Research Assistant Cover Letter Example (Free Guide)

Create an research assistant cover letter that lands you the interview with our free examples and writing tips. use and customize our template and land an interview today..

Research Assistant Cover Letter Example

Are you interested in applying for a research assistant position? Writing the perfect cover letter should be at the top of your priority list. Our Research Assistant Cover Letter Guide will provide you with the necessary tips and advice to ensure your cover letter makes an impact and stands out from the competition.

We will cover:

  • How to write a cover letter, no matter your industry or job title.
  • What to put on a cover letter to stand out.
  • The top skills employers from every industry want to see.
  • How to build a cover letter fast with our professional Cover Letter Builder .
  • What a cover letter template is, and why you should use it.

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Research Assistant Cover Letter Sample

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Dear [Hiring Manager],

I am writing to apply for the position of Research Assistant at [Company Name], as advertised on [Job Posting Website]. With my research experience and ability to work both independently and collaboratively, I am confident that I am the ideal candidate for this role.

I hold a Bachelor’s degree in [Field of Study] and am currently working towards a Master’s degree in [Field of Study] with a focus on [Area of Focus]. During my studies, I have gained the solid foundation of knowledge and technical skills necessary to excel in this role, including data analysis, literature review, and quantitative research.

In my current role as a Research Assistant at [Organization], I have had the opportunity to work on a variety of research projects. I have used qualitative and quantitative research methods to develop research questions, analyze data, and produce meaningful insights. I am also experienced in conducting interviews, writing reports, and presenting research results.

I am an organized and detail-oriented individual with strong problem-solving skills and an ability to think critically. I am also an effective communicator with excellent interpersonal skills, which allows me to work with a diverse range of people. I am comfortable working both independently and as part of a team, and I am confident that I can contribute to the success of your research projects.

I am excited at the prospect of working with [Company Name] and would be delighted to be given the opportunity to do so. I am available for an interview at any time and can be reached at [Phone Number] or [Email Address]. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely, [Your Name]

Why Do you Need a Research Assistant Cover Letter?

Writing a Research Assistant cover letter is an important step in your job search and helps you stand out from other applicants. It showcases your best qualifications and highlights the unique value you can bring to the role. Here are some reasons why you need a Research Assistant cover letter:

  • It gives you an opportunity to explain why you are the best candidate for the job.
  • It allows you to elaborate on the research experience and skills you have gained to date.
  • It shows the employer that you are serious about the job and committed to doing a great job.
  • It gives you a chance to showcase your knowledge of the company and the research field you are applying for.
  • It helps you to stand out from the competition by highlighting your unique qualifications and experience.
  • It allows you to express your enthusiasm for the position and the research field.

A Few Important Rules To Keep In Mind

  • Be sure to address your letter to the appropriate person. If a name is not provided, contact the company to determine the hiring manager’s name.
  • Open your letter with an enthusiastic and professional salutation.
  • Explain why you are writing. Include the position you are applying for and how you heard about it.
  • Highlight your qualifications that make you a good fit for the job. Mention specific skills and experience from your background that make you an ideal candidate.
  • Make connections between your qualifications and the role. Show how your skills and experience are transferable to the job.
  • Close your letter with an expression of appreciation and a call to action.
  • Proofread your letter carefully. Have someone else read it as well for a second opinion.
  • Include a professional signature at the end of your letter.

What's The Best Structure For Research Assistant Cover Letters?

After creating an impressive Research Assistant resume , the next step is crafting a compelling cover letter to accompany your job applications. It's essential to remember that your cover letter should maintain a formal tone and follow a recommended structure. But what exactly does this structure entail, and what key elements should be included in a Research Assistant cover letter? Let's explore the guidelines and components that will make your cover letter stand out.

Key Components For Research Assistant Cover Letters:

  • Your contact information, including the date of writing
  • The recipient's details, such as the company's name and the name of the addressee
  • A professional greeting or salutation, like "Dear Mr. Levi,"
  • An attention-grabbing opening statement to captivate the reader's interest
  • A concise paragraph explaining why you are an excellent fit for the role
  • Another paragraph highlighting why the position aligns with your career goals and aspirations
  • A closing statement that reinforces your enthusiasm and suitability for the role
  • A complimentary closing, such as "Regards" or "Sincerely," followed by your name
  • An optional postscript (P.S.) to add a brief, impactful note or mention any additional relevant information.

Cover Letter Header

A header in a cover letter should typically include the following information:

  • Your Full Name: Begin with your first and last name, written in a clear and legible format.
  • Contact Information: Include your phone number, email address, and optionally, your mailing address. Providing multiple methods of contact ensures that the hiring manager can reach you easily.
  • Date: Add the date on which you are writing the cover letter. This helps establish the timeline of your application.

It's important to place the header at the top of the cover letter, aligning it to the left or center of the page. This ensures that the reader can quickly identify your contact details and know when the cover letter was written.

Cover Letter Greeting / Salutation

A greeting in a cover letter should contain the following elements:

  • Personalized Salutation: Address the hiring manager or the specific recipient of the cover letter by their name. If the name is not mentioned in the job posting or you are unsure about the recipient's name, it's acceptable to use a general salutation such as "Dear Hiring Manager" or "Dear [Company Name] Recruiting Team."
  • Professional Tone: Maintain a formal and respectful tone throughout the greeting. Avoid using overly casual language or informal expressions.
  • Correct Spelling and Title: Double-check the spelling of the recipient's name and ensure that you use the appropriate title (e.g., Mr., Ms., Dr., or Professor) if applicable. This shows attention to detail and professionalism.

For example, a suitable greeting could be "Dear Ms. Johnson," or "Dear Hiring Manager," depending on the information available. It's important to tailor the greeting to the specific recipient to create a personalized and professional tone for your cover letter.

Cover Letter Introduction

An introduction for a cover letter should capture the reader's attention and provide a brief overview of your background and interest in the position. Here's how an effective introduction should look:

  • Opening Statement: Start with a strong opening sentence that immediately grabs the reader's attention. Consider mentioning your enthusiasm for the job opportunity or any specific aspect of the company or organization that sparked your interest.
  • Brief Introduction: Provide a concise introduction of yourself and mention the specific position you are applying for. Include any relevant background information, such as your current role, educational background, or notable achievements that are directly related to the position.
  • Connection to the Company: Demonstrate your knowledge of the company or organization and establish a connection between your skills and experiences with their mission, values, or industry. Showcasing your understanding and alignment with their goals helps to emphasize your fit for the role.
  • Engaging Hook: Consider including a compelling sentence or two that highlights your unique selling points or key qualifications that make you stand out from other candidates. This can be a specific accomplishment, a relevant skill, or an experience that demonstrates your value as a potential employee.
  • Transition to the Body: Conclude the introduction by smoothly transitioning to the main body of the cover letter, where you will provide more detailed information about your qualifications, experiences, and how they align with the requirements of the position.

By following these guidelines, your cover letter introduction will make a strong first impression and set the stage for the rest of your application.

Cover Letter Body

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am writing to apply for the position of Research Assistant, as advertised on [insert job board]. With over [insert years] of experience as a Research Assistant, I am confident that I am the ideal candidate for this role.

I have a strong academic background in [insert relevant subject], and have gained extensive experience of conducting research and data analysis in a laboratory setting. I am highly organized and efficient in my approach to research, and have a keen eye for detail. I am also highly motivated and able to work independently, as well as part of a team.

I am particularly experienced in the areas of [insert relevant areas], and have a proven track record of producing accurate and reliable research results. I have excellent communication skills, and am confident in presenting my research findings in a variety of ways. I also have a comprehensive knowledge of [insert relevant software packages], and am able to quickly learn and become proficient in any new software.

