How To Write a Cover Letter for Research Assistant Roles

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 2, 2022 | Published October 18, 2021

Updated October 2, 2022

Published October 18, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Related: How To Write a Cover Letter: Top 3 Tips, Format & Examples

In this video, Holl explains what employers want from a cover letter, the optimal cover letter format, and 3 key strategies for success.

Cover letters are important for job applications because they convey more information about you than a resume. While resumes provide easy-to-read lists of experiences and accomplishments, cover letters do more to explain why you're applying for a position and why you're the best candidate for the role. Learning more about how to write a cover letter can help you in the application process and increase your chances of being invited to interview.

In this article, we explain why it's important to have a cover letter for research assistant roles, explore what research assistants do, learn how to write a cover letter for a research position, and include a template and example to help you write your own.

Why is it important to have a cover letter for research assistant roles?

It is important to have a cover letter for research assistant roles because these positions are often highly competitive. A good cover letter makes a candidate stand out to the hiring manager. By understanding the important information that hiring managers look for, you can write an effective cover letter. If you know how to write a cover letter that introduces yourself, outlines why you are the ideal candidate for the position, and explains why the position interests you, you can increase your chances of getting an interview.

In your cover letter, you can discuss other research roles you have performed, what you learned from them, and what skills you gained. You can include the experience you gained from a previous research assistant job, from university, or from a different job that nonetheless allowed you to hone transferable skills. Your CV only lists your work and educational experience, but your cover letter allows you to tie those experiences to the position you're applying for and convince the hiring manager you're the right fit for the job.

Related: What Is the Purpose of Cover Letter?

What does a research assistant do?

Research assistants support their supervisors, who conduct experiments, gather and analyze data. They plan, design, and coordinate studies and experiments. Many industries employ research assistants, such as health care, pharmaceutical companies, market research, colleges, polling organizations, and consulting firms. The typical role of a research assistant depends on what they are researching. For example, health care researchers determine the effectiveness and safety of medications and treatments.

The typical responsibilities of a research assistant often include:

  • creating protocols and methods for a trial or experiment

  • ensuring that any experiment or trial adheres to an appropriate code of ethics

  • collaborating with doctors to run trials and experiments

  • monitoring and checking on trial sites

  • ensuring that all the necessary supplies are available and managing expenses

  • inputting and verifying data

  • ensuring the trial or experiment follows all the proper protocols

How to write a cover letter for a research position

Below are some steps you can follow to help you write an effective cover letter for a research assistant position:

1. Research the employer

To gain valuable insights on what to include in your cover letter, research your employer and company to which are applying before you begin writing. Read the "About Us" section on their website, read their mission statement, understand their beliefs, and see if there is any information listed about the hiring manager. Your goal is to understand the company's needs and the nature of the specific project to help customize your application.

Related: Writing a Cover Letter (With Tips and Examples)

2. Include a professional greeting

While cover letters need to maintain a professional tone, you can also convey warmth and friendliness. It is important to address the reader in a welcoming but formal manner. Consider beginning by writing Dear, followed by the name of the hiring manager. If you're unable to find the name of the hiring manager, you can write Dear Hiring Manager, but first look for their name on the company website or call the organization to ask. This ensures your message is more personal.

Related: How To Write an Introduction About Yourself

3. Create your introduction paragraph

Aim for the first paragraph of your cover letter to encourage the employer to continue reading. Focus on using deliberate language. Write that you are confident you are a good fit for the position or that you are certain you can be a valuable addition to the company. Demonstrate confidence and provide important background information, such as your work and education experience. Be sure to mention the specific job for which you're applying.

4. Talk about why this research project or company excites you

Hiring managers are looking for somebody who is both qualified for the job and excited about it. A good research cover letter explains why the position, the project, or the area of research interests you. Write a paragraph that conveys that you have researched the company and that the project aligns with your interests and goals. By communicating your enthusiasm and preparedness for the position, you can convince the hiring manager that you're right for the job.

  • Related: Top 10 Research Assistant Interview Questions (With Sample Answers and Tips)

5. Explain why you are qualified for the position

In this paragraph, describe your work experience and any skill you have developed that are relevant to the role. Carefully review the job description as you write the qualifications and skills listed there. Mention the qualifications you have that match the job description and discuss how you have developed your skills.

Related: 11 Skills To Include in Your Cover Letter

6. Organize your cover letter clearly

There are options for how you organize and format your cover letter. You can order your paragraphs based on the skills that the hiring manager is looking for in a candidate. Pay close attention to what the job listing emphasizes. For example, if a job listing states that the company is looking for a research assistant who possesses strong organizational and analytical skills, communicate that you have these skills. List your past work experiences in which you used organizational and analytical skills effectively or how you learned those skills.

Related: How To Format a Cover Letter

7. Create a strong and professional closer

Once you have included all relevant information, conclude the letter. Remind the hiring manager of your credentials and why you make a valuable addition to the company or project. Restate your interest and thank the hiring manager for taking the time to read your cover letter. Finish with a professional sign-off, such as Sincerely and then your name.

Research assistant cover letter template

Here is a template you can use to help format your cover letters for a research assistant position:

[First name] [Last name]
[Your address]
[Your phone number]
[Your email address]

[Date]

[Full name of hiring manager]
[Name of company]
[Address of company]

Dear [Name of hiring manager],

[Introductory paragraph that declares your name and the position for which you are applying, as well as detailing what excites you about the company, project, and area of research.]

[Second paragraph that describes your experience and background in researching the subject, for example, medical studies, political polling, or market research.]

[Third paragraph that lists your qualifications and any skills you have related to the type of research or which are mentioned in the job description.]

[Final paragraph that reminds the hiring manager of your qualifications and reiterates your enthusiasm to work as a research assistant for the project or company.]

[A one-sentence expression of gratitude that thanks to the hiring manager for taking the time to read your cover letter.]

[Sincerely],

[Your name]

Example research assistant cover letter

Here is an example of a cover letter for a research assistant position in the health care field:

Sarah Fleming
Kitchener, ON
123-456-7890
SarahFleming@email.com

September 29, 2021

Nancy Smith
Healthy Living Medicine Inc.
111 High Street
Kitchener, ON N2G 2A2

Dear Ms. Smith,

I am writing to apply for a research assistant position at Healthy Living Medicine Inc. I am a clinical researcher with extensive experience in laboratory trials. This position interests me greatly and I am confident I can be a valuable asset to your team. I share the same passion that Healthy Living Medicine Inc. has for developing efficient and healthier medicines and supplements.

I have over four years of laboratory experience and a master's degree in biology. I am familiar with trial protocols and, as previous supervisors and coworkers can verify, I know the importance of interacting with trial subjects compassionately and patiently. In my previous role at Forest Grove University, I developed skills in data management and analytics.

The work that Healthy Living Medicine Inc. does interests me greatly, especially their dedication to finding medication with less serious side effects. I see your company as an excellent long-term fit for me, as I know my skills and experience can help with your research.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Please reach me by phone or email if you have questions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Sarah Fleming

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