Crafting a Great Lettre de Motivation
Updated October 10, 2018
Reviewer Chante’ Gamby, LCSW
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 may be one of the most important job-seeking skills you ever acquire.
What Is A Lettre De Motivation?
"Lettre de motivation" is a French phrase meaning "letter of motivation." Its English equivalent is "cover letter." The term "cover letter" is too vague to give you a good idea of what you should write about.
In fact, cover letters are notoriously 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, and someone else might make a case for why the employer should hire them.
When it's called a letter of motivation, it's easy to understand what kinds of things you need to include. Instead of a collection of random plugs for yourself, you can write a letter with a single focus on your motivations for wanting the position.
What Is Meant By Motivation?
Your motivation is your reason for doing something. Motivation is crucial to everyone. If you had no motivation, you couldn't even physically move at all.
Motivation is a choice, a sensation, and an emotional state. Motivation can be based on facts, feelings, beliefs, or commitments. As you prepare to write, any motivation letters example may bring up ideas of what seems to motivate you most.
Why Do Employers Care About Your Motivation?
Strong motivation leads to a greater probability of success in any endeavor. It helps you find strength in times of weakness and endurance to keep going for the long-term.
Employers care about motivation because it increases your chances of staying at the job longer and performing at your highest level of competence while you're there.
Purpose Of A Motivation Letter
The employer has their purpose of requesting a motivation letter. You have your purposes, too. Here are some of the possible motivations that might guide what you include:
- To introduce yourself.
- To capture the reader's attention.
- To show you understand the opportunities you'll have in the job or position.
- To show your experiences and skills as well as your understanding that you have more to learn.
- To show how your experiences, skills, and education can be applied in the position.
- To talk about your current or anticipated specialty in the field.
- To show the employer what your long-range focus is.
- To pave the way for doing the job what you want it to be for yourself.
- To show how other goals will increase your motivation as well.
- To show you can construct a logical argument.
- To display your communication skills.
- To show what your interests are.
- To subtly persuade the employer to choose you above others.
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 send one with a job application. Sometimes, lettres of motivation are required or helpful when you're applying for a mortgage or business loan. They're also 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 motivation letters 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 specialties
- Your goals in getting the position
- Your long-term career goals
- A thank-you for being considered
- Signature block
- Your contact information
Steps For Writing Letters Of Motivation
Write your resume or curriculum vitae before you even think about your lettre de motivation. It will provide you with a reminder of your education and experiences. Never summarize your CV, though. A motivation letter needs to be more personal. It needs to show your characteristics and style.
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Finding Motivation Letter Examples
After you have written your curriculum vitae, a great first step is to look at what others have done with it. Look for a motivation letter example. You might take a look at a letter of motivation sample from a friend, a relative or someone you know from college.
You can also find helpful information by looking online for a lettre de motivation example to see a French version you can easily translate with Google. What you're looking for is a "lettre de motivation enanglais" if you want to search for an English motivation letters example you can read without the translation step.
Letters of motivation help you stand out in the competition for an internship. Your resume might not be well-rounded yet, so the cover letter is that much more important when you're applying for an internship. For this, you would look for a "lettre de motivation stage."
It's great to build a strong case for yourself, but it's just as important to present yourself authentically. Being impressive might get you the position. What you have to remember, though, is that you might indeed get it and find that others expect too many things of you that you can't or don't want to give.
The best way to prevent such a situation is to be real about your motivations. That doesn't mean you have to share every motivation. It just means that, of all the motivations you have, you can choose the ones that will help you get the position.
Brainstorm for ideas about what motivates you. Brainstorming, if you're not familiar with it, is an easy process. Write down everything that comes to mind without judging it. Then, when you run out of things to write, look over your document and highlight the ones that are truest, most relevant, and most impressive.
Researching The Target
You'll need to know about the company or program you're applying to join. You need a separate cover letter for each application because it needs to target that employer or program specifically.
You can research 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 news sources and press releases, and even calling the company directly.
Next, outline that you can refer to quickly and easily to stay on track with the main sections you want to include. This is the perfect time to go back to that example lettre de motivation. Look for the way the letter is structured. You can use the same general structure or use it as inspiration to create your own.
When you're ready to write, put away your motivation letter example. Now, it's time to focus on your unique qualifications, goals, and most importantly, your motivations.
The letter should be in the format of a standard professional business letter. Stick to just one page; if you write more than one, it will end up in the trash anyway. Pay extra attention to ensure contact information is correct, clear, and easy to find.
Make the first paragraph interesting enough to keep the reader reading to the end. Write in a friendly tone, but don't be too casual. Use excellent grammar and sentence structure.
Vary sentence length but use more short sentences than long ones. Avoid too much complexity. You want it to be an easy read. You also want it to look like a professional adult wrote it!
Instead of explicitly trying to make a case for why they should hire you, focus on proving your interest in the position and your motivation for seeking it.
Editing And Proofreading
When you finish writing, don't immediately pack it into the envelope with your CV and forget it. Instead, let it set for at least an hour. Then, come back and edit it with a fresh eye. You might find grammatical mistakes or realize you've focused too strongly on something other than motivation. Whatever you find, correct it now.
The final step in writing a lettre de motivation is to look at it as an object. Use good quality paper. Make sure your printer has new enough ink to produce a clear copy. When you put the letter of motivation into the envelope without wrinkling or folding it inadvertently.
Save a copy of it so you'll have your lettre de motivation example to refer to for ideas and formatting requirements the next time you need a motivation letter. Then, send it off with the knowledge that you've written the best cover letter you're capable of writing.
What If My Motivation Is Weak?
As you write your motivation letter, you might find that your motivation isn't all that strong. Or, you might be disappointed in the way the letter reads. This can happen quite naturally, especially if you want this position intensely.
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 just 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 anxiety during the search:
- 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.
Talking to a counselor is another way to combat stress. A counselor can teach you stress management techniques and help you evaluate the thoughts that are making you feel stressed.
A therapist can help you before, during, and after you write your CV and motivation letters. You might need to build your self-confidence to present yourself in the best light. You might also want help in identifying your motivations. After you send your CV package, a counselor can help you deal with feelings of insecurity or fearfulness about not getting the position.
You can talk to a licensed counselor on your schedule at BetterHelp.com to deal with these issues and any others that are holding you back from having the life you want. You can craft a fantastic lettre de motivation example when you truly understand your motivations and your unique value. When you get that job or position, your life may never be the same!