Letter of motivation
Traditionally, this letter accompanies your CV. It is not only a formality. Your letter must neither repeat what is written in your CV nor contain platitudes. On the contrary, it is the opportunity to personalize your application and to address yourself directly to a particular company. Some recruiters prefer the CV, others the letter of motivation: do not rush either of those.
Do not write a catch-all letter but target your application: 1 company = 1 letter.
- Address yourself to the person in question by name, either to the recruitment manager or to a department manager. Do not hesitate to phone the company’s switchboard to know their name. If your network has given you a name, use it.
- Search for information about the company you are writing to. Use information published in the press, in professional directories, the company’s brochure or its website.
Do not write things out of the blue: the company “x” interests you especially because of some precise reason.
- Develop your skillset. It is no use to repeat what is written in your CV. Raise either your strong points or a specific realization that matches the company’s needs, which you will know either by intuition or because you have done your research correctly (networking, press, etc.).
Structure – 3 Paragraphs
Why does this company interest you? What is its specificity that motivates you to address to them?
What can I offer to the company (experience, realizations, results, relational competencies).
Proposition of collaboration/goals/perspectives.
What to join with a letter of motivation?
- If you are responding to an offer: join only requested documents (do not overload your application file).
- If it is a spontaneous application: join your CV and diplomas.
What are the pitfalls to avoid?
- A 2- or 3-page story-of-my-life type of letter.
- Spelling mistakes (in your letter’s body, recruiter’s name or gender).
- Mistakes about the company (its type of activity, its size, its products, etc.).
- Negative or approximate terms. You are not here to talk about your problems and doubts: “Having graduated one year ago, I don’t know if I should change orientation…”
- Platitudes, such as: “Dynamic and autonomous…”. – Pompous or antiquated style: “I solicit your highest benevolence for an interview…”, “Please welcome my most abiding homage…”.
- Desperate tone: “If you deem me useful to your company…”
Always read your letter over two hours at least after writing it, or even better, the day after.
Are you satisfied of the image you project of yourself? Is your message clear? Does it make you want to meet yourself?