I am confident that I can make a valuable contribution to your research team, and am available to discuss my application further in an interview. Please find attached my CV, which contains further details of my qualifications and experience.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

[insert name]

Complimentary Close

The conclusion and signature of a cover letter provide a final opportunity to leave a positive impression and invite further action. Here's how the conclusion and signature of a cover letter should look:

  • Summary of Interest: In the conclusion paragraph, summarize your interest in the position and reiterate your enthusiasm for the opportunity to contribute to the organization or school. Emphasize the value you can bring to the role and briefly mention your key qualifications or unique selling points.
  • Appreciation and Gratitude: Express appreciation for the reader's time and consideration in reviewing your application. Thank them for the opportunity to be considered for the position and acknowledge any additional materials or documents you have included, such as references or a portfolio.
  • Call to Action: Conclude the cover letter with a clear call to action. Indicate your availability for an interview or express your interest in discussing the opportunity further. Encourage the reader to contact you to schedule a meeting or provide any additional information they may require.
  • Complimentary Closing: Choose a professional and appropriate complimentary closing to end your cover letter, such as "Sincerely," "Best Regards," or "Thank you." Ensure the closing reflects the overall tone and formality of the letter.
  • Signature: Below the complimentary closing, leave space for your handwritten signature. Sign your name in ink using a legible and professional style. If you are submitting a digital or typed cover letter, you can simply type your full name.
  • Typed Name: Beneath your signature, type your full name in a clear and readable font. This allows for easy identification and ensures clarity in case the handwritten signature is not clear.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Research Assistant Cover Letter

When crafting a cover letter, it's essential to present yourself in the best possible light to potential employers. However, there are common mistakes that can hinder your chances of making a strong impression. By being aware of these pitfalls and avoiding them, you can ensure that your cover letter effectively highlights your qualifications and stands out from the competition. In this article, we will explore some of the most common mistakes to avoid when writing a cover letter, providing you with valuable insights and practical tips to help you create a compelling and impactful introduction that captures the attention of hiring managers. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting your career journey, understanding these mistakes will greatly enhance your chances of success in the job application process. So, let's dive in and discover how to steer clear of these common missteps and create a standout cover letter that gets you noticed by potential employers.

  • Not tailoring the cover letter to the specific position.
  • Using a generic salutation such as "To whom it may concern."
  • Using overly casual language and slang.
  • Making typos and spelling mistakes.
  • Failing to proofread the cover letter for errors.
  • Stating that you need a job instead of how you can help the employer.
  • Failing to demonstrate enthusiasm for the position.
  • Including irrelevant information.
  • Using overly formal language.
  • Failing to provide concrete examples of your skills.

Key Takeaways For a Research Assistant Cover Letter

  • Highlight your research experience and skills, including familiarity with academic databases and research methods.
  • Showcase your ability to effectively communicate the results of your research.
  • Demonstrate your ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Mention any relevant awards or recognitions you have earned.
  • Include any specialized research software that you are proficient with.
  • Be sure to proofread your letter for errors and typos.
  • Premed Research

Research Assistant Cover Letter: The Ultimate Guide

Research Assistant Cover Letter

You should never underestimate the power of a good research assistant cover letter. Whether you are seeking to gain some research experience to bolster your applications for medical school and MD-PhD programs or seeking to get a coveted research assistant position, your cover letter is one of the key components of your application.

Research assistant cover letters can be tricky to write, but I'm going to guide you through this process. In this blog, you will learn why a cover letter is important, how to write your research assistant cover letter, learn tips to make your cover letter stand out, and get to read cover letter samples, including one with no research experience! Whether you're a premed or not, this ultimate guide will help you get your desired research position.

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

Listen to the blog!

Article Contents 17 min read

Why get involved in research.

Research is certainly one of the ways to build up your medical school application and impress the admissions committees with your extracurriculars for medical school . However, it is also your chance to build up professional skills and knowledge in the field of your interest. Admission committees appreciate applicants with a research background because these students demonstrate interest in actively shaping medical and scientific progress.

Since the research process is challenging and enriching, these students develop critical thinking skills and confidence to challenge the status quo. Research fosters patience and stamina. It provides freedom to experiment and a space for constructive criticism. If you are looking to gain research experience, do not limit your search to strictly medical positions. Pursue disciplines that interest you. Research skills can often be transferred to a variety of fields.

Unique research experiences will also make you stand out in your medical school applications. As you might already know, one of the most common medical school interview questions  you’ll be asked is how you can contribute to the diversity of the incoming class – research is your chance to add another unique experience to your application.

Research experience is highly valued by some of the top medical schools in the world. For example, over 90% of Ivy League medical schools’ matriculants have research experience. According to the latest data, 99% of  Stanford Medical School  matriculants have research and lab experience. Research is especially valuable if you are looking at MD-PhD programs.

Firstly, you should always send a cover letter in addition to your CV as part of your job or volunteer application, unless otherwise expressed by the recruiter. Even if you have had the chance to explain your motivation for applying in the application form or email, you should still include a separate cover letter. This letter is an additional opportunity to present yourself as the perfect candidate for the research position.

The primary goal of a research assistant cover letter is to intrigue your potential employer enough to invite you to an interview. Whether you’re an experienced researcher or an undergraduate student looking for research experience, your cover letter is the “face” of your application. Most likely, your cover letter will be the first document your potential colleagues read about you. A perfect research assistant cover letter should include the following:

Your cover letter must compel the reader to read your CV and other application components, if applicable. "}]' code='timeline3'>

Simply put, your cover letter should explain why you are the most suitable candidate for the position. Your letter must demonstrate how you meet the criteria for the research position and what makes you a unique candidate. Additionally, this letter is your chance to show off your communication and language skills. Remember, research reports require the ability to articulate clearly and succinctly. Your strong technical research abilities must be accompanied by excellent verbal and written communication skills.

How to Write Your Cover Letter

Let’s examine what steps you need to take to create an outstanding research assistant cover letter.

Research the Position

First and foremost, when you write a cover letter for a research assistant position, you must know exactly what the position entails, what expectations your potential colleagues have of the new hire, and how this research position might develop in the future.

If you found a position as a job posting, it would certainly be wise to study the job description closely. It usually gives you some important, albeit surface, information. You can start by carefully studying the position summary, duties and responsibilities, qualifications, requirements, etc. However, this is usually not enough. Whether you found this position as a job posting or not, it is important to do your research.

Your cover letter needs to show that you are the best possible match for this research position. The job description you have found can only give you so much. You need to find out how your research interests match with this institution’s research program, what the recruiters are really looking for, and how it can help you in your future career as a medical professional or a researcher.

Start by researching the institution or department you’re applying to online. Research their programs, their research profile, and the research interests of their staff. Often you can find important information about the institution’s latest research ranking and their research projects on their website. It could also be interesting to read reviews written by people who have worked in the institution to which you’re applying. Do take these with a grain of salt, but some of these reviews can give you insights into the program’s expectations.

Another way to find out more information about the position is to contact the institution or the department. There is usually someone who can answer your questions, such as an administrative assistant, recruiter, or someone directly involved in the research project. They will be happy to answer any questions you might have about the job, the department, or the institution.

Avoid asking specific questions that will be covered in an interview such as “how much does the job pay” as this will send the impression that you're only interested in the position for the pay, and not because it's what you really want to do. Calling to inquire about the job may also make your name stand out among dozens of applicants for this position. The recruiters may make a note that you personally called and showed enthusiasm about the job.

