How do I write a letter of motivation for the university

The letter of motivation or cover letter is usually that element of an application dossier with which you make a first and important impression. The quality of a letter of motivation often determines whether your application dossier is read in full or not. The aim is to arouse interest in the recipient by briefly and plausibly explaining why you are applying for the advertised position and which qualifications and competencies make you the right person for the advertised position.


  • Take the time to write the letter of motivation
  • Do not send standardized letters of motivation. Target the advertised position and the company. Establish a connection between your qualifications and the requirement profile
  • Use precise and clearly understandable language
  • Avoid empty phrases
  • Use active and positive language
  • No spelling mistakes!
  • Have a third party proofread your letter of motivation


The letter of motivation should not be more than 1 A4 page. The letter of motivation consists of the following elements:

  • Sender: Your full contact details (first name, surname, home address, telephone number, email address).
  • Address: Complete company address with the name of the contact person. If no contact person can be found in the job advertisement, call the company to inquire.
  • Place and date: e.g. "Bern, July 5, 2013"
  • Subject line: The subject line includes the description of the advertised position, the source and the date of publication of the job advertisement. If it is an unsolicited application, this should be evident from the subject. The word “subject” should not be used. The line is shown in bold and ends without a period.
  • Personal form of address: Avoid impersonal forms of address such as "Dear Sir or Madam". Don't forget your academic title.
  • Running text: The text should be divided into three to five sections and contain the following points:
    • A convincing introduction without meaningless introductory phrases. Get down to business quickly. Explain what addressed you about the job advertisement.
    • Explain briefly, concisely and convincingly why you are the right person for the advertised position. Describe your professional skills and relevant professional experience that qualify you for the position. Pay particular attention to the requirements stated in the job advertisement. State what activity you are currently doing without losing the "central theme".
    • Address personal characteristics ("soft skills") that are of particular relevance to the position.
    • Specify your motivation: emphasize your key competencies and the contribution you can make to the company and underline why you are particularly suitable for this position.
    • Make it clear in a nutshell that you are motivated for a personal interview. (Attention: Not "I would be happy ...", but "I am happy ...")
  • Greeting formula: "Kind regards"
  • Signature: In blue color so that the letter is easily recognizable as the original.
  • Side dishes: Without the word "side dishes"

The letter of motivation should answer the HR manager why you are applying to this company and for this position, what qualifies you for the position and what the company will gain from hiring you. If further information is required (salary expectations, possible starting date), this must of course not be missing.