention to your statements.

Try As Much As Feasible to Be Certain

It is just as really crucial to stay clear of being humble while writing your Motivation Letter. You’re required to write a motivation letter because someone or some individuals have to know; otherwise, you wouldn’t have to try one.

Claiming that your previous days were extremely intriguing is unclear to suit a Motivation Letter. It seems like something that must instead be written to a penfriend. It would be best if you were more specific about the programs you took as a previous study, why you enjoy them, and what you learned from them.

motivation letter for a research job

While writing a motivational letter, it is essential to include just how much ability and working experience briefly. A Ph.D. has to do with more than just a sequel to your previous academic endeavors; it is an actual test of education and learning, and also, teaching and knowledge are more than just having degrees.

They will be interested in the abilities and work experience you have collected over the years, strong enough skills to make you qualified for a Ph.D. That research, data analysis, etc., abilities you thought you’d never have to show off, well, I believe this would be a perfect chance to talk about them.

Steps for writing research motivation letter

  • 1. The first step to writing a good motivation letter is to read the job ad carefully
  • 2. The second step is to try to understand the researchers and the kind of research they do
  • 3. The third step is to carefully read a previous motivation letter and try to understand why the letter was successful
  • 4. The fourth step is to make sure that you address the letter to the right people
  • 5. The fifth step is to explain why you choose to apply to this position and this lab
  • 6. The sixth step is to explain how your research interests align with the research of the lab
  • 7. The seventh step is to explain how your previous research background relates to the position
  • 8. The eighth step is to explain why you are applying for that position

motivation letter for a research job

It is equally essential that you are incredibly professional while creating a motivation letter for a Ph.D. or any research position application. It will remain in your very own best interest to guarantee that you offer your Motivation Letter with expert grammar, font, and the proper writing design in which you prefer to choose to be approved.

Your professionalism and trust send an excellent message about your personality and would certainly go a long way into helping you get accepted .

– What has encouraged you to do a Ph.D. (or other position where you are applying)?

Based on the history details you give, you will undoubtedly determine 3 or 4 key aspects that inspire you to do a Ph.D.

The present research study shows that Ph.D. applicants may be encouraged by several aspects such as:

  • Determination to improve potential as a candidate;
  • Enthusiasm for research study as well as mentor;
  • The desires to find out new points.

You require to describe what inspires you and what you want to accomplish due to your research studies.

If you published academic journals, you must mention that and provide information or evidence about your published work.

State a few of your native qualities on how they could be considered helpful for your study subject and your field of study in general.

In the closing of your Motivation Letter, include a couple of sentences on your research’s impact on your life, research location, and experience generally. This will certainly aid you in showing the value of your research study in the context of a bigger photo. Mostly, demonstrate how the research community and college can benefit from having you as a pupil.

motivation letter for a research job

You should also mention that you understand that Ph.D. programs draw in several prospective and affordable candidates.

Also Read – Write an Email to Professor: Complete Dos and Don’ts Discussion

FAQ about motivation letter

  • Essential details you must emphasize throughout your Motivation Letter are your intellectual interest in the Ph.D. course/Research position and the area you intend to study, and the research study experience you have had so far. Bear in mind to maintain an expert and sharp tone, yet at the same time, declare and also enthusiastic.
  • Prevent adhering to things in your writing.
  • The motivation Letter needs to consist of a brief intro specifying the program you want to apply to.
  • Clearly, you should not consist of false evidence, accomplishments and should not attempt to make any overstatement or use pompous allegories.
  • Normally, a Motivation Letter ought not to be longer than one page.
  • Show your level of interest rate and what you have actually done so far to display that desire. They do not desire some geek with Terrabytes of expertise as well as formulas.
  • Truthfully state the reason that you want the seat, highlight your desire in the topic.
  • State the reasons and circumstances from your life, which will show that you have a genuine need.
  • A motivation letter ‘s significance is that the admissions committee can compare excellent trainees and exceptional trainees. They will both succeed in ending up being valuable study students. Yet, admission committees will consider the latter category to contribute to the college’s research study area.
  • Confirming you are exceptional does not always depend on what you write, but extra on just how you compose, particularly the tone you use and the degree of enthusiasm you present in your writing.

