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How to write a motivation letter

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The motivation letter (or cover letter) is probably the most personalized document of your application considering that you actually get the chance to write a presentation about yourself accompanying your CV. By requiring a motivation letter, the Master’s recruiting committee offers you the chance to prove yourself in a short document shaped as a letter in which you are supposed to give some relevant and interesting insights about yourself, prove that you are the right and most motivated person to be chosen for participating in the program.

Writing such a letter can prove to be sometimes tricky and challenging for some applicants who often find themselves wondering how the letter should look like, what it should contain and how to convince coordinators that they are the right ones to be chosen for the program.

The internet is packed with different websites that offer tips and tricks on such letters. By simply typing motivation letter on any of the consecrated search engines you will find a vast number of examples of different motivation letters with structural and content details.

Ideas and main points

Start with writing down some of the main ideas , important points you would like to approach in your letter and later build around them, enrich their content; an example would be :

  1. Make your goal clear; provide a short preview of the rest of the letter;
  2. Why do you think that the university and the Master’s program are interesting and suitable for you? ;
  3. Focus on some of your strongest qualifications, past experiences (international experiences are always relevant) and qualities; organize the middle paragraphs in terms of the qualifications most relevant for the program, you can also refer to your CV for more details;
  4. Conclude by restating your interest and show appreciation for the chance to prove yourself in the letter (in some cases you can ask for a personal interview)
Personal & original

Give your readers some insight into you as an individual. Remember this is a very personal document in which you are expected to prove that you are different from the rest of the applicants and that your qualities, skills and qualifications make you suitable for participating in the program. Although it might be sometimes helpful to have other examples, do not copy other letters you have seen and try to be original, it will help a lot! Also, avoid bragging too much about yourself. You are not expected to present yourself as a superhero but rather be objective and realistic.

First impression

Whether it is the way your letter looks, the way it is organized and structured in paragraphs, the font size, the length of the letter or even the first paragraph, first impression always counts!

Be professional and consistent

Present your letter in a professional format, style and grammar. Have it checked for spelling mistakes and be consistent (e.g. use the same font, the same abbreviations throughout the letter etc.).

Other opinions and advice

It is always a good idea to ask your friends, a teacher or someone who has already done such an application for advice. Usually, you can get in touch with students who are already doing the Master’s programme you are applying for and they can give good advice not only on what to include in your motivation letter. However, as already stated before remember to be original and avoid copying other letters!