Before you call, make sure you prepare a list of questions. Beware that your phone call may turn into an unofficial interview, especially if you talk to someone involved in the research process. Be ready to speak about yourself in relation to the position and prepare to answer some of the most common interview questions like “ Tell me about yourself ?”, “why do you want to work with us?” and so on. These are common introductory questions that allow the interviewer to get some insights about you as a potential colleague.

If you are a current undergraduate student, you can also try speaking to your classmates and any TAs you know who may have worked in the research lab you are applying to. You can ask them what they enjoyed and what they found challenging about the work, allowing you to learn from a first-person perspective what it is like to work in that lab.

It might seem like a lot of work, but researching the position, the institution, faculty, and staff will give you a competitive edge. Whoever reads your research assistant cover letter and CV will be able to tell the depth of your research. Your dedication and curiosity will really show in your application and distinguish you as a serious applicant from the rest of the hopefuls. It is also great preparation for the interview stage.

A research position cover letter should be no longer than a page. Your language must be succinct and clear. You must be able to demonstrate that you can express your ideas fluently and clearly – do not use informal language or include any fluff. Your cover letter is not the place to give a detailed account of every research position you have held.

Remember, your letter may go through several readers and not all of them may be researchers, so do not use overly technical language. Your letter must capture the interest of any reader, while further details of your research experiences and education can be included in your CV. If you want to accompany your cover letter with a stellar CV, check out our blog on how to write a CV for graduate school .

For your cover letter, use a classic font such as Times New Roman or Calibri sized 11 or 12 and break your letter into paragraphs. This order of paragraphs is not set in stone, but it may give you some ideas about how to structure your letter:

Remind the reader why you are a good fit for this job and restate your interest in the position. "}]'>

Are you planning to apply to medical school? Check out how research can help you:

How to Stand Out in Your Research Position Cover Letter

When you prepare your cover letter, you need to reflect on what makes you a unique candidate for the research position to which you’re applying. To do this, think about what may differentiate you from the competition and try to anticipate what other candidates may offer.

First of all, try to analyze and have a clear understanding of your depth of expertise in this field. Do you have a high research profile? Have you had much research experience in this field? If your answer is yes, then it might be a good point to include in your cover letter. Perhaps you have demonstrated passion for this research field, and you want to commit your future to this area of research? Or maybe you want to stay and work in this particular institution? Perhaps you completed your undergraduate degree there and know the ins-and-outs of their labs? Try to think of yourself in relation to the position, your potential colleagues, and the department. You might find more connections upon a deeper inspection.

Another great selling point is your ability to access research and funding networks and organizations. If you have had success in applying to and receiving research grants or organizing fundraisers for your research projects, be sure to include this in your cover letter. A colleague who can increase funding for a research project is an invaluable addition to any team.

If you do not have a strong research background in this field, do not worry. Try to think of your personal research experience – do you have a diverse background? Does your particular blend of experiences give you a unique perspective? If you have had research experience in a variety of disciplines, it might be your competitive edge!

What if you have not had the chance to gain research experience? Maybe you have had a limited amount of opportunities for research? You can talk about this in your cover letter by expressing enthusiasm to be exposed to research. In this case, try to focus on your biggest successes and most relevant qualities. You might possess a qualification that would be highly relevant to this research position even if you’ve never had a serious research experience. Have your abilities to multitask been praised by previous employers? Have you received awards for teaching excellence? Are you particularly skilled with technology and computer software? All these qualities and accomplishments may help you impress the reader. Try to market yourself, your skills, and qualifications in relation to the position – you might have something other applicants don’t.

How to Look for Research Positions if You Have Little to No Experience

If you have little to no research experience, but want this experience for your medical school application or to be eligible to apply for a research position you really want – here are some tips:

1. If you’re out of school, finding out about research positions and opportunities is quite difficult. Oftentimes, research positions are not posted externally. Even within the institution, professors and PIs tend to select students they have taught to help them in their research projects.

With this said, there are things you can do to search for these opportunities. One of the most common ways to find a research position is to email professors in the departments you would like to join as a researcher. Whether you are still a student or a graduate, explain in your email that you want to volunteer in the lab. Do not mention money – state clearly that you want to gain research experience. Without experience, a paying research position is almost impossible to get. Start as a volunteer and see where it takes you.

  • Your cover letter should include your most recent successes. Talk about your most recent or current jobs.
  • You should present evidence that would support your relevancy for the position in the first half of the letter. Support your pertinent qualifications with examples of achievements from your previous or current roles (i.e. awards, distinctions, publications, etc.).
  • Illustrate your successes with brief but solid examples, explaining why you would be a good fit for this position.
  • Concentrate on achievements and qualities that make you unique, rather than simply listing the job description’s criteria.
  • Your cover letter should indicate that you spent much time researching the position, the faculty, and the institution. Demonstrate how well you know the role and the research context when explaining your career motivations.
  • Ensure your letter is error-free and clearly written. A grammatically correct and succinct letter is professional and shows the reader you are capable of communicating effectively in writing.

Things to Avoid in Your Research Assistant Cover Letter

  • Do not summarize your CV or give too much detail. Remember, the reviewer already has your CV so it's not appropriate to list items that are available elsewhere in your application. You must be selective about the qualifications and responsibilities you emphasize.
  • Do not leave out examples when you make statements about the relevancy of your skills and experiences.
  • Never send the same cover letter to more than one employer. Do not cut and paste from one letter to another. Your reader will be able to tell your lack of research and career focus.
  • Do not use jargon and overly technical vocabulary. You might want to come off as a knowledgeable candidate for this position but try to stick to a professional tone and language as much as possible.
  • Do not concentrate your cover letter on what the employer can do for you. Instead, focus on what you can do for the employer and the research project.
  • Do not make statements that are too general. For example, do not say “I’ve always wanted to work in this research field” – rather, show that you have worked in this research area and that you are passionate about this field. Do not write that you want to work for this institution or with this PI because they are famous all over the world. You must include other reasons for wanting to work with them. Searching for validation might make the wrong impression and eliminate you from the competition.

Some Important Don'ts for Research Assistant Cover Letters:

Do not make statements that are too general "}]' code='timeline2'>

Research Assistant Cover Letter Sample #1

Dear Dr. Smith,

With this letter and enclosed CV, I would like to express my strong interest in the Research Assistant position you have available in the X department. I am a recent master’s graduate with experience in facilitating successful clinical trials. My graduate research involved working with clinicians and patient populations. Before my master’s, I graduated from a premed program at X university with the highest honors.

This research assistant position is a perfect combination of my educational background and my clinical experience. During my master’s degree, not only was I able to read, analyze, and interpret information from professional journals, technical procedures, and government regulations, but I also participated in clinical procedures directed by my PI, Dr. John Johnson. I completed and maintained case report forms as per FDA guidelines and reviewed them against the patient’s medical record for completeness and accuracy. I was heavily involved in assisting my superiors with the clinical process. I collected, processed, and shipped blood and urine specimens at scheduled patients’ visits. I was in charge of ensuring that all laboratory results were given to appropriate doctors for review of clinical significance, then filed the results in the patient study binder. My dedication to research and my team earned me the Research Assistant Excellence Award. Today, I am still in touch with my PI and my colleagues, with whom I have maintained professional and friendly ties. After recently graduating from my master’s degree, I am looking to apply my skills and knowledge to your research project.