Important- Follow-up email to a professor: When and how you should write

A strong motivation letter for Ph.D./Research applications will certainly include:

  • A concise intro stating which program you are applying for
  • Your scholastic history as well as expert work experience
  • Any vital skills you have and what makes you the perfect prospect
  • These attributes must display in the best possible way in your motivation letter without seeming flat. Otherwise, it will be considered insufficient!

motivation letter for a research job

  • Binding up the motivation letter is where most people battle. Usually, individuals can easily describe their academic background and why they intend to research, yet persuading the reader they are the most effective prospect for the research program is typically more difficult.
  • The ending remarks of your motivation letter should highlight the influences of your suggested study, particularly: the brand-new contributions it will certainly make to your area, the benefits it will certainly carry society, and exactly how it harmonizes your goals.
  • With this, wrap up your professional objectives. For instance, do you want to go after an academic job or end up being a scientist or a private organization? Doing so will certainly reveal you have placed a great deal of belief into your choice.
  • Admissions into a Ph.D. degree or Research position are extremely competitive, and supervisors spend a great deal of time mentoring their students. As a result, supervisors naturally favor those that reveal the most dedication. Your verdict ought to remind the viewers that you are not just passionate about the study task but that the university will benefit from having you. 
  • There are no rules for what to include within your Ph.D. motivation letter, yet, extensively speaking, your entry needs to include references to the following.
  • You are what your personality is and what collections you apart from various other prospective Ph.D. candidates. Your motivation letter needs to be a sales tool that must make any committee choose you to join their team. 
  • Your skills and achievements (together with any evidence to corroborate your claims).
  • Your study into academic institutions’ details (why you intend to attend that specific institution and what makes it a good fit for you). 
  • The motivation letter must attach your academic and expert future strategies with the scholarship you are making an application for.
  • It should offer the viewers an understanding that you are truly thinking about researching a specific field. Also, your choice is not only beneficial for you, however likewise for the scholarship resource.
  • It develops reasons why you deserve it more prominent than other candidates.
  • Usually, a Motivation Letter ought not to be longer than one page. The key to success is a clear structure, passion for your research study subject, and capacity to show your research’s value and effect.
  • Information and declarations you must keep in the motivation letter.
  • You should not include false facts and success and not try to make any overstatements or use pompous metaphors. The team from the admission board will continuously determine if a motivation letter is real or phony.
  • Prevent saying phrases like: “my childhood years desire, “I am highly inspired to research X,” “my biggest ambition is to pursue scientific study at the highest degree,” “I have always been captivated by the clinical research study.”
  • Attempt not to applaud the college excessively, as well as don’t shut your letter with the expression, “It would be an honor to be confessed to this college.”
  • Attempt not to commend the university too much and don’t shut your letter with the expression “It would certainly be an honor to be confessed to this college.” Secret things to bear in mind when you write the motivation letter Important information you must worry about throughout your motivation letter are your intellectual passion for the Ph.D. program and the area you intend to research—the study experience you have had so far.
  • It does not need to be individual in such a way that makes you show up non-serious, instead focus on your intellectual individuality. Take care not to delight a whole lot in your deficit side; constantly concentrate on your stamina and why you are the university’s appropriate person.

A motivation letter is an essential part of your Ph.D. application. The program committee uses this letter to decide whether you should be admitted to the doctoral program. You, the applicant write the letter, and it should describe why you want to go to graduate school, why you want to pursue a particular Ph.D. program, and why you should be accepted. In the introduction, the author should state the letter’s purpose and why the committee should care about it. The opening is typically a brief paragraph or two in which the applicant explains how they believe their background, training, and professional experiences are well-suited to the proposed program. As a letter of motivation, it should not be like an autobiography.

  • A motivation letter can play a crucial part in the application process. It permits the admission committee to assess a team of Ph.D. candidates with similar scholastic backgrounds and also pick the optimal candidate based upon their inspirations for applying.
  • Academic credentials alone are inadequate for the admission team to indicate whether students will succeed in their doctorate. In this feeling, a motivational letter will permit them to judge your enthusiasm for the field, dedication to study, and also suitability for the program, every one of which far better enables them to evaluate your possibility.
  • There is a need to know if you’re truly certified to do a Ph.D. or other research position while composing an application to a research group/college. Hence, the motivation letter is the ideal understanding right into that you truly are, and they expect you to do it justice. 
  • It’s the most personalized and important document you can develop to send to a university during the application process. The motivation letter will commonly make the largest difference between obtaining admission and getting denied at the university you’re sending your application to.

A great rule of thumb for a Ph.D. motivation letter is to keep it around one side of A4. A little longer than one page is acceptable; however, two pages are typically considered long. This is associated with around 500-1000 words.

A Ph.D. motivation letter is a short essay that you write to show admissions officers that you are passionate and committed to pursuing your Ph.D. The length of this essay should be appropriately matched to your statement. Although the two papers will not be identical, they should complement each other in size and content. A Ph.D. motivation letter should be between 500 to 1000 words.

Construct a bridge between the intended level course and the scholarship you are looking for.

  • Yes, you should change the motivation letter according to the research group or program. But the core content about you should be the same; always don’t try to change core details.
  • You can modify research interests, particular expertise, and letter format according to the position.

