How to write a motivation letter in Germany

How to write a motivation letter in Germany

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Struggling to write your motivation letter? Novorésumé, the online resume builder and creator of stand-out motivation letter templates, share their top tips for creating a killer letter. Here’s how to show that you’re the right candidate for the position. 

Crafting a motivation letter to get yourself noticed can sometimes feel like an uphill struggle, even if you’re applying for a position you’re really excited about. You already know how passionate you are, and what qualities you have to offer, but there’s one big problem: you just can’t seem to find the right words to structure your letter. 

But don’t worry. We’ve all been there - and the good news is that there’s an easy way to get through this. In this article we’ll look at how you should structure your motivation letter in Germany, and exactly what you should include in it. So, let’s get started. 

Why does a motivation letter matter? What is it?

A motivation letter is one of the most important things you’ll write in an application process. It consists of just one page and it’s usually attached to your resume. Most importantly, it’s going to show the reader why you’re the perfect candidate for the position being offered. 

There are four specific situations in which you’ll need to write a motivation letter - for instance if you are applying for:

  • An educational programme at a university or college
  • Work at a non-profit organisation
  • An internship at a company
  • A volunteer position at an organisation

Motivation letter vs. Cover letter

Now, you shouldn’t confuse a motivation letter with a cover letter, which clearly highlights any relevant information on your resume that matches a job’s specific requirements. A cover letter is more of an introduction to your resume for the hiring manager, whereas a motivation letter is seen as an influential, closing sales pitch for a non-profit or university position. 

Whereas a cover letter mostly focuses on your skills and experience, the motivation letter - as the name suggests - describes your motives for applying.

So, does a motivation letter actually matter? After all, you’ve painstakingly listed everything there is to know about you on your resume. Surely that’s enough, right? Wrong! 

Organisations want to know that you genuinely want to work with them and that you’re excited and passionate about what the company does. The intent should be your driving motivation. A good motivation letter has the potential to be a game-changer. It can give your resume a further boost, as well as potentially helping you make up for any relevant skills you’re lacking - with sheer enthusiasm! 

Structuring your motivation letter

A good motivation letter fits on just one page and consists of three important sections: 

  1. Introduction
  2. Body
  3. Conclusion

Here’s an overview of what information you should include in each one. 


Think of the introduction as a short and engaging pitch about yourself. You need to also state why you’re applying. Include:

  • Your personal information: What you are and what you do
  • The position you are applying for
  • A short introduction: Why you are applying, in general terms

Remember: don’t forget to write your contact information at the top. 

Body of a motivation letter

This section is the real meat of your motivation letter. This is where you have to sell yourself. Use stories to highlight your passion, achievements and skills. 

Stick to the facts. People who read motivation letters can tell a made-up story from a real one a mile off. If you can, use metrics to back up your qualifications. 


Finally, it’s time to wrap up your motivation letter, ready to send it in. For this section, you should:

  • Summarise all your main points, briefly
  • Refer to your overarching goal
  • End by thanking the reader and conclude with an appropriate closing (e.g. “Yours sincerely”)

Now that you know how to structure a motivational letter, let’s move on to the contents! 

Writing a motivation letter  

If your application is going to be successful, you need your motivation letter to stand out from all the others. But how to achieve this? As a general rule, you should first avoid generalisations and, second, add greater depth to your motivation letter by tailoring it to the specific organisation and programme / position you are applying for:

  • Make sure you know what and where you’re applying to. Find out who’s in charge of your fate and address your letter directly to them, (e.g. “Dear Mrs. Jones” rather than “Dear Hiring Manager”).
  • Research the programme / position requirements and the institution’s website. What are the top three requirements for the position? How do you meet those requirements?
  • Demonstrate that you really want to be there. But don’t plead - show intelligent interest as you sell yourself. Show your passion. Demonstrate your in-depth knowledge but steer clear of showing off - they’ll see right through you. 
  • Never lie! Don’t fabricate the truth - ever. You’ll be found out. If you write anything remotely untrue, your reader will find it out, sooner or later. And if that happens, your application will be rejected and assigned to the bin. 

Now you’ve learned the basics of motivation letter writing, you’ll be able to use that knowledge for your next application. Good luck! 

Do you want to stand out from the crowd? No more run-of-the-mill motivation letters but one that’s going to clearly express why you’re the best fit. With Novorésumé - the market leader in Europe for generating motivation letters - you’re in safe hands. Head over to Novorésumé and select a template for your motivation letter, fill in the details, and you’re good to go! 

Andrei Kurtuy


Andrei Kurtuy

Andrei Kurtuy is one of the co-founders and CCO of Novorésumé and an expert in the job searching process.

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