Aside from learning a set of clinical and laboratory skills, working in research has trained my other competencies. My research position involved working in a team of researchers from different disciplines and nationalities. This experience significantly improved my ability to communicate as I often found myself explaining complex concepts to people outside of the medical field. Working with such an international team taught me to problem-solve and find quick solutions. For example, one aspect of the project involved collaborating with team members in Japan. We had a hard time communicating due to the time difference. I suggested to my colleagues and PI that we create a message board online where we could quickly ask questions and send documents back and forth; this board was available both on mobiles and computers, allowing for easier communication between our two teams at any time. This initiative improved our productivity and speed, as well as allowed us to quickly communicate practical solutions to any problems that came up during research. This successful collaboration resulted in the university funding our research project for one more year.

My interests and responsibilities outside of research would also make great contributions to your team. I am particularly impressed with your Institution’s commitment to improving patient experience in deprived communities. As an active volunteer at my local Street Heath Community Clinic, your dedication to providing healthcare to all in need is very inspiring. I am also drawn to your department's interdisciplinary approach. As a master's graduate, I learned the value of combining academic and clinical research. I know from experience that thinking beyond your discipline will only improve your research approach and results.

I am confident that my clinical research experience, my in-depth educational background, and interests make me an ideal match for this position. I would appreciate any opportunity to discuss my expertise in more detail at the interview and I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Author’s signature

What makes this cover letter strong:

1. Uses a personal address.

2. States right away that his/her educational and research background are relevant.

3. Gives solid descriptions of his/her duties, experiences, and successes in the most recent research project.

4. Uses specific examples to show his/her soft skills, including superb communication skills.

5. Mentions that he/she was able to secure extra funding for a research project.

6. Includes interests outside of research that make him/her relevant to this institution.

7. Restates his/her interest and shows confidence in closing remarks.

Research Assistant Cover Letter Sample #2 (No Research Experience)

Dear Dr. Roe,

I am writing to you regarding the Research Assistant position available at the Biological Sciences department at X University. As a second-year pre-medical student at X University, I strive to gain in-depth, comprehensive research experience, and the position of an assistant in your research project may become my stepping stone into the world of scientific discovery and progress. I am certain that my academic and professional experiences make me the perfect candidate for this research position.  

Research demands high attention to detail and accuracy. As a sophomore student majoring in biochemistry, I understand the great responsibility of scientific research. I have been exposed to the intricate nature of scientific discovery and trained to think like a future researcher. Not only have I achieved grades in the 80th percentile in all my premed courses, but my lab experiences have taught me how to build a hypothesis and develop a method of inquiry. During lab work, experiments did not always work the first time. I sought feedback from my supervisor about how to refine my technique, always striving for better results. My attention to detail allowed me to reach great heights in my premed coursework and I am ready to apply the skills I have learned to a serious research project.

My interests and competencies reach beyond academia and can help me become a valuable member of your research team. As a member of the student council at X University over the last two years, I am in charge of developing successful state and federal grant applications. Last year, I was successful in obtaining a municipal grant that was used to renovate computer labs in the Y building on our campus. Additionally, my organizational skills are further demonstrated by the fundraising events I have helped organize with the student body. While research demands high levels of scientific expertise and knowledge, research also requires paperwork and financial support from the state – my background can help advance our research in this regard. 

While I have not had the chance to participate in professional research, I have substantial professional experience in keeping records and updating databases while working as an assistant to my mother in our family's grocery store. In addition to working with numbers at the till, I was in charge of keeping records of deliveries. This responsibility taught me to keep neat and accurate records while working with a lot of information – a skill that’s greatly valuable while documenting the research process and findings. 

Working at the grocery has also trained my ability to interact and get along with a variety of people. Through cooperating with people of different languages and cultures, I developed outstanding comprehension and communication skills, which help me not only in my academic work but also in my personal life. Research is not a lonely endeavor – rather, it is a cooperative effort where communication and patience are key. My professional background will certainly make me a suitable member of any research team, and I would be honored if you gave me a chance to showcase my talents.   

I look forward to discussing my candidacy with you further. If you would like any additional information that will help me gain this position, please let me know. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Author’s Signature

Check out our video for a quick recap:

In truth, the recruiter may decide to go with a candidate with more research experience than you. However, your cover letter is exactly the place where you can address any lack of experiences found in your resume or CV. This letter is an opportunity to reinforce yourself as a candidate, rather than highlight your flaws.

If you do not have specific research experience appropriate for the position, perhaps you can augment your candidacy by demonstrating other qualities that your recruiter is seeking for in their potential colleague. For example, you can demonstrate that you are a fast learner with experience in reading and analyzing complex information, or that you have experience in organizing and executing fundraising activities.

A cover letter is your chance to be more than a list of experiences and accomplishments. You can make them come alive and describe how they are relevant to the specific position to which you’re applying. CVs can be a few pages long, it's a lot of information for reviewers to sift through. Instead, they prefer an easy to read, one-page document that summarizes an applicant’s main accomplishments, experiences, and overall suitability for the role. Keep in mind that hiring departments may not even review your CV if they are not first impressed by your cover letter.

Your cover letter is an addition to your CV, and you need to show you can concisely focus on the strongest experiences you have had. A well-written cover letter demonstrates your ability to write and prioritize information clearly, which is something you must do as a researcher. Even though most job criteria have more than 3 qualities or skills they look for, it is important to stay succinct in your cover letter.

Remember, you cannot just list the skills but must show that you have them by using concrete examples of encounters and interactions you have had. Including examples will limit the number of skills you can include in your cover letter to a maximum of 3, as it is usually not possible to talk about more than 3 in any detail at all. So, reflect on your experiences and pick a maximum of 3 that you have solid examples for.

Your cover letter must be easy to follow and easy to read. Consider ordering your experiences in chronological order so the reader can follow the timeline of events easily. Include your most recent experiences.

Brainstorming experiences, creating an outline, writing, revising, and finalizing your cover letter may take a while, so think about giving yourself at least 1 week. Pay attention to the deadline to submit your job application and give yourself enough time.

Once you have created an outline and thought up experiences, you want to write your body paragraphs first, using a few sentences to describe each experience and what you gained from it that will contribute to this research position. You can then write succinct concluding and opening paragraphs. You want to ensure you read through your cover letter at least twice and correct any instances of unclear phrasing. Your first revision should be designed to change any wording or examples that are not as effective. Your second revision should finalize all the elements of your cover letter and include a check of grammar and fix any typos.

No, they don’t! You could have picked up relevant skills for a research position through academic experiences, but also through extracurriculars, volunteering, other work, or even personal experiences. For example, playing on a sports team teaches you a lot about perseverance, reliability, and teamwork. You can definitely include these types of experiences if you feel they are relevant.

To get an idea of what kind of experiences you should include, start by looking at the job posting. The job description should indicate the main criteria the recruiters are looking for in their candidates. Make a list of all the examples you can think of that relate to those criteria, and then choose a few that best highlight a variety of skills. Make sure to include the most recent examples in your cover letter.

If you’re an undergraduate student, start looking for research positions in your school. They may be posted in science department classrooms, on the departments' website pages, or around the lab spaces. It's also important to pay attention to your professors, perhaps they have mentioned that they are involved in a research project right now and are looking for a student assistant. If you're unsure, don't be afraid to ask them if they are looking for any help.

If you’re no longer a student, you can always reach out to your past professors and ask if they need any help with research. Make inquiries in local medical centers, hospitals, and other institutions. You will need to explain your situation and ask if they are looking for any help. Be aware that many entry-level positions are not paid well. Sometimes you may be required to help for free, but this will all depend on the position. If you have volunteered or shadowed a physician, you should reach out to them and ask if they are involved in research and could use your help.

If you are a serious researcher, you can look for research positions on job websites. These positions usually require an in-depth research background. If you are simply looking to gain some experience to build up your medical school applications, this option may not be for you. Some research projects last years and med schools can be skeptical of applicants who spend too much time on research and not enough time gaining clinical experience. They might wonder how well you will transition to patient interaction and clinical work.