Helpful Article- How to Write a Research Paper: Step-by-Step Guide

  • In the letter, you can create appropriate and captivating details on your own, confirming to the admission team that you are the right candidate to be picked to engage in their program. 
  • These qualities should receive the best possible method of your motivation letter. Otherwise, it will certainly be considered insufficient!
  • The motivation letter needs to link your academic and expert future strategies with the scholarship you are getting.
  • It needs to offer the visitor an understanding that you are actually interested in studying a particular field.
  • Your option is not only valuable for you but also for the scholarship source. It shows up reasons that you deserve it more than other candidates.
  • A motivation letter has many similarities to a cover letter and an individual statement, and organizations will certainly not ask you to send each one of these. Nonetheless, it is a one-of-a-kind record, and you must manage it, therefore. In the context of supporting a Ph.D. application, the difference is nuanced; all three files detail your viability for the Ph.D. research study.
  • Nonetheless, compared to a cover letter and individual declaration, a motivation letter puts even more focus on your motivation to seek the particular Ph.D. position you are getting.
  • For a Ph.D. application, what is the difference between a letter of inspiration and a declaration of purpose?

Introduction: Begin with a brief intro to clearly state your intention to apply for a particular program. Think of this as explaining your record/score to a stranger.

Education and learning: State what you have researched as well as where. Your higher education will be your most important academic experience, so focus on this. Highlight any relevant components you took on as part of your research studies that pertain to the program you are applying for. You must also point out exactly how your research has affected your decision to pursue a Ph.D. task, especially if it remains in the same area you are presently putting on.

Important Tip- 5 Important Tips About How To Choose Where to Apply Postdoc

  • Both are pretty comparable in regards to the framework but have various objectives. The motivation letter is generally on education; for that reason, there are various motivation letterS.
  • For example, you might need a motivation letter for a scholarship, a motivation letter for college admission, etc. At the same time, the cover letter is used primarily to make an application for jobs.
  • Academic cover letters are a lot more typical in UK colleges, while motivation letters are extra usual abroad.
  • This letter is meant to come as a free product to your Curriculum Vitae, where you display your certifications. You support the Curriculum Vitae by providing extra factors and experiences that make your certifications deserving of a motivation letter. Therefore, the motivation letter is a bit extra personal interaction between you and the other party, at the very least for its provided method.
  • The motivation letter is the 3rd essential file in your application behind your level and your grades from the previous education and learning to a specific level. Naturally, when using at a University, there are numerous students with the same certifications and qualities as you. The only point that helps the admission board strain the best candidates is by looking at your motivation letter.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, your letter is a great opportunity to show off your research skills and knowledge of the field. Don’t just say the same things you would in your cover letter. Instead, use this space to show your knowledge of the topic and your enthusiasm for the field. Remember to use the first person and be personal, however, don’t be too informal. Remember, you’re talking to a professor as a peer, not as a friend.


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Phd scholarship: solar cells, technical university of munich (tum), germany.


motivation letter for a research job

How to Write a PhD Motivation Letter

  • Applying to a PhD

A PhD motivation letter is a document that describes your personal motivation and competence for a particular research project. It is usually submitted together with your academic CV to provide admissions staff with more information about you as an individual, to help them decide whether or not you are the ideal candidate for a research project.

A motivation letter has many similarities to a cover letter and a personal statement, and institutions will not ask you to submit all of these. However, it is a unique document and you should treat it as such. In the context of supporting a PhD application, the difference is nuanced; all three documents outline your suitability for PhD study. However, compared to a cover letter and personal statement, a motivation letter places more emphasis on your motivation for wanting to pursue the particular PhD position you are applying for.

Academic cover letters are more common in UK universities, while motivation letters are more common abroad.

A motivation letter can play a key part in the application process . It allows the admission committee to review a group of PhD applicants with similar academic backgrounds and select the ideal candidate based on their motivations for applying.

For admission staff, academic qualifications alone are not enough to indicate whether a student will be successful in their doctorate. In this sense, a motivational letter will allow them to judge your passion for the field of study, commitment to research and suitability for the programme, all of which better enables them to evaluate your potential.

How Should I Structure My Motivation Letter?

A strong motivation letter for PhD applications will include:

  • A concise introduction stating which programme you are applying for,
  • Your academic background and professional work experience,
  • Any key skills you possess and what makes you the ideal candidate,
  • Your interest and motivation for applying,
  • Concluding remarks and thanks.

This is a simplistic breakdown of what can be a very complicated document.

However, writing to the above structure will ensure you keep your letter of motivation concise and relevant to the position you are applying for. Remember, the aim of your letter is to show your enthusiasm and that you’re committed and well suited for the programme.

