Cover Letter vs Motivation Letter

What is the difference between a cover letter vs motivation letter? In most cases they both fall under the name of cover letter despite there being an extremely subtle variation. There are many other names used for a cover letter such as a covering letter, a motivational letter, a letter of interest and many more. However, they are all used in job or academic applications to persuade the recipient that they are the right choice.

What is the Difference Between a Cover Letter vs Motivation Letter?

A cover letter technically refers to the accompanying letter you use when applying for a job, while a motivation letter is for applying to university or a non-paid position. However, the word that most organisations will use for both criteria is the cover letter. It is more commonly used and more commonly understood, whether that be by professionals or students. To see the request of a motivation letter on any type of application will be rare but will encompass the same cover letter format whether you are required to write a cover letter for a job or a motivation letter for university. Generally speaking, the content of both letters is quite similar and the purposes are the same which is why using the title of cover letter to represent all types of letter of persuasion is much easier.

Subcategories of a Cover Letter

Despite the title cover letter being a general term used for all types of letters in this category, you might come across other names and be wondering what the differences are. These slight differentiations in title do not alter the cover letter format as they will all follow the same guidelines, instead adding some extra information to alter them for slightly different purpose:

  • Letter of Interest = asking about a possible job opening rather than a specific application
  • Networking Cover Letter = requesting help and assistance to look for a job
  • Referral Cover Letter = specific mention of someone who has referred you to this job position

Take a look at some cover letter examples that might be helpful in seeing the difference between a cover letter vs motivation letter.

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