Crafting A Great Lettre De Motivation: A Helpful How-To Guide

Medically reviewed by Majesty Purvis, LCMHC
Updated May 27, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
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It isn’t always easy to talk about thoughts and emotions

Did you know? A well-crafted letter de motivation might be just what you need to stand out among the pile of applications on a potential employer's desk. 

Learning to write an effective motivation letter can be a helpful job-seeking skill for many to master. Read on to learn more about what a lettre de motivation is, the benefits it can bring to your job hunt and how you can create one—starting today. 

What is a lettre de motivation?

"Lettre de motivation" is generally regarded as a French phrase that means "letter of motivation." Its English equivalent for many is the traditionally-formatted "cover letter." However, the term "cover letter" .

Cover letters can be inconsistent from one person to the next. While one may write about why they want the position, another might use the cover letter to highlight their skills and experience, making a case as to why they are the best possible hire available for the role.

Conversely, with a letter of motivation, it can be easy to understand what kinds of things you need to include.

What does motivation mean?

Your motivation is, by general definition, your reason for doing something.

Motivation can be a choice, a sensation and an overall emotional state. Motivation can be based on facts, feelings, beliefs or commitments and can change as a person matures and refines what drives their personal sense of effort. 

Why do employers care about your motivation?

Strong motivation can lead to a greater probability of success in any endeavor. It can help you to find strength in times of weakness and endurance to keep going even when it's hard.

Employers might often care about one’s motivation because it can increase the chance of someone staying at a job longer. It can also increase the chance of a successful placement that brings a higher degree of profitability and success to the organization overall. 

Purpose of a motivation letter

While the motives for submitting a motivation letter may vary, there are several different purposes that this document can serve. Some of these can include:

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  • Introducing oneself
  • Capturing the reader's attention
  • Showing that someone understands the opportunities they'll have in a job or position
  • Showing off experiences and skills, as well as one’s understanding that there is generally always more to learn
  • Showing how one’s experiences, skills, and education can be applied in the position
  • Talking about one’s current or anticipated specialty in the field
  • Showing the employer what one’s long-range focus is
  • Showing that one can construct a logical argument
  • Showing one’s communication skills
  • Showing what one’s interests are

When might I need a lettre de motivation?

You can use a motivation letter whenever you want to find out if someone has any positions open. You can also send one with a job application. 

Additionally, letters of motivation can be required or helpful when you're applying for a mortgage or business loan. They can also be used to apply for an internship or entrance into an educational program.

Letter of motivation contents

So, what does a motivation letter contain? The following are examples of items you might choose to include:

  • Address blocks and greeting
  • A paragraph introducing yourself
  • Information about your educational background
  • Specific details about relevant experiences
  • Your interests
  • Your areas of specialty
  • Your short- and long-term career goals
  • A thank-you for being considered
  • Your signature block
  • Your contact information

Steps for writing letters of motivation

It can be helpful to write your resume or curriculum vitae before you begin to assemble your lettre de motivation. Doing this can provide you with a reminder of your education and experiences, often giving you the quantifiable information you need to speak honestly about your abilities, areas of specialty and experiences later on. 

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It isn’t always easy to talk about thoughts and emotions

Below, we’ve listed a few other helpful tips to keep in mind as you begin to write your motivation letter: 

Remaining as authentic as possible

It can be great to build a strong case for yourself—but it can be just as important to present yourself authentically. 

Being impressive might get you the position. It can be helpful to remember, though, is that you might indeed get it—and find that others might expect too many things of you that you can't (or don't) want to give. 

Many find that the best way to prevent such a situation is to be realistic and authentic about your motivations, allowing your potential employers to see who you are, your preferences and your skills in a transparent way. 

Brainstorming

Before writing your letter, you might choose to brainstorm ideas about what motivates you. Brainstorming, if you're not familiar with it, can be an easy process for many. As you brainstorm, many might choose to write down everything that comes to mind without judging it. Then, when you run out of things to write, you can look over your document and highlight the ones that are truest, most relevant, and most impressive to your current state of skill and maturity.

Researching the target

Before you complete your letter of motivation, you'll generally need to know about the company or program you're applying to. Additionally, you might need a separate cover letter for each application ifit needs to target that employer or program specifically.

Often, you can research and find out what you need by looking at the company's website, visiting the company in person, inquiring with the chamber of commerce in the city where it's located, searching press releases and calling the company directly.

Outlining

Next, you can create an outline for your letter to stay on track with everything you want to include. This can be a helpful time to go back to any examples you found that you wish to emulate in the final product. 

Writing

When you're ready to write, it can be helpful to put away any examples that can detract from your own work. Instead, you can focus on your unique qualifications, goals and your motivations.

The letter should generally be in the format of a standard professional business letter, unless otherwise stated. Many may find it useful to stick to just one page, keeping their work as concise and impactful as possible. Additionally, it can be helpful to pay extra attention to ensure contact information is correct, clear and easy to find throughout your document.

Editing and proofreading

When you finish writing, it can be helpful to set it down and return to it with fresh eyes for any editing that has to be done. Leaving time for this step can be helpful, as you might find grammatical mistakes or realize you've focused too strongly on something other than motivation. Whatever you find,  you can correct it in this step.

What if my motivation is weak?

As you write your motivation letter, you might find that your motivation doesn’t feel that strong in the moment. Or, you might be disappointed in the way the letter reads. 

Hunting for a job, an internship or entrance into a program can be extremely stressful. The stress can convince you that you haven't written an adequate letter, much less a great one. If you take some time to de-stress, you might feel more positive about what you've produced.

Here are some things you can do to decrease your stress and nervousness during the search process:

  • Get outside and enjoy nature
  • Do something active
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Stay hydrated
  • Get enough sleep
  • Enjoy time with friends and family
  • Practice meditation
  • Listen to music

How can online counseling help those in the job search process?

Talking to a counselor can be another way to combat stress. A counselor can teach you stress management techniques and can help you evaluate the thoughts that are making you feel stressed.

Many find that online therapy can be more convenient than other in-person methods. As a result, online therapy has generally become a popular and effective way of treating mental health concerns (including stress).

A therapist can help you before, during, and after you write your CV and motivation letters. For example: You might need to build your self-confidence to present yourself in the best light. Or, you might also want help in identifying your motivations. After you send your CV package, a counselor can help you manage feelings of insecurity or fearfulness about not getting the position.

You can talk to a licensed counselor at BetterHelp to address these issues and any others that are holding you back from having the life you want—all at a time convenient for you. 

Is online therapy effective? 

Research has found that online therapy can be effective in helping many combat the effects of stress and anxiety disorders, encouraging the formation of both short-term and long-term benefits. Studies suggest that online CBT programs mimic the positive impacts of in-person delivery formats while limiting the nervousness or strain that can come from the unfamiliar therapeutic setting. 

Takeaway

Learning how to write a letter of motivation can be incredibly helpful as you go through the job search process. It is generally more specific and strategic to submit when compared to the traditional cover letter. If you’re feeling less motivated or are nervous about your journey, online therapy can help. BetterHelp can connect you with an online therapist in your area of need.
Struggling to find motivation in your life?
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