To help you write a motivation letter for a PhD application, we have outlined what to include in the start, main body, and closing sections.

How to Start a Motivation Letter

Introduction: Start with a brief introduction in which you clearly state your intention to apply for a particular programme. Think of this as describing what the document is to a stranger.

Education: State what you have studied and where. Your higher education will be your most important educational experience, so focus on this. Highlight any relevant modules you undertook as part of your studies that are relevant to the programme you are applying for. You should also mention how your studies have influenced your decision to pursue a PhD project, especially if it is in the same field you are currently applying to.

Work experience: Next summarise your professional work experience. Remember, you will likely be asked to submit your academic CV along with your motivation letter, so keep this section brief to avoid any unnecessary repetition. Include any other relevant experiences, such as teaching roles, non-academic experience, or charity work which demonstrates skills or shows your suitability for the research project and in becoming a PhD student.

Key skills: Outline your key skills. Remember the admissions committee is considering your suitability for the specific programme you are applying for, so mention skills relevant to the PhD course.

Motivation for applying: Show your enthusiasm and passion for the subject, and describe your long-term aspirations. Start with how you first became interested in the field, and how your interest has grown since. You should also mention anything else you have done which helps demonstrate your interest in your proposed research topic, for example:

  • Have you attended any workshops or seminars?
  • Do you have any research experience?
  • Have you taught yourself any aspects of the subject?
  • Have you read any literature within the research area?

Finally, describe what has convinced you to dedicate the next 3-4 years (assuming you are to study full time) of your life to research.

How to End a Motivation Letter

Concluding the motivation letter is where most people struggle. Typically, people can easily describe their academic background and why they want to study, but convincing the reader they are the best candidate for the PhD programme is often more challenging.

The concluding remarks of your motivation letter should highlight the impacts of your proposed research, in particular: the new contributions it will make to your field, the benefits it will have on society and how it fits in with your aspirations.

With this, conclude with your career goals. For example, do you want to pursue an academic career or become a researcher for a private organisation? Doing so will show you have put a lot of thought into your decision.

Remember, admissions into a PhD degree is very competitive, and supervisors invest a lot of time into mentoring their students. Therefore, supervisors naturally favour those who show the most dedication. Your conclusion should remind the reader that you are not only passionate about the research project, but that the university will benefit from having you.

Finally, thank the reader for considering your application.

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Motivation Letter Format

There are some basic rules to follow when writing a successful motivation letter. These will mimic the standard format for report writing that the supervisor will be familiar with:

  • Use a sans serif font (e.g. Arial or Times New Roman),
  • Use a standard font size (e.g. 12pt) and black font colour,
  • Keep your writing professional throughout and avoid the use of informal language,
  • Write in the first person,
  • Address your motivation letter to a named person such as the project supervisor, however, this could also be the person in charge of research admissions,
  • Structure your letter into paragraphs using the guidance above, such as introduction, academic history, motivation for research, and concluding remarks.

How Long Should a Motivation Letter Be?

A good rule of thumb for PhD motivation letters is to keep it to around one side of A4. A little longer than one page is acceptable, but two pages is generally considered too long. This equates to approximately 400-600 words.

Things to Avoid when Writing Your Motivational Letter

Your motivational letter will only be one of the several documents you’ll be asked to submit as part of your PhD application. You will almost certainly be asked to submit an Academic CV as well. Therefore, be careful not to duplicate any of the information.

It is acceptable to repeat the key points, such as what and where you have studied. However, while your CV should outline your academic background, your motivation letter should bring context to it by explaining why you have studied what you have, and where you hope to go with it. The simplest way to do this is to refer to the information in your CV and explain how it has led you to become interested in research.

Don’t try to include everything. A motivation letter should be short, so focus on the information most relevant to the programme and which best illustrates your passion for it. Remember, the academic committee will need to be critical in order to do their jobs effectively , so they will likely interpret an unnecessarily long letter as in indication that you have poor written skills and cannot communicate effectively.

You must be able to back up all of your statements with evidence, so don’t fabricate experiences or overstate your skills. This isn’t only unethical but is likely to be picked up by your proposed PhD supervisor or the admissions committee.

Whilst it is good to show you have an understanding of the field, don’t try to impress the reader with excessive use of technical terms or abbreviations.

PhD Motivation Letter Samples – A Word of Caution

There are many templates and samples of motivation letters for PhDs available online. A word of caution regarding these – although they can prove to be a great source of inspiration, you should refrain from using them as a template for your own motivation letter.

While there are no rules against them, supervisors will likely have seen a similar letter submitted to them in the past. This will not only prevent your application from standing out, but it will also reflect poorly on you by suggesting that you have put minimal effort into your application.

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Motivational Letter Writing Guide + Examples for 2024

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You’re about to apply for the job opportunity of your dreams.