You should avoid using any funky fonts, colors, or formatting in your cover letter. It is a professional document not suitable for experiments. So, stick to the standard font types and size, professional tone, and appearance.

You can certainly include these great achievements as long as they add to the overall narrative of your cover letter. Be sure to show what kind of skills and qualities your accomplishments helped you develop. Make your achievements come alive on the page.

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sample cover letter as research assistant

Professional Research Assistant Cover Letter Example for 2023

Read for inspiration or use it as a base to improve your own Research Assistant cover letter. Just replace personal information, company application data and achievements with your own.

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Make your research assistant cover letter stand out

According to 83% of hiring managers, cover letters are an important part of every recruiter’s decision-making process.

What’s more, 72% of them will expect you to hand in a great cover letter, even if this part is listed as ‘optional’ on the job advert.

And if you ask our experts, cover letters are an amazing opportunity to tell a personal story and make the right first impression.

But what exactly is a cover letter and how to write a good one? Let’s see…

research assistant coverletter.png

So what’s the difference between a cover letter and a resume?

In short – the resume showcases your achievements and skills, while the cover letter focuses more on your personality and motivations.

Of course, you should mention some of your relevant skills in the cover letter as well. But make sure you’re not repeating your resume word by word.

Now let's move on to the things that make every cover letter great!

Use an appropriate salutation and write a powerful introduction

It’s always better to address your cover letter to a specific person. This shows that you’ve taken the time to research who the hiring manager might be and that you’re attentive to detail.

However, in case you don’t know the recruiter’s name, you can go for traditional gender-neutral salutations.

Here are some of our suggestions:

  • To the [team you're applying for] Department
  • Dear Paul Black
  • Dear Hiring Manager
  • Dear Ms. Stone

The introduction of your cover letter is the first thing the hiring manager will read. Logically, having a strong introduction is your chance of getting their attention.

In order to do that, you need to get creative. Don’t just do what everyone else’s been doing for years, i.e. writing “I found this job opening on that website and decided to apply”.

Rather, show that you are genuinely excited about the position and the company. You could do that by mentioning your love for the industry or what you can bring to the table.

Link your hard and soft skills to your achievements

Although you’ve probably listed all your skills on your resume, it’s worth mentioning them again, but by telling a personal story. Focusing on your soft skills and leaving most hard ones behind is also a good idea.

Maybe you want to mention the things that help you overcome setbacks? Or the things that help you reach your goals? It doesn’t really matter what you choose, as long as you link it back to the specific job requirements.

Naturally, if the job advert mentions some hard skills explicitly, you should do the same in your cover letter. This will help you pass applicant tracking systems (ATS) that screen resumes and cover letters for certain keywords.

Show that you know the company and its problems well

Adding a line or two about the company can help you prove your excitement and readiness to become a valuable team member.

You might also choose to link your previous work-related tasks and achievements to current industry or even company issues and how you think they can be resolved.

Choose the right closing line

While the introduction is the best way to make a good impression, using the right words to end your cover letter can help you get a callback.

Our advice is to make sure that your closing line matches the company culture. However, “Looking forward to hearing from you” and other traditional phrases are always a safe choice.

Research Assistant cover letter

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Pair your cover letter with a resume that leaves an impression

If you want to leave a long-lasting impression, pair your cover letter with an equally good resume.

Check out our Research Assistant resume examples or hire an expert to help you.

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Research Assistant Cover Letter

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  • Cover Letter

Research Assistant Cover Letter (With Examples)

If you’re vying for a rewarding and educational position as a research assistant , a compelling and properly structured cover letter will bring you one step closer to getting a job and reaching your biggest career goals .

Research assistant cover letters are a great platform for illustrating your expertise in conducting interviews, collecting data, and completing experiments and research reports. In your cover letter, your ultimate goal is to emphasize your interest and portray how you’ll be the best researcher for the job .

Whether you’re interested in becoming a researcher assisting in psychology, biochemistry, biology, atmospheric studies, biophysics, zoology, climate change, or any other scientific or academic field, you’re more than likely to encounter a lot of competition during the hiring process .

Writing a perfect cover letter to submit along with your professional resume and job application will help you stand out among a large pool of applicants and up your chances of getting hired and having a smooth employee onboarding experience.

The best research assistant cover letters reiterate and emphasize the skills and experiences listed in a standard resume or CV while also conveying a job applicant’s passion, personality, and career goals. Research assistants should aim to highlight their proficiency using laboratory equipment, experience conducting researching projects, and collecting and analyzing data.

By following a cover letter template you’ll stand-out to hiring managers and make a great first impression on renowned researchers and prospective employers.

Looking for a job? These position are hiring now near you:

  • Research Assistant
  • Student Research Assistant
  • Research Internship
  • Assistant Research Scientist
  • Graduate Research Assistant

Parts of a Research Assistant Cover Letter

A research assistant cover letter should heavily focus on an applicant’s education and practical job experience. Cover letters that highlight key qualifications as well as strong communication and analytical skills , in particular, are more often selected to advance in the application process.

Since the majority of successful research assistants hold a bachelor’s degree, highlighting education, especially from a top-tier college or research university, is essential to getting hired. Almost equally as important as relevant education, is practical work experience.

When hiring research assistants, hiring managers are searching for applicants who know how to use and maintain lab equipment, have contributed towards a variety of research projects , can collect data with minimal insight for statistical analysis, and are experienced in conducting literature reviews and documenting and interpreting research findings.

When writing your cover letter , it is imperative that you illustrate your competency with handling research-based assignments and the job-specific skills and previous experience you have that qualify you for the gig.

Tackling each part of your cover letter is a great way to ensure your most desirable skills and qualifications are explicitly highlighted and the document is properly structured and professionally written.

A research assistant cover letter is typically composed of:

A professional header.

A compelling introduction paragraph.

A dense body paragraph that focuses on education, previous experience, research and analytical skills, resume achievements, and interest in the position .

A conclusion that offers a proposal or shows why you’re the best-suited candidate for the role.

A professional signature.

Professionals applying for employment opportunities as research assistants should always double-check their cover letter before submitting their job applications. You definitely don’t want to squash your chances of getting an internship because of a few typos.

Generally, cover letters should be between three and four paragraphs long — and definitely less than one page . The business document should also be formatted with standard one-inch page margins, written in a generic font, like Times New Roman, and organized into well-structured and grammatically correct sentences and paragraphs.

Research Assistant Cover Letter Opening

The opening lines of your research assistant cover letter are your opportunity to pique a hiring manager ’s interest and make a great first impression.

Hiring managers and prospective employers usually read your cover letter before ever meeting or speaking to you, unless you're applying for a promotion , so it’s important to let your personality come across the paper and put your best foot forward.

The first paragraph of your cover letter should be impressionable and to the point.

In the opening paragraph of your research assistant cover letter, you should aim to professionally introduce yourself , state your interest in the role that you’re applying to, convey your enthusiasm, and illustrate your skill level by mentioning your degree of education or previous relevant work experience.

In addition to perfectly crafting the first few lines of your cover letter, you should also be sure to include a professional header, just as you would in any other business document, and appropriately address the hiring manager .

Here’s a great example of how a successful research assistant cover letter might begin:

Max Alexander Lead Researcher BioWorks 102 Bentley Road Oceanside, CA 92058 Dear Mr. Alexander, As an early graduate of New York University’s accelerated biology master’s program, I was excited to learn about this job opening. I am very interested in the opportunity to work as a Research Assistant at BioWorks and I hope you will agree that I am a good fit for this position. My advanced schooling and previous role as a graduate research assistant have allowed me to gain hands-on experience developing strategic research plans and proposals, working with state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, and analyzing complex data. I am confident that I have the necessary skills to find success in this role and help grow and enrich BioWorks’ mission.

