Create YOUR perfect motivation letter
just in 7 days!

Lesson four: phrases&vocabulary

In order to write a perfect motivation letter for top-notch universities, one key element is to use relevant vocabulary and terminology. Thus, you won't just showcase your English, but will also create a lasting impression on the Admissions Officer.

On this page you will find 4 vocabulary sections and basic tips and tricks to strengthen your motivation letter:

Section 1 – General vocabulary structured in an alphabetical order
Section 2 – Vocabulary/Phrases based on the structure of the motivation letter
Section 3 - Words to describe your skills
Section 4 - Some action verbs and self-descriptive words
Tips and Tricks
Section 1 – Vocabulary structured in an alphabetical order

DOYLE, Resume and Cover Letter Action Verbs, 2019

Achieved, accomplished, acted, adapted, addressed, analysed, authored, authorized, assessed, assisted, appraised, amended, advised, allocated, altered, accelerated, acquired, aided, assembled

Budgeted, built, brainstormed, balanced, blended, boosted

Compiled, combined, challenged, chaired, committed, communicated, coordinated, calculated, contributed, commissioned, confirmed, customized, created, challenged, critiqued

Decided, developed, disclosed, documented, discovered, designed, determined, demonstrated, deferred, distributed, directed, devoted, drafted, doubled, diversified, designated, dedicated, discussed

Exercised, expected, earned, elected, engaged, entered, engineered, employed, edited, evaluated, entertained, eliminated, exchanged, ended, estimated, exempted, endorsed, expedited, experienced, enforced, explained

Facilitated, focused, financed, fuelled, figured, fit, formed, fortified, functioned, formulated

Guided, grouped, gave, garnered, granted, generated, guaranteed, gathered, graphed

Hired, handled, helped, headed

Improved, identified, installed, inspired, interviewed, issued, invested, illustrated, implemented, incurred, innovated, inspected, invented, interpreted, inaugurated, informed, induced, instilled, incorporated

Judged, joined, justified

Located, lectured, launched, litigated, lobbied, led, listened

Mastered, managed, merchandised, modified, met, minimized, modelled, measured, moderated, motivated, multiplied, marketed, maximized, moved, mediated

Negotiated, noticed, navigated, networked

Operated, owned, observed, oversaw, organized, obtained, oriented

Participated, printed, proposed, pursued, persuaded, perceived, preserved, processed, produced, promoted, planned, performed, pioneered, passed, prioritized, proficiency, provided, profiled, polled, presented, procured, purchased, placed, permitted

Quoted, qualified, questioned, queried

Ranked, resolved, received, rewarded, revised, revitalized, revamped, responded, restored, rejected, reinforced, reinstated, rehabilitated, remedied, redesigned, recruited, recovered, recorded, reduced, replaced, retained, retrieved, reversed, ran, raised, reached, reviewed, researched

Saved, secured, stabilized, scheduled, screened, settled, separated, sent, selected, shaped, shortened, showed, signed, simplified, sold, specialized, staged, standardized, steered, stimulated, strategized, surveyed, supported, supplied, substantiated, set goals, supervised, studied

Trained, tabulated, took, travelled, transformed, tested, transferred, tailored, targeted

Utilized, uncovered, united, updated, undertook, unified, upgraded

Verified, valued, validated, visited, visualized

Witnessed, worked, weighed, wrote, won, welcomed
Section 2Vocabulary/Phrases based on the structure of the motivation letter

Opening or greeting
• To whom it may concern
• Dear Sir/Madam
• Dear Mr. Smith
• Dear Miss Smith
• Dear Admissions Team
• Dear Admissions Committee

Reason for writing
• I wish to apply for the <<program>> at <<university name>>
• I am writing to apply for
• I am interested in the program
• It is my pleasure to apply for the
• It is a pleasure to apply for the <<program>> at <<university>>

Introducing yourself
• I am currently working as
• I am working for XXXX where I am responsible for XXXX
• I have been working in my current position for XXXX years
• I am engaged in smth/doing smth
• I specialize in
• I am graduating from
• I am pursuing a degree in...