You’ve worked hard, and you can’t wait to take the next step in your career.

All that’s left for you to do is write a motivational letter.

But writing a motivational letter can be nerve-wracking.

Two hours and three coffees in, you’ve scrolled through your Facebook newsfeed (twice), watched one episode of the last season of Game of Thrones, sent angry tweets to its creators, and donated for the knee surgery of two dogs. 

You go back to your open Word doc, and all you’ve managed to write is, “This program seems like fun” or “I’ll totally be a great fit for your organization.”

Don’t worry! We’re here to help.

In this article, we’re going to cover:

  • How to Write a Motivational Letter, Step-by-Step
  • A Great Example of a Motivational Letter
  • Useful Motivational Letter Tips

What Is a Motivational Letter?

A motivational letter, sometimes also called a letter of motivation, is a formal letter that you might have to submit when applying for an educational program or a job. Its goal is to show the hiring manager or admissions officer why you’re the perfect candidate for the position.

Motivational letters are typically submitted alongside your CV or resume . Unlike a cover letter, which gives practical examples of how your skills and experience match the opening, a motivational letter focuses more on your personality, interests, and motivation to apply.

When Do You Need a Motivational Letter?

A motivational letter is usually required when an organization wants to gauge your enthusiasm, cultural fit, and motivations for a particular opportunity.

There are a few situations when you might need to submit a motivational letter, such as:

  • You’re applying for an educational program.
  • You’re applying to work at a non-profit organization or mission-driven company.
  • You’re applying for an internship in a competitive field.
  • You’re applying for a volunteer position at a charity or non-government organization.
  • You’re applying for a grant, fellowship, or some sort of scholarship .

No matter the situation, a motivational letter serves to express your distinct driving forces and convey your enthusiasm for that specific role, program, or opportunity. That’s why, done right, a motivational letter can convince the reader to go through your application in detail.

However, if the specific position doesn’t explicitly require a motivational letter or other written statement, you might be better off learning how to write a cover letter instead. Cover letters can be a great addition to your application and help you stand out from other candidates who are only relying on their resumes.

cover letter templates

How to Write a Motivational Letter

Now that you know what a motivational letter is, it’s time to write your own.

Just follow the steps we’ve outlined, and you’ll be done in no time:

#1. Address Your Letter Appropriately

Your motivational letter should include a header with all the necessary contact details.

For starters, this means you should include your contact information , such as your full name, email address, phone number, and any other details that might be necessary for your application.

Additionally, you should include your intended audience’s contact details. Depending on where and what you’re applying for, this might be either a hiring manager or an admissions officer.

To establish a connection with the reader, include a personalized greeting instead of the generic “To Whom It May Concern.” To do that, you have to find out who the hiring manager or admissions officer is.

Start by doing a bit of research. Review the job listing, the program’s official page, or the application instructions. If you can’t find their name there, check the organization’s website and look for a staff directory.

Once you have their name, address your motivational letter professionally . We recommend using an identifier followed by their last name. But if you’re not sure about their title or gender, you can just use their full name, too. For example:

  • Dear Mr. Smith,
  • Dear Dr. Singh,
  • Dear Cameron Smith,

Just avoid informal greetings like "Hey, John!" – your motivational letter is still meant to be a formal document.

#2. Stick to the Program Requirements

Writing a captivating motivational letter is all about showing the hiring manager or admissions officer how you meet the requirements for the position.

To help get the ball rolling as you start drafting your motivational letter, ask yourself: 

  • What kind of applicants are usually admitted to the program? 
  • How do you fulfill the requirements?

First, you need to know the exact program requirements and explain how your background and strengths align with the outlined criteria.

Comb through the details the organization has provided about the ideal skills, experiences, qualifications, or personal qualities they’re looking for in a candidate. Maybe they want someone proficient in data analysis , or they’re prioritizing candidates who are passionate about the industry.

Just remember –  you don’t have to highlight how you meet all the listed requirements if your application already includes a detailed academic CV . Just identify the top three to five requirements and give concrete examples of how you meet each.

Here’s an example:

Requirement: Minimum 2 years of volunteer experience

“I was a medical volunteer in Namibia for three years. It’s one of my most fulfilling adventures and transformative experiences so far since I am passionate about helping others. I believe it broadened my horizons and made me more resilient.”

#3. Align with Their Values

Your motivational letter should explain what drives you and show the reader how you share their organization’s values.

Take time to thoroughly research the organization , its culture, objectives, and driving forces. Find what resonates with your own beliefs and goals and mention it in your motivational letter.

But don’t just randomly sprinkle keywords into your letter. Instead, thoughtfully use your passion to build a narrative that shows how your values align with the institution’s mission. 

