What is a Motivation Letter (Motivational letter)?

A motivation letter, or sometimes called letter of motivation or motivational letter, is actually a letter being send together with your professional resume to support your application for job, University admission or internship. The motivational letter is actually a personal statement which should persuade selection panel, or human resource clerk that you are perfect candidate for a position.

Motivation letter is a compulsory document only when it is specified in Call for Application, but even if the employer or University do not require motivation letter it is good thing to send one, because letter of motivation serves as an excellent platform for persuading the selection panel. Hence, the content and wording of the motivational letter must be tailored toward particular advertisement, making your application stand out of the crowd.

Bear in mind that employer or Universities receive very high number of applications, and a good motivation letter can be one of the most important factors that differentiate you from the other candidates.  Although writing motivation letter can be a boring thing to many people, motivation letter is the only platform where you can demonstrate that you are perfect candidate for the position. This is especially relevant for fresh graduates. Imagine a situation when some company publishes a call for paid internship where the only formal requirement is a specific degree. Call would probably attract hundreds of fresh graduates, having more or less similar resume and experience. In this situation motivational letter is actually the only document that could help you stand out of the crowd since the experience and skills are not working for your profit.

The difference between a cover letter and a motivation letter

 When you look into definitions of both, you will probably realize that motivation and cover letter refer to the same type of the letter: letter of introduction accompanying another document such as a resume or CV.


In practice motivation (al) letter is used for application for non-job opportunities, such as University admission, voluntary work, CSOs, while cover letter is more utilized in professional practice because it only highlights the skills and experience relevant to the advertised post. Reason behind is that probably professionals are motivated with the money, while students and volunteers have other drivers. On the other hand professionals usually have vast experience behind, so there is no need to additionally prove their competences for the job, while students have to try harder to prove the link.


However, differences between two types of letters are minor in everyday practice. So in business practice we can only distinguish two main alterations:

  1. Motivation letter has to deliver motivational statement, while in cover letter there is no need to point out your motivation in particular;
  2. Wording and language used to draft cover letters is more formal than the one used in motivational letters, and this is actually due to absence of motivational statement in cover letters.

Should I send Cover ot Motivation letter?

 In follow up to the previous discussion, we highlight once again that it is hard to make strict distinction between two, so we strongly advise you to send the letter which is specified in the Call for Applications. If the Call does not specify which letter is to be sent, we recommend you to follow this logic bellow:

  1. Send motivation (motivational) letter to non – job applications, such as University admission, Conference Application, language school applications, paid and unpaid internships, jobs in relief agencies and in charities.
  2. In all other cases send a Cover letter, or sometimes called Application letter, or Letter of Application.


We wish you a lot of success with your application!