Motivatiebrief anno 2020

Motivation letters are always important, even in times of digital application. The letter supplements your CV and is the most personal part of your application. You have to formulate it in such a way that it comes across as both authentic and professional. Then you can also use it to sell yourself as the person for the open job. In the past, a distinction was made between a classic cover letter (formal) on the one hand and a motivation letter (informal) on the other hand. Now they are used as synonyms and have the same goal: to distinguish yourself from your competitors! Which is the key to success!

Pay attention! A motivation letter is not always a requirement. In some situations, it is better to react quickly and keep your motivation letter in reserve. Afterward, you can use it to emphasize your enthusiasm.

In your motivation letter, it is important to indicate why you would be the right person in the right place and what your motivation is to apply for the job. Since it is not always easy to write an adequate motivation letter, it is an essential skill in the job market. Fortunately, you are not on your own. The internet can be a good first aid and may give you some useful tips. Of course, your recruiter can also give you very useful and targeted tricks. Finally, you can write your motivation letter even stronger after a second opinion from someone who really knows you.

Below we list some important tips you can apply when writing, based on experience and articles from Jobat and Stepstone.

Rule 1: Write customized and personal! 

A good motivation letter is not about you as a person, but about the match between your qualities and the needs of the company. It is therefore important to write your motivation letter tailored to the vacancy. Never deliver the same letter to two employers. It is also important to address the letter personally and to start the letter with this name as well. Usually, the general contact details can be found in the vacancy or job description. 

It is always a good idea to know exactly who you are addressing. Using your FBI skills on LinkedIn to find the HR manager will certainly give you some more information. This will also pay off once you actually drop by for an interview, speaking of motivation!

Tailor-made and personal is also applicable if you make a creative video for a company that is clearly committed to this in its marketing. How identical you come across in video plays an extremely important role in convincing during your application. The emphasis is on the feeling! But more about this in another Blog.

Rule 2: Strong intro

In the first sentences, you mention what position you are applying for, how you ended up finding the job, why you are interested in this job, and why the recruiter should read on. This can be done by mentioning what you notice as interesting or what you want to do. Giving a new idea or possible solutions for certain stumbling blocks within the company is possibly also a good move. Moreover, if you are aware of the company’s plans for the future, describe how you can add value to these goals.

Rule 3: Lay-out 

The layout is the first thing a recruiter sees and determines his opinion about you as a person. Important is a professional look, a readable font and, a clear structure. Almost all typography experts recommend Helvetica as a readable font. But there are other fonts with a professional impression: Proxima Nova (a paying font), Didot, Calibri, Cambria and Verdana.

With a motivational video, you don’t have to worry about the layout of course. Just make sure you explain in a structured way why you are suitable and pay attention to your body language and choice of words.

Rule 4: Less is more!

Your motivation letter is never longer than one page. The starting point is “less is more”. For an optimal design, you take into account the shape, size, and layout. Not a hero in good design? Don’t worry, here too you can find different templates or layouts online that can serve as a basis for you.  

A recruiter or HR employee would like to get a quick first impression of who you are, in addition to the qualifications on your CV. It is important that you captivate this person, and say yourself, a long text appeals less than a short summary. This is probably the hardest step to take, but with a value not to be underestimated. So go for short and powerful! 

Rule 5: Avoid clichés in your cover letter

I’m a motivated team player’ and ‘Pending your answer’ are typical standard phrases that should be avoided. Write in your own style. Creativity and personality are keywords when writing your motivation letter. 

A solution for the standard phrases can be to replace these phrases with concrete facts and statements that you would also use in everyday life. If you describe yourself as a ‘team player’, indicate this on the basis of concrete situations with your environment. When you describe yourself as ‘results-oriented’, describe a professional situation on which you see yourself. 

Rule 6: Re-read! 

Make sure that no errors occur because this can leave a negative feeling to the reader. Reread your motivation letter to make it more concise and professional. Correct any spelling and grammatical errors and clumsy formulations. You may need to re-read it several times to identify all errors. If time permits, read two days or more after writing, so you can view your cover letter more objectively. A second opinion from a friend, family or your recruiter can also be of great help.

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