A good research assistant cover letter focuses on how you can help conduct experiments or surveys for the organization that posted the job. Use your letter to show research-related skills like data gathering, report writing, laboratory analysis, or complex problem-solving.

This guide will help you write a cover letter that gets you interviews for your next job as a research assistant.

Research Assistant Cover Letter Templates and Examples

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How To Write a Research Assistant Cover Letter

Your research assistant cover letter should usually have five sections in this order:

1. Heading

At the top of the page, include:

  • Your name and contact information
  • The date
  • The recipient’s name, title, organization, and contact information (when available)

(Note: Feel free to omit this section if you send your letter by email and your contact details are part of your signature.)

Example


Jacob Stanton
Junior Research Assistant | [email protected] | (503) 555-4512 | 3434 Julip St., Portland, OR 97267

October 9, 2024

Sarah Hibbins
Human Resources Manager
Contemplative Inc.
(503) 555-1212
[email protected]

2. Salutation

If you can’t find the recipient’s name, use a variation of “Dear Hiring Manager.”

Examples


Dear Mr. Greene:

Dear Critical Learning Institute Manager:

3. “Hook” or introduction

Catch the reader’s attention by citing an achievement from your resume or a key credential the employer seeks in applicants.

Example


One of my proudest moments last year was studying how synovitis, when treated with anti-inflammatory polysaccharides, resulted in a 36% decrease in rheumatoid arthritis. As a senior research assistant at Westfield College, this success was featured on the cover of Arthritis & Rheumatology as a “breakthrough therapy.” I believe similar results could be achieved if I were chosen as your new senior research assistant at Lakeview University.

4. Body paragraph(s)

Explain why the job or employer interests you. Then, cite a few more of your key achievements or qualifications, possibly using bullet points.

Example


During my over two years at Therapeutic Circle, I have improved the efficiency of their data collection system by 52% using the IBM SPSS Statistics platform to optimize production. I enjoy building innovative systems that use the latest subgroup variation techniques. Some of my other achievements include:

  • Reporting: Decreased reporting needed by reconfiguring quantitative protocols, saving $75,000 in overall testing costs in 2020
  • Development: Developed system using Python and JavaScript to efficiently troubleshoot production quality code and reduce user interface (UI) costs by 67%
  • Training: Assistant trainer for 25 staff members attending Code Documentation class

5. Closing

Finally, request an interview for the position.

Example


I look forward to discussing how my complex problem-solving, critical thinking, and writing skills would be beneficial to your company. Feel free to contact me at your convenience to schedule an interview.

Best regards,

Justin Stewart

Research Assistant Cover Letter Tips

1. Show you can help test theories or gather data

Start your letter strong with a clear example of your success as a research assistant. If possible, this highlight should reflect your experience in forms of inquiry or investigation similar to those you’re now pursuing.

Example


Discovering how positive reinforcement techniques increased the therapeutic benefits of dopamine by 72% was one of my proudest moments as a junior research assistant last year. My supervisor said my testing methods and reward pathway computations were invaluable to the team. I believe these same skills could be beneficial to Contemplative Inc. if I joined your company as the new junior research assistant.

2. Explain why you’re drawn to the opportunity

On a separate document or sheet of paper, take 10 minutes to brainstorm why this research job or employer interests you. For instance, maybe the role centers on preparing data for publication, an area in which you excel. Or maybe the facility performs studies or experiments that spark your curiosity. Also, consider how the organization’s research mission or approach compares to your own.

When you’re done brainstorming, review your notes: Do any stand out as important or persuasive? Take another 10 minutes to brainstorm and elaborate on them. Repeat this process until you have two or three concise sentences that speak to the job opening. By adding these to your cover letter, you can show hiring managers you read their job posting and are responding to it directly.

Example


Your organization has been at the forefront of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-focused education. For over seven years, I have led our research team to develop STEM competency requirements, quality control procedures, and curriculum reviews.

3. Highlight your other research skills

Add a short list of bullet points to show your success in other key work areas for a research assistant. With this section you can give more examples of your conducting experiments, surveys, interviews, or data analysis. Cite data and metrics to show the value of your contributions to research projects and studies.

Example


Some of my recent accomplishments include:

  • Leadership: Team leader who spearheaded the creation of a statistical data library to improve reading and writing testing methods for K-12 students
  • Recognition: Published 20 articles in Social Science Research and received several accolades from peers regarding quantitative methods for integrative learning
  • Coordination: Managed survey rollout for Consortium for the Study of Leadership and Ethics in Education (CSLEE) conference in 2021

Research Assistant Text-Only Cover Letter Templates and Examples

  • Entry-Level
  • Mid-Career
  • Senior-Level

Justin Stewart
Research Assistant | [email protected] | (503) 555-1895 | 2367 Sage St., Portland, OR 97267

October 9, 2024

David Greene
HR Manager
Critical Learning Institute
(503) 555-9924
[email protected]

Dear Mr. Greene,

One of my top achievements in 2020 was streamlining needs assessment data in order to launch a new adaptive learning platform and increase enrollment by 60%. As a Research Assistant at Aspiring Minds, I understand how well executed Agile methodologies ensure an optimal learning experience. I believe similar results could be achieved at the Critical Learning Institute if I were chosen as your new Research Assistant.

Your organization has been in the forefront of STEM focused education. For over seven years, I have led our research team to develop STEM competency requirements, quality control procedures, and curriculum reviews. Some of my recent accomplishments include:

  • Leadership: Team leader who spearheaded the creation of a statistical data library to improve reading and writing testing methods for K-12 students
  • Recognition: Published 20 articles in Social Science Research, and received several accolades from peers regarding quantitative methods for integrative learning
  • Coordination: Managed survey rollout for CSLEE conference in 2021

I look forward to discussing how my complex problem-solving, critical thinking, and writing skills would be beneficial for your company. Feel free to contact me at your convenience to schedule an interview.

Best regards,

Justin Stewart

P.S. — It would be great to tell you how reorganizing our strategic data projects fast-tracked our entrepreneurial spirit program.

Research Assistant Cover Letter Frequently Asked Questions

Do I really need a cover letter for my job search?-

Yes, in most cases. Job postings today usually require or allow you to send a cover letter along with your resume or curriculum vitae (CV). While not every hiring manager reads or prioritizes them, a well-crafted letter can only help you stand out from other applicants. It will also clarify what points to emphasize during the interview.

What’s the most important part of a cover letter?-

Any explanation you give for why the specific job opening or employer interests you. These details distinguish the cover letter from your other application materials and can help you get past applicant tracking systems. They also set the stage for a good interview discussion about how you fit the role and the organization’s work culture.

How long should my cover letter be?-

No more than one page, or around 250 words. Unlike a resume or CV, the cover letter is bound by pretty strict expectations for page length. Resist the urge to tell your whole career story, even if you have an extensive background as a research assistant. Give just enough detail to pique hiring managers’ interest so they take a closer look at your application.

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