Be sure to give concrete examples. For instance, if the company values sustainability, you might want to share an anecdotal example, such as:

Values: Sustainability, Climate Action, Nature Conservation

I have a deep passion for nature conservation, and I have volunteered extensively with environmental organizations, especially in restoring local wetland habitats. I also practice eco-friendly habits in my professional life by advocating for reducing workplace waste and single-use plastics.

#4. Express Genuine Interest

Above all, your motivational letter should demonstrate that you really want to be there.

That said, there is a fine line between pleading and showing intelligent interest while also selling yourself. Generic statements can come across as insincere and unmotivated. Instead, write about what really attracted you to the opportunity.

Be as specific as possible and express your passion without necessarily begging them for a chance. For example:

  • I would love to live in Aberdeen because I’m fascinated by Highlander culture, and I’m excited to dive into the city’s rich cultural heritage and vibrant community dedicated to the arts, music, and preserving Scottish traditions.
  • It is my dream to be part of the Environmental Science Master's program because of its cutting-edge research in sustainable energy solutions and marine conservation efforts, which align with my passion for protecting our planet's ecosystems.

Specific examples and details show you've invested time learning about the organization, which helps your genuine passion shine through your motivational letter.

#5. Personalize It

While showcasing how you meet requirements is crucial, don't be afraid to let some of your personality and voice shine through.

Use descriptive adjectives to paint a fuller picture of who you are beyond just your credentials. Are you an endlessly curious, lifelong learner? A creative problem-solver? Passionate about how technological advancements can be used to increase sustainability?

Let your distinct character and values shine through to make your motivational letter more memorable and help differentiate you from other applicants. This can convey important soft skills and give the reader a glimpse of the person behind the qualifications.

Just make sure you’re still presenting a polished bit of personality and keeping it relevant to the opportunity. For example, if you’re applying for an MA in mathematics, don’t mention your passion for historical re-enactment.

Are you applying for an academic program? Learn how to write an academic personal statement here.

#6. Don’t Just Recap Your CV

Using your motivational letter to simply summarize your CV is a wasted opportunity. If the application requires a motivational letter, they’re looking to get to know you beyond the required stats and qualifications. 

The person reading your motivational letter is looking for the context around your motivations, passions, and aspirations. So, instead of just listing credentials, expand on the driving forces behind your experiences and decisions.

If you’re applying for a master's program, for example, mention your relevant undergraduate coursework, but also explain what sparked your interest in this specialization and why this path is personally meaningful. So, if you’re a History undergrad, elaborate on how volunteering at the archaeology museum made you pursue a graduate degree in Museum Studies and Curatorship.

Here’s a practical example of how that might look:

As a History undergraduate, my passion for preserving and sharing our cultural narratives was sparked by a semester-long museum internship. Working alongside curators as they brought ancient artifacts and stories to life through compelling exhibits opened my eyes to the vital role museums play in education and connecting communities to their roots.

This experience solidified my drive to pursue museum studies at the graduate level, where I can develop professional expertise in responsible collection stewardship, thoughtful exhibition development, and engaging public programming that keeps our shared histories vibrant and accessible for all.

Getting your documents ready for that application? Learn how to write a resume with our detailed guide.

#7. Convey Your Ambitions

Your motivational letter should express your ambitions and aspirations just as much as your relevant achievements . Admissions committees and employers who ask for motivational letters want to clearly understand both your goals and how this opportunity aligns with them.

Share your vision for how you plan to apply the knowledge, essential skills, or experience you'll gain. If it's a job, explain how it will prepare you for further career growth and impact in that field. For an academic program, discuss how you aim to contribute to cutting-edge research or become a leader and mentor.

Don't be afraid to think big - motivated candidates often have big goals of driving innovation, making a difference, or pushing boundaries in their discipline. Just make sure your aspirations are realistic and show that you have a plan and are truly invested in this path for the long term.

Here’s an example of how you can convey your ambitions in your motivational letter:

My long-term goal is to become a leader in sustainable urban design and planning that seamlessly integrates green infrastructure into the built environment. This master's program will equip me with the interdisciplinary skills to develop eco-friendly architectural solutions and climate-resilient city policies that prioritize environmental conservation alongside economic growth and social equity.

#8. Don’t Lie

One of the biggest mistakes you could make while writing your motivational letter is lying.

If you write anything remotely false, the reader will likely sense it. When you lie, you’re likely to unconsciously exaggerate your feelings and ideas. If you tell a fake story or inflate your excitement or achievements, you won’t get anywhere.

Your dishonesty is likely to be exposed and severely damage your credibility, leading to an immediate rejection.

Honesty and integrity are essential to writing an effective motivational letter. The goal of this document is to truly reflect who you are, why you’re the best match for this opportunity, and what you hope to achieve.

