“Just write a short motivation letter regarding this conversation” is a sentence that I speak to cybersecurity professionals on a regular basis. Internal research at Cqure has shown that the motivation letter does not always have the desired result, while it is apparently a good piece of text. How is that actually possible? And why is good motivation letter so important?…

For that we first have to ask what the purpose and context of a motivation is. In this situation, I assume that the competencies of the candidates fit perfectly with the question asked by the client, and I leave aside all other aspects such as reimbursement, availability and the like.

Many clients have regulated the hiring professionals in procurement processes and framework agreements. It is therefore important to understand that your resume and motivation will often follow a route through a purchasing department. And that is precisely the department that does not enable all professionals to convince them by telephone. But that is exactly where you have to stand out!

These departments assess many offers and they will always make a ranking. They also often have limited time available per review. At that moment, good motivation can make the difference. This way we arrive at the goal immediately. The goal is of course to be number one in that ranking. A motivation is therefore actually a short first impression for their ranking. By setting up a motivation properly you can consciously and unconsciously influence the reader in a positive way.

Follow these 5 steps

So in the first instance we have to take into account the purpose and the context. Knowing that, it is important to give the independent reader the impression that you are the man or woman for the assignment.

  1. Start by giving the signal that you understand what they are asking for. If you do not understand this (it is very common for companies to provide very little information) you state that and you state that you estimate to see a match based on the information you have. With this you unconsciously give a signal that you take the question seriously.
  2. Show briefly and concisely that the competencies that are requested can be found in your CV and indicate where they are. In doing so, only stick to the topics expressed by the customer in the vacancy.
  3. Avoid general terms such as: challenge, interesting, involved, enthusiastic, team player, ambition, etc. That must be stated in your CV but not in your motivation letter. They always look for there things in a professional and are therefore evident and not distinctive.
  4. Ensure that the reader can easily find what they want to read. And those are the overlaps of the job demand and your offer.
  5. Make sure there is no (grammar) error because that is a negative signal. Stay to the point and keep it as short as possible.

It seems simple, but in practice it sometimes turns out to be quite difficult to stay short and to the point. It is important to steer the reader in the direction you want. It has been found that professionals often elaborate too far on general personal characteristics. This way the reader is not sent to where they should.

My most important advice is therefore;

Remember that you can determine where the reader gets his / her information from in your resume. Do something with that knowledge! 

Good luck writing your awesome motivational letter!