Talking about your education and experience
• I graduated from XXXX university with a degree/master’s degree in
• The nature of my degree has prepared me for
• As it reflects from my resume and supporting documents, I have worked …… and gained experience in
• My mother tongue is English and I am fluent in French and German

Why you
• I strongly/firmly believe I am suitable for this program as I have a great deal of experience in
• I consider myself to be an ideal candidate for this program based on the fact
• I am really keen to study XXXX program as it is aligned with my prior work experience which is in/aligned with my future plans to start a company in...
• It would be a pleasure to be able to study XXXX program from XXXX university

Closing Comments
• Thank you for taking time to consider my application
• If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me at
• Kindly find enclosed all the supporting documents
• It would be highly appreciated if you could kindly consider my application for the XXXX program

Signing off
• I look forward to receiving your response/decision
• Looking forward to hear from you
• Yours sincerely (if you use Dear Sirs or Dear Sir/Madam, don't use this phrase)
• Yours faithfully
Section 3 – Words to describe your skills

Now, in order to help with the right and relevant terminology for different aspects of the motivation letter, we have compiled a comprehensive list of vocabulary based on different skills (DOYLE, 2020):

1. Thought Processes
These are the skills that help a person think, reason and enhances one’s problem solving ability. These skills are common to almost all major industries and are highly in demand. Some of the words that can be used in this category are:

• Analytical
• Conceptual
• Creative thinking
• Critical thinking
• Deductive reasoning
• Inductive reasoning
• Logical thinking
• Problem solving

2. Administrative, Business, and Finance
Some of the words collated under this category are:

• Clerical
• Accounting
• Administrative
• Business Intelligence
• Business
• Business Storytelling
• Customer service
• Finance
• Negotiations
• QuickBooks

3. Communication and Interpersonal
An ability to communicate fluently both verbally and in writing is importnat. Some of such words are shortlisted below:

• Active listening/listener
• Collaboration
• Communication
• Editing
• Flexibility
• Interpersonal
• Listening
• Non-verbal communication
• Presentation
• Public Speaking
• Verbal Communication
• Writing

4. Leadership and Management
The above skills are required to be a great leader and lead the team in an effective manner. Some of the key words that can be used to describe this are:

• Decision making
• Delegation
• Entrepreneurial
• Leadership

5. Personal Skills
These skills qualify each and every candidate based on the unique characteristics that they possess. Some of these attributes are listed below:

• Management
• Motivational
• Negotiation
• Strategic Planning
• Interviewing
• Life skills
• Multitasking
• Organisational
• Persuasive
• Time management
• Personal
• Social

6. Teamwork
The ability to work in a team requires special skill set and some of which are highlighted below:

• Collaboration
• Conflict Management
• Conflict Resolution
• Team building
• Teamwork

7. General skills
These skills and attributes are generic:

• Behavioural
• Consulting
• Employability
• General
• Soft skills
• Strengths
• Transferable
Section 4 - Some action verbs and self-descriptive words

In addition to the terminologies listed above in all the sections, below there are some additional action verbs and self-descriptive words:

Action Verbs
accelerated, activated, adapted, administered, analysed, approved, assisted, completed, conceived, conduced, controlled, coordinated, created, delegated, developed, directed, eliminated, established, evaluated, expanded, expedited, experienced, expanded, facilitated, generated, implemented, improved, increased, influenced, initiated, interpreted, launched, lead, lectured, maintained, managed, mastered, motivated, organized, originated, participated, performed, pinpointed, planned, prepared, programmed, proposed, proved, recommended, reduced, reinforced, revamped, reviewed, revised, scheduled, set-up, simplified, solved, streamlined, structured, supervised, supported, taught, trained, worked, removed, reorganized, repeated, responsible.

Self-descriptive words
accurately, active, adaptable, adept, aggressive, alert, ambitious, analytical, assertive, astute, attentive, aware, broad-minded, challenging, competent, conscientious, consistent, constructive, contributor, creative, dependable, determined, diplomatic, disciplined, discreet, diverse, dynamic, easily, economical, efficient, energetic, enterprising, enthusiastic, exceptional, experienced, expertise, extensively, extraverted, facilitator, fair, forceful, foresight, high-level, honest, imaginative, independent, initiative, innovative, instrumental, insightful, leading, logical, loyal, mature, methodical, objective, optimistic, participated, perceptive, personable, pioneering, pleasant, positive, practical, productive, readily, realistic, reliable, repeatedly, resourceful, responsible, responsive, self-reliant, sensitive, sincere, sophisticated, strongly, systematic, tactful.
Tips and Tricks

Some basic tips and tricks to ensure you write a strong motivation letter (Rao, 2020):

1. Write stories and not statements – we can connect with stories but not statements.
2. Quantify your stories – story must contain measurable quantities.
3. Be specific – do not beat around the bush, write clear, concise and to the point.
4. Customize your essay – add your values and principles, talk about the culture that attracts you.
5. Use a formal yet conversational tone – write that you are talking to the admissions office or dean of the university, they should be able to connect with this.
6. Decide how you want to portray yourself and learn how to portray indirectly
7. Don’t create or make up stories, instead be real be yourself
8. Address yourself – try and be as honest as possible
9. Do your research and homework
10. Proofread, edit and re-edit – ask your friends and family to grade your letter