Don’t worry if you think your life so far just isn’t impressive enough to write a captivating story. No matter where you’re coming from, you can show the reader your unique perspective, personal growth, and unwavering determination to pursue your passions.

#9. Use a Motivational Letter Template

If you want your motivational letter to make a striking first impression, presentation matters.

A basic black-and-white document from a text editor will hardly stand out. Instead, try one of our professionally designed motivational letter templates for an attention-grabbing solution!

Novoresume offers modern, eye-catching templates that can give your motivational letter a polished look. You can even use the resume builder to match your motivational letter to one of our sleek resume templates for a coherent application.

Save precious time on formatting and create a visually flawless application in no time!

motivation letter resume matching

How to Structure a Motivational Letter

You’ve got the gist of how to write a motivational letter down, but it’s just as important to know how to structure it.

If your motivational letter is a messy, haphazard series of unrelated paragraphs, it simply won’t make the cut. You need your motivational letter to tell a coherent story, and this is where the structure comes in.

The whole process will probably require a few drafts until you get to the perfect, polished motivational letter. You might have to move around paragraphs or sentences until you have the ideal story that compliments your application, so don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time.

Let’s look at what each motivational letter looks like and includes:

How to Structure a Motivational Letter

#1. Contact Details

Start by adding all the relevant contact information at the top of your motivational letter.

Here’s what to include:

  • Full Name. Place your first and last name at the top of the page.
  • Professional Title. Match your professional title to the specific position you're aiming for. E.g.: if you’re applying for a Ph.D., write “Ph.D. candidate”.
  • Email Address. Include a professional and straightforward email address. We recommend sticking to something that combines your first and last name.
  • Phone Number. Include your phone number and add the dialing code in front if you’re applying overseas.
  • Location. Adding your city and state/country is more than enough.
  • Relevant Links. Optionally, you can include links to any relevant websites or social media profiles, such as a portfolio, a blog, a LinkedIn profile , etc.

Then, add the contact information of the admissions officer or hiring manager reading your motivational letter, such as:

  • Organization’s Name. Start with the name of the organization to which you're sending your application.
  • Recipient’s Name. If possible, find the name of the exact person who's going to be viewing your application, such as the hiring manager or the admissions officer for the department you're interested in. Check the organization’s website to get a head start.
  • Recipient’s Title. Always address the reader professionally. For example, if they’re a professor or doctor in their field, use the appropriate identifier.
  • Location. Provide the exact address of the organization you’re applying to. Include the city, state, country, and street number, and even specify the building if necessary.

#2. Introduction

Begin your motivational letter with a strong introduction.

The first few sentences need to be attention-grabbing – do this through a short, engaging pitch about yourself and why you are applying.

Here’s what you can include:

  • A summary of who you are and what you do.
  • Details about what you’re applying for and where.
  • A prelude to the bulk of your motivational letter.

Remember - this part only needs to include the general reasons behind your application, since you’ll have the opportunity to make a deep dive later on in the body of your motivational letter.

Let’s look at an example of what your introduction could look like:

Dear Dr. Octavio,

My name is Jane Doe, and I would like to express my interest in applying for the Ph.D. Robotics program at Columbia University. I’ve always dreamed of becoming a robotics engineer and contributing to advancement in the field, and I believe that a Ph.D. in Robotics from this university would set me miles ahead of reaching my goal.

The body of your motivational letter is where you get to really sell yourself.

It’s also where the bulk of your text is going to be, so it determines your motivational letter as a whole.

There are two things you should keep in mind when writing this section of your motivational letter: the paragraph structure and the paragraph contents.

Generally, there are two main paragraph-based structures for your motivational letter.

First is the classic, three-main-paragraph structure, where each paragraph accounts for your introduction, body, and conclusion. If you’re using a storytelling approach for your motivational letter, we recommend sticking to this one.

However, if you want to be more factual and to the point, we recommend trying the seven-paragraph structure. It divides the main body of your motivational letter into smaller paragraphs according to your main points, where each discusses a specific achievement, experience, or aspiration.

Use the body of your motivational letter to mention the stories behind your achievements, essential skills , and passion for whatever you’re applying for.

This is the right place to be as detailed and factual as possible. Give concrete examples of what motivated you to apply for this position, and show how that directly relates to what the organization is looking for in a candidate.

Here are some sentences you can paraphrase and use to help you write the body of your motivational letter:

  • My passion for [field] started when [experience] . 
  • I want to [join this organization] because [ motivation] . 
  • I have been part of [relevant organization or field] for [amount of time] . It’s the best thing for me because [reason] .
  • I remember once when I [experience] , which made me realize that I [gained interest in the specific field] .
  • [Organization or program] resonates with me because [specific reason] .
  • What distinguishes me from my peers is [something you’re proud of] .

