Tips for Writing a Better Letter of Motivation

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Your cover letter is the recruiter’s first impression of you, and as such is an integral and vital part of the job application process. A high-quality cover letter will ensure that your CV is noticed, and will set you apart from the bulk of competition.

Before writing a Cover letter, a few things should be done:

Analyze Yourself: Consider what you have to offer and what skills/ qualifications are relevant to the position and organization.

Analyze the Advertisement: Take note of the description of the work, not simply the job title. Assume that the duties outlined are the ones the employer considers most important and think about how to link your skills and experience directly to them. Always keep the employer’s needs in mind and don’t mention items that are irrelevant to the position.

Note the Qualification Listed:  Consider how your qualifications match this list, and if they do not exactly fit, think about how or why you feel your qualifications would be relevant.

Writing the Cover Letter

Introduction (1-3 sentences):

  • Name the job for which you are applying and tell how you learned about it
  • State that you are qualified to do the job based on your background (give the employer a sense of your confidence in your own abilities)
  • State that you are very interested in the job or the organization and indicate a specific or unique reason why this job or organization appeals to you, which in turn shows that you have done some research – keep this brief)

Body (1-3 paragraphs):

  • Determine what you are going to discuss in terms of your education, work/volunteer experience, skills, interests, personality and beliefs (focus on the ones which address the job’s most important requirements)
  • Subdivide the body into sections – one possibility is: first paragraph describes what you have to offer, the second describes your interest in and knowledge about the organization
  • State the skills/strengths you will bring to the job (address all those asked for in the job advertisement) and include examples or descriptions of how you have acquired and demonstrated each skill/strength
  • Explain how the skills/strengths you mention would be useful in the new position
  • When including an example of your abilities be specific to allow the employer to visualize what you have done and can do (quantify: how long did you do it, how much responsibility did you have, what techniques did you use and why were they useful?)

Conclusion (1-3 sentences):

  • If your body section is more than one paragraph, restate that you are qualified to do the job, but make this sentence different from the one in your opening paragraph
  • Thank the employer for taking the time to consider your application
  • State that you would like to meet in person to further discuss the job and your qualifications or that you hope to hear from them soon
  • You may also want to tell the employer where and when you can be contacted if they require further information.

A few more tips…

  • Avoid using Sir or Madam, rather take the time to find out the name of the HR Officer or relevant manager within the company, or use the contact’s name if this is present on the job you’ve seen advertised
  • Always check for any spelling mistakes, odd grammar or bad punctuation. Check twice, even three times mistakes such as these are sure to create a bad impression straight away
  • Avoid waffling. Your letter should be brief and concise. All details are already included in your CV, and the reader will be put off if your letter is too lengthy
  • Always sell yourself, within reason, on the specific requirements mentioned in the advert, demonstrating why you are suited to the job in question
  • Avoid fancy fonts and formats, and always make sure the font is of a standard size
  • Always make sure your contact details are up to date, and correct
Nathan Jeffery

47 COMMENTS

  1. I love the tips you gave for writing a cover letter but I feel you have written a sample cover letter.
    Secondly, how will I write a cover letter that I have no experience on or for entry level jobs. For instance, customer service jobs or bank teller jobs.

  2. Beautiful tips you gave there on cover later/application, but it could have been more beautiful if a sample of it is given out. Thanks

  3. I like the tips you gave for the cover letter, but what about a person with no experience, like an entry level candidates seeking for entry levels jobs.
    How would they write a cover letter in engineering jobs, like in mechanical and electrical. Thank you.

    • I like the tips you gave for the
      cover letter, but what about a
      person with no experience, like
      an entry level candidates seeking
      for entry levels jobs.
      How would they write a cover letter in engineering jobs, like in
      mechanical and electrical. Thank
      you.

    • nice tips but i will appreciate samples of cover letter and cv for logistics and supply chain mgt pls send them to me

  4. I second to Adewale’s last question on how does one prepare a cover letter for an entry-level job? Better still, is a cover letter needed for entry-level jobs application?

  5. I love this article. It’s clear and insightful, I’m concern about who to direct cover letters to. Many job listing don’t include the office or the name of the person to receive the letter. Now you said find out who the person is; how are you going to do that when companies do not post the list their personnel nor is it added to the job post. When you are not sure who to direct the letter to, is it not best to send it “to whom it may concern”? Please throw more light on this, it is a serious concern.

  6. Being a HND graduate in accouting having the Knowledge of accounting if being employed I will invest my skills to keep accurate records of financial statements. And I wish to be obedient, honesty and punctual why at work.

  7. A HND graduate in accouting having the Knowledge of accounting if employed I will invest my skills to keep accurate records of financial statements. And I wish to be obedient, honesty and punctual why at work.

  8. i appreciate your guidiance in to writing a cover letter.but, i want a sample of any cover letter that will help me to frame my own.thanks

  9. Thumbs up for the piece but you would have killed it if you included a sample. Pls can you help me with a format?? Thanks in anticipation.

  10. Hi jobberman most of job vacancies does not include the HR officers name or any name at all.if we re writing a cover letter how are we going to write it

  11. A good job well done.. For a sample Cover letter, kindly Google search as to ur field.. Read n digest to form urs. Thanks

  12. Good day,I really appreciate the tips you have given. Please can a get a sample cover letter through my mail. i will really appreciate that thanks.

  13. The tips given are very educative but I will suggest for a format so asto enable one get a vivid guideline.thanks

  14. Thank you so much for this tips, they are precise and very clear. My problem is that I am applying for a job at the go and there isn’t any contact name to address the cover letter to. I remember in the tips you gave on cover letter writing you advised us not to use Dear sir or madam, so in this case kindly advice what I’ll do. Thank you as I await your favorable response.

  15. your guideline for cover letter is lovely, but i will appreciate it better, if i can get a sample of it so as to write mine, thank you.

    • Hello Mohammed, Thanks for the observation. If you could shed more light on the specific part of the article that you are making reference to, we would be able to narrow down our explanation. Thank you once again and wishing you the very best in your career.

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