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Research assistant cover letter body.

The middle few paragraphs of your cover letter are where you can truly let your skills, knowledge, and qualifications shine.

In the body of your research assistant cover letter, you should highlight your key skills and abilities, discuss specific research projects you have worked on , explain your methods of conducting research and collecting informational data and statistics, and go into detail on your knowledge of working with lab equipment and conducting experiments.

Since research assistants are tasked with assisting professors and industry professionals with important and innovative research projects, job-seekers must be highly detail-oriented, organized, and dedicated to their careers. The body paragraphs of your cover letter are a great area to emphasize these skills and call attention to other important interpersonal skills .

Before writing the body of your cover letter you should closely read the specific job posting you're applying to, and work to tailor your cover letter to the skills, qualifications, and work responsibilities listed in the ad.

Here’s a great example of what the body of a research assistant cover letter might look like:

During my previous position as a graduate research assistant at New York University, I was responsible for managing an undergraduate research team focused on conducting experiments and performing research projects in the fields of molecular biology, biosynthesis, and gene editing. This experience has given me a strong foundation in conducting critical biology research projects — including performing molecular experiments, conducting statistical tests, and overseeing ethical experimental procedures on mice. My research efforts and accomplishments as a graduate research assistant directly improved research efficiency and virtually eradicated lab errors.

Research Assistant Cover Letter Closing Lines

To wrap up your cover letter, you’ll want to tie up any loose ends, summarize your experience, skills, and passion, and close the document with a professional salutation. The conclusion of your cover letter should be clear and concise.

The best cover letters end by asking for a phone or in-person interview or showing interest in continuing the hiring process. The closing lines of a research assistant cover letter are also a great place to share a proposal you hope to implement if hired. Sharing a research proposal that’s too good to pass up can be a surefire way to pique a potential employer’s interest.

Conveying your enthusiasm for the role and thanking the hiring manager for their time spent reviewing your cover letter and job application will up your chances of getting a callback and landing an in-person job interview.

Lastly, make sure you close your research assistant cover letter with an appropriate sign-off and a professional signature that includes your contact information .

An excellent way of closing your research assistant cover letter is like this:

As a trained professional with high-level skills in researching the field of biology, I am excited at the opportunity to put my qualifications to use as a research assistant at BioWorks. If given the opportunity to join your research team, you can count on me to perform all duties with focus, integrity, and expert attention to detail . I welcome the chance to discuss this position and explain how I can offer my assistance on upcoming research projects. Thank you so much for your time and consideration. Kind regards, Elaine Smith (760) 543-8876 [email protected]

Example of a Research Assistant Cover Letter

Here’s a great example of a professional and properly formatted research assistant cover letter:

Max Alexander Lead Researcher BioWorks 102 Bentley Road Oceanside, CA 92058 Dear Mr. Alexander, As an early graduate of New York University’s accelerated biology master’s program, I was excited to learn about this job opening. I am very interested in the opportunity to work as a Research Assistant at BioWorks and I hope you will agree that I am a good fit for this position. My advanced schooling and previous role as a graduate research assistant have allowed me to gain hands-on experience developing strategic research plans and proposals, working with state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, and analyzing complex data. I am confident that I have the necessary skills to find success in this role and help grow and enrich BioWorks’ mission. During my previous position as a graduate research assistant at New York University, I was responsible for managing an undergraduate research team focused on conducting experiments and performing research projects in the fields of molecular biology, biosynthesis, and gene editing. This experience has given me a strong foundation in conducting critical biology research projects — including performing molecular experiments, conducting statistical tests, and overseeing ethical experimental procedures on mice. My research efforts and accomplishments as a graduate research assistant directly improved research efficiency and virtually eradicated lab errors. As a trained professional with high-level skills in researching the field of biology, I am excited at the opportunity to put my qualifications to use as a research assistant at BioWorks. If given the opportunity to join your research team, you can count on me to perform all duties with focus, integrity, and expert attention to detail. I welcome the chance to discuss this position and explain how I can offer my assistance on upcoming research projects. Thank you so much for your time and consideration. Kind regards, Elaine Smith (760) 543-8876 [email protected]

Tips for Writing a Research Assistant Cover Letter

At the end of the day, writing a cover letter can be quite similar across a broad range of professional industries. For a research assistant cover letter in particular, though, there are a few things you need to keep in mind in order to write a professional and compelling cover letter.

Here are the top three tips all applicants should follow in order to write an effective cover letter and land a competitive and top-notch career as a research assistant:

Focus on education. Proper education is an important prerequisite for a variety of jobs and careers, but for research assistants, it’s even more important. Research assistants must have a highly specific skill set, which can not be entirely taught on the job, so education is essential to getting hired.

With more than half of all research assistants holding a bachelor’s degree, and nearly 40 percent holding some type of post-graduate diploma, hiring managers are expecting candidates to be properly educated. Failing to disclose your level of education and expertise could mean not getting your dream job as a research assistant.

Highlight previous research experience. Although research assistants aren’t leading or independently conducting experiments and research projects, they still must be high-skilled in their craft. Since the work can be meticulous and requires very specific skill sets, hiring managers always look for previous professional research experience.

Highlighting previous research experience in your research assistant cover letter will convey your knowledge level and ability to perform well on the job.

Discuss your knowledge of lab equipment. A working and thorough knowledge of state-of-the-art laboratory equipment is one of the most sought-after skills hiring managers look for when interviewing job applicants.

Being well-versed in operating various types of laboratory equipment to ensure accurate results, preparing equipment for experiments, managing laboratory equipment inventories, allocating and maintaining proper equipment, and coordinating repairs and maintenance on laboratory equipment will help you stand out from other applicants.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to land a high-paying and rewarding position as an assistant researcher, a professional and well-written cover letter will help you put your best foot forward, get noticed, and make the hiring process a breeze.

You only get one shot at making a positive and impactful first impression in your research assistant cover letter. Conveying high-level communication, analytical, and job-specific skills — like handling lab equipment, analyzing facts and figures, managing research projects, and collecting data — is essential to getting hired as a research assistant.

Using the template and tips outlined in this article, and structuring your cover letter to emphasize your strengths and career goals, will allow you to make a solid first impression and land your dream job as a research assistant.

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How to Write a Great Research Assistant Cover Letter (Sample Included)

A step-by-step guide to writing an effective cover letter for a research position, including a full-length example.

sample cover letter as research assistant

a strong research assistant cover letter can help you secure an interview

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: understanding the purpose of a research assistant cover letter, part 3: preparing to write an undergraduate research assistant cover letter, part 4: how to get a research assistant job when there are no ra job postings, part 5: drafting an entry level research assistant cover letter, part 6: research assistant cover letter example.

(Note: While this guide was primarily written for premed students looking to prepare a research assistant cover letter, the advice also applies to students who aren’t premed.)

Becoming a strong candidate for medical school is no easy task. A high GPA and strong MCAT scores just aren’t enough to guarantee your acceptance over other highly qualified applicants. 

So, you’ve decided to gain research experience to strengthen the Work and Activities section of your application—smart choice. It’s practically a medical school requirement at this point, and applicants with at least one year of research experience are more likely to be considered by noteworthy programs.

You’ve searched your university’s science department websites and found a page listing various research opportunities. After reading a few lab descriptions, one completely captivated your attention.