Let’s look at a brief example of how this is put into practice.

I developed my passion for digital marketing during my internship at XYZ Inc. Working for a small startup allowed me to gain surface-level experience in most digital marketing channels. Now, I would like to deep-dive and gain advanced know-how by attending the Buffalo College Marketing program.

#4. Conclusion

After finishing the body of your motivational letter, it’s time to wrap it up and send it in.

Use this section to briefly summarize your main points and remind the reader why you’d be a great fit for the organization or program you’re interested in.

Then, mention your overarching career goal and how that aligns with their organization’s mission.

Finally, thank the reader for their time and sign off on your motivational letter. Here’s an example:

Therefore, I believe that my strong academic foundation in environmental studies and hands-on fieldwork experience are qualifications that position me to make outstanding contributions to your master's program. I believe that the knowledge I gain in the Sustainability and International Relations program will play a pivotal role in my mission of shaping innovative policies and scientific solutions to combat climate change and protect our planet's biodiversity for future generations.

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to join UCLA in the fall semester.

George Maxton

How to Format a Motivational Letter

Always review your motivation letter carefully and stick to any stated requirements or guidelines for your application.

Organizations will sometimes include formatting specifications, like word count or page limits, or even questions they want you to answer in your motivational letter.

If you’re writing a motivational letter for an academic program, you can usually find this information on the admissions requirements webpage or within the provided application materials. 

For job applications, these details are usually listed on the job ad or in the company's job application portal.

Always follow these rules exactly as stated. Going off script could get your application immediately rejected since it shows you’re either not attentive or you’re not taking the opportunity seriously.

If, on the other hand, there aren’t any guidelines for your motivational letter, we recommend you follow these tips:

  • Keep your motivational letter one page long.
  • Use a clear structure with concise paragraphs to make your letter easy to skim.
  • Choose a professional font like Lora or Roboto and make sure it’s sized 11-12 pt.
  • Set your page margins to one inch on all sides so your page doesn’t look too cluttered or too empty.
  • Include the date you wrote your motivational letter for an extra professional touch.
  • Use powerful words and action verbs (“designed” and “conceptualized”) instead of cliched phrases (“helped with” and “managed”).
  • Smoothly connect your thoughts through transition words.
  • Proofread carefully for any spelling or grammatical errors.
  • Include a professional closing line like "Sincerely" at the end of your text.
  • Print your motivational letter out and sign it, or send it as a PDF to preserve your formatting.

How to Format a Motivational Letter

Motivational Letter Example

Let’s look at an example of a great motivational letter for a Ph.D. program at Harvard University and go through just what this candidate does right:

motivation letter example

The candidate’s letter to Harvard University’s Department of Political Science starts by addressing the person in charge of admissions for the Ph.D. program they’re interested in.

The general requirements for the Political Science program are:

  • Being research inclined
  • Having a demonstrated passion for politics
  • Showing above-average performance during undergraduate studies 

The values of the university they’re applying to are integrity, education, respect, and accountability.

The candidate’s motivational letter is neatly divided into a total of five paragraphs, of which three make up the body of the text.

Here’s how they highlight their motivation:

  • They know the history of the university and share the same values.
  • They’re genuinely excited and passionate about the program and the school.
  • They show what their qualifications are and how they’ll be a great fit for the program.
  • They explain what they hope to achieve if they get the opportunity to study at Harvard.

Essentially, the candidate has listed all their qualifications through a personal story. After reading this letter, the admissions officer will feel like they know the candidate adequately, especially since they have communicated who they are by highlighting how they match everything the Ph.D. program is looking for in an applicant.

Need more inspiration? Check out our 60+ cover letter examples for different professions.

Key Takeaways

You’ve made it to the end of our guide!

Now, you know everything there is to know about motivational letters. We’re confident you’re a shoo-in for that position you have your sights set on!

But before we go, let’s quickly sum up what we’ve covered so far:

  • A motivational letter is a formal document that’s usually required when applying for university admissions, a non-profit organization, or a volunteer position.
  • Motivational letters are different from cover letters since they focus more on your interests, passions, and ambitions than on your skills and achievements.
  • Generally, there are two ways to structure your motivational letter, depending on whether you want to tell a story or factually go through all the points that make you an ideal candidate.
  • The introduction of your motivational letter should be brief and immediately grab the reader’s attention. Use it to tell them who you are and why you’re interested in applying for the specific opportunity.
  • Always do your research on the specific program or organization. This can help you show genuine interest and convey your aspirations for the future in this field.
  • Make your motivational letter stand out by using one of Novorésumé’s templates and giving the admissions officer or hiring manager a gorgeous first impression.

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