This lab focuses on the area of medicine you’re hoping to specialize in. And, as a research assistant, you’d have the opportunity to contribute to important scientific breakthroughs. Plus, the lead researcher (aka, principal investigator, or PI) has a strong reputation in the medical and scientific fields. You know a medical school letter of recommendation from him would boost your applications.

You’re excited to apply for the research assistant position. You’ve already begun picturing yourself in the lab, engrossed in the work. You sit down to write the perfect cover letter for the perfect research position. But you freeze. The blank page stares back at you. Where do you start?

How do you write a cover letter for a research position? What should a research assistant cover letter include? What can you say to prove you’d be an exceptional research assistant?

And, here’s another concern: How do you write the best research assistant cover letter when you have no experience? You know you’ll be competing with classmates and even upperclassmen ahead of you. What will make the researcher choose you ?

First of all, know this: No one likes writing cover letters. Whether you’re an undergraduate student applying for a research position or a seasoned doctor applying to be chief of surgery. It’s not easy for anyone to summarize their experience, potential, and passion into a single page. But it’s far from impossible. There is a strategy for writing the best research assistant cover letter. 

Keep reading to find out how you can maximize your chances of securing that coveted undergraduate research position.

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Remember the ultimate goal of a cover letter—to secure a job interview.

No one gets hired based on a cover letter. But your research assistant cover letter may be the difference between meeting the researcher face-to-face to discuss your fit for the position and having your application tossed in the recycle bin.

Dozens of students might apply for a single undergraduate research position, but the principal investigator will only interview a handful. So how do you capture the PI’s attention and convince him that you belong in that select group?

You must demonstrate that you’re the best applicant—in other words, you’re the applicant most able to complete the work and exceed expectations.

This may be an intimidating concept, particularly if you have no research assistant experience and you’re competing with others who do. But don’t worry—you’re about to learn the secret to cover letters that not everyone takes the time to learn.

The key to an effective research assistant cover letter is marketing yourself.

What makes you different from other undergraduate students? What makes you more suited to the research position? What are your unique selling points? 

As a science-minded person, marketing might not be your forte, and that’s perfectly fine. But it’s vital to the process of writing a cover letter. So what types of details should you market? 

Your expertise in the research assistant job requirements or duties . For instance, Sydney earned a high grade in her Neurobiology Lab. In her cover letter for a neuroscience research position that lists brain sectioning as a primary task, she will highlight her experience and success with sectioning brains in her lab class.

Your unique perspective of the research problem . Sydney spent a summer shadowing a doctor at a neurology clinic. She will explain her distinct outlook on neurological disorders gained from that experience.

Your impressive qualifications that demonstrate your skills and work ethic . Sydney’s professor chose her to be a peer tutor for the Molecular Biology course. She’ll use this recognition to show that she rises to the top of her class.

Your passion that relates to the research focus . Sydney will reveal her dream to become a neurologist and contribute to a cure for Alzheimer’s. Some researchers might be excited to support her career goals. But, more importantly, having a strong interest in the research area indicates that she’ll be committed to the work.

Demonstrate you’re the best candidate by proving—not just stating—your qualifications.

You can make statements about having experience relevant to the research assistant position, but it won’t mean anything to the principal investigator without evidence. You’ll want to use details, numbers, and results to prove all the claims in your cover letter. 

For instance, instead of Sydney writing vaguely, “I have experience with brain mapping,” she should be more specific. “For a class project, I used EEG equipment to map the brain activity of two classmates while they completed memory tests. We analyzed the resulting data to compare their short term and working memory abilities.” 

The second statement provides more information about the depth of her experience and her capabilities. It also offers a conversation starter for the PI when he interviews Sydney for the entry-level research assistant position.

One more example. Sydney could write, “I have a passion to cure neurological disorders.” But it would be more effective to prove her passion. “I’ve further developed my passion for curing neurological disorders by volunteering as a learning aide at a dementia care facility.”

Identify the main keywords, qualifications, and duties listed in the research assistant job description.

Read through the listing closely. Highlight or jot down important phrases. You can present yourself as the perfect undergraduate for the research position by echoing the key language used by the researcher.

For instance, “Dr. Carton’s research is centered on neural circuitry , specifically how it leads to understanding the neurobiology of learning and memory .” If you have experience with or an interest in these subjects, you can feature it prominently in your cover letter. 

Job descriptions usually include too many keywords or job duties for you to address—it’s a cover letter, not a novel. Select three or four phrases to focus on, based on a balance between what roles seem most important and where you have the strongest experience or interest.

Here’s an example. Many research assistant job postings mention “the ability to work independently” as a requirement. Maybe you have a lot of experience and strength in that area. But you wouldn’t want to focus your cover letter exclusively on your skill at working independently, not at the cost of demonstrating your research and scientific abilities.

Make sure you include evidence of your knowledge or experience in these three areas:

The research focus or the wider field of science it belongs to

A primary task required of the research assistant

A crucial but non-scientific skill (e.g., collaboration, initiative, organization)

Seek inside information to strengthen your cover letter.

Reach out to people with research experience to ensure you’re focusing on the right qualifications. This could be a close professor, your TA, or a current undergraduate research assistant. Here’s one way you might seek advice from your professor via email:

Dear Professor Manette, 

I hope your week is going well. I’ve decided to apply for the undergraduate research assistant position under Dr. Carton. I’m excited by his research on neural circuit function, which aligns closely with my interest in neurological disorders. 

I’m seeking your advice on writing the cover letter for the research position. I want to communicate my fit and excitement for the role sufficiently to Dr. Carton.

Having worked with undergraduate research assistants yourself, what would you say are the most valuable characteristics or skills for a research assistant to possess?

Thank you in advance for any input or advice you can offer. 

Best, Sydney Darnay

Use the feedback you receive to confirm or adjust the areas you intend to focus on in your undergraduate research assistant cover letter.

Search for research assistant positions on your own.

If your university doesn’t advertise undergraduate research assistant positions, you’ll have to do a little extra digging to find research opportunities.

First, check to see if your science department has a web page describing faculty research interests (the Stanford University Department of Biology Research Areas website is an example). Take the time to explore professors’ previous and current research projects. You should read their recent publications and watch videos of their lectures, if possible.

Please note: all university websites are not created equal. Some might provide links to the professors’ research sites, making your exploration easy. Or you might find a mere list of faculty research topics with no descriptions or current updates, leaving you to search Google for better info. If an internet search isn’t proving fruitful, ask a department staff member (e.g. student advisor or lab coordinator) for a more detailed run-down of the professors’ current research projects.

Next, select four or five professors whose work most excites you to contact with your research assistant request. Remember to tailor each cover letter specifically to the research project you’re applying to join. The best undergraduate research assistant cover letters are highly specific to the lab and researcher, not generic.

Email the principal investigator your cover letter and resume.

You should type your research assistant cover letter in the body of your email, and attach your resume as a pdf document.

Use a clear subject line to grab the PI’s attention and persuade him to open your email rather than send it to the trash. Remember, this professor hasn’t posted an open research assistant position, so he’s not expecting to receive applications. Here are a few examples of email subject lines you might consider:

Dr. Carton, can I assist with your neural circuit research?

In need of a research assistant with brain mapping expertise?

Professor Manette recommended I reach out regarding your research (if you indeed can use a professor as a reference)

Consider the best time of year to send out your research assistant cover letter.

If you want to secure a research assistant position during the academic year, you should email your cover letter to principal investigators mid-summer, before the fall semester starts. Professors at this time are typically finishing their summer research while looking ahead and planning for the impending academic year. You have the perfect opportunity to become part of their research plans.

If you’ve missed that window and it’s already the middle of the fall semester, you have two options. First, you can reach out and inquire about becoming a research assistant for the spring semester. You might get lucky if a current research assistant is stepping down or graduating mid-year. Otherwise, your second option is to wait until the spring semester and ask to join the summer research team.

Follow up if you don’t receive a reply.

Wait a week—but no longer—before following up with a principal investigator. Make your follow-up email very brief. Send it as a reply to your original email containing your cover letter and your attached resume, so the professor can easily review your initial research assistant request. Here’s an appropriate way to follow up via email:

Subject: Following up about assisting your neural circuit research

Dear Dr. Carton,

I wanted to quickly follow up on the possibility of joining your team as a research assistant. I know you’re busy, and I hope that as your research assistant I could take some work off your hands.

Please see my original email to review my qualifications and the passion I have for your work examining how neural circuit function contributes to neurological disorders. I would love the opportunity to meet with you and discuss how I can contribute to your research further.

Sydney Darnay

It’s appropriate to send one follow-up email, but do not continue to pester the principal investigator if you still don’t receive a reply. At that point, widen your search and find other PI’s to approach with your research assistant application.

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Part 5: Drafting an entry-level research assistant cover letter

Formatting your cover letter correctly.

Your research assistant cover letter should be one page, single- or 1.5-spaced and contain 4–5 paragraphs. Each paragraph will have a specific purpose. Here’s an outline showing the best format for research assistant cover letters. 

Introductory paragraph: Express your excitement for the research assistant position.

2–3 middle paragraphs: Demonstrate how your skills, experience, and passion make you the best research assistant candidate.

Closing paragraph: Reiterate your unique fit for the role and request an interview.

You want to break up the middle section into multiple paragraphs for the ease of the researcher reading your cover letter. One long paragraph is more tiresome (and more confusing) to read than two or three short paragraphs, each one addressing a specific area—skills, experience, or passion.

Remember: the researcher may be reviewing dozens of applications for a single research assistant position. Your cover letter needs to be direct and concise. This is formal communication, so use Times New Roman, 12-pt font and one-inch margins on your page. Submit your cover letter as a PDF document to avoid any formatting changes when the researcher downloads it.

Writing a research assistant cover letter with no experience

It can be frustrating when you seem to need experience for even entry-level research assistant positions. But, researchers will be willing to overlook a lack of official research experience if you can demonstrate the knowledge and skills needed to be an exceptional research assistant.

The trick is to translate other work and experience to relate to the research position. Here are several ways through which you can effectively do that:

Describe relevant coursework or lab work, including the applicable procedures you completed and the final results you achieved.

Recount pertinent extracurricular projects or volunteer work.

Share notable recognition you’ve earned from professors (don’t be afraid to name drop as long as you’re confident the professor will speak highly of you).

Discuss an undergraduate paper or thesis on the area of research. 

Illustrate your experience with tools or methods similar to those employed in the research position.

Describe a situation when you effectively collaborated with others (i.e. group project).

Connect tasks completed in previous roles with research assistant tasks (i.e. data analysis).

Use an example to show your capability to learn quickly, take initiative, and exceed your employer’s expectations.

Maximizing each component of your cover letter for a research assistant position

Address the salutation to the principal investigator. Using “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam” suggests you didn’t take the time to identify the researcher leading the project. If the researcher’s name isn’t included in the research assistant job posting, call or email a department staff member to find it.

Show excitement and confidence in your introduction. Start out your cover letter strong by expressing your interest and showing a bit of your personality. Alluding to your experience and knowledge of the research area will pique the researcher’s interest and keep him reading to determine if you’re a good fit for the research assistant position. 

Craft a focused, detailed body of your cover letter addressing the research position specifics. Spend 2–3 paragraphs connecting your knowledge and experience with the job duties and qualifications. This is your chance to prove you will excel as his research assistant and persuade him to bring you in for an interview.

In Sydney’s cover letter below, she uses two paragraphs of the body to demonstrate her expertise in the primary tasks of the research assistant position. Brain sectioning, brain mapping, analyzing data, and scientific writing are duties listed in the job description. Notice how she goes into detail to prove her experience, rather than merely state it.

Sydney uses the final paragraph in the body of her cover letter to reveal her unique perspective on the research area and her passion for this area of science. She even references one of the principal investigator’s previous research publications, which proves she has a true interest in the work done at his lab.

A quick note about language. Avoid using “very” or “really” to describe your level of experience or interest. They’re filler words that weaken the impact of your cover letter. Instead, use stronger descriptors and action words . For example, “I find your research inspiring” or “captivating” instead of “very interesting.”

Remember: you want to come across as professional, but not stiff or robotic. Imagine you’re in office hours with a revered professor for the first time. When you speak, you’d still sound like you, just a more put-together version of yourself. That’s what you’re aiming for. 

Close your cover letter confidently with a reference to receiving an interview invitation. Reiterate that you’re fit for the research assistant position, that you will add value to the team. You don’t want to sound pushy or arrogant by directly asking for an interview. But indicate your interest and suggest that it will be well worth the researcher’s time.

In this example, Sydney is replying to the following job posting for a research assistant.

“Dr. Carton’s research focuses on how neural circuitry affects perception, cognition, and behavior, which plays an important role in understanding the mechanistic basis of neurological disorders. The research centers on the study of neural circuit organization and function. Undergraduate research assistants are needed to complete work including brain sectioning and immunostaining, brain mapping, slice imaging, and data analysis. After training, research assistants are expected to conduct independent projects that require them to collect and analyze data, summarize it into scientific writing, and present the data to the team. In the past, some research assistants have been included as co-authors on Dr. Carton’s formal publications.”

Here’s an example of an excellent cover letter for an undergraduate research assistant that you can use as a template.

Subject: Research Assistant Application for Sydney Darnay

Sydney Darnay 500 Tellson’s Way Palm Desert, CA 12345 [email protected] (555) 433-2211

February 10, 2021

Dr. Alexander Carton Professor of Neurobiology, University of California - Palm Springs 1000 Greek Street Palm Springs, CA 12345 [email protected]

Dear Dr. Carton, 

I am excited to submit my application to be considered for the research assistant position on your Neuroscience Research team. As a Neurobiology major, I have gained the knowledge and experience necessary to contribute to your research on neural circuit organization and function. My skills, combined with a fervent interest in your research on the mechanistic basis of neurological disorders, make me an excellent fit for this role.

In my Neurobiology Lab, I sectioned the brain tissues of a rabbit and a sheep, earning a perfect score for following the correct protocol. For an Advanced Neurobiology project, I used EEG equipment to map the brain activity of two classmates while they completed memory tests. We analyzed the resulting data to compare their short term and working memory abilities. I took the initiative to gain more experience analyzing data by using PyMVPA software for neural decoding with the guidance of my faculty mentor. 

Last year I discovered my skills in scientific writing. My professor selected my piece on molecular genetics to use as an example for future students. I have continued improving my skills by meeting regularly with a tutor at the Writing Center and am confident that I would be an excellent co-author in one of your formal publications.

Prior to freshman year, I shadowed a neurologist specializing in work with Alzheimer’s patients. Observing her work gave me a unique perspective of neurological disorders, as well as a passion for finding cures. I have further developed that passion by volunteering as a learning aide at a dementia care facility, where I observe and record results of cognitive tests. I was captivated by your recent research on the relationship between neural circuit architecture and working memory, as well as the positive implications it holds for patients suffering from dementia. I hope for the opportunity to contribute to your future findings on cognition and memory.

I plan to devote my career—as you have—to increase our understanding of the brain and improve the lives of individuals with neurological disorders. Your lab perfectly aligns with my scientific and medical interests. I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss your research project with you and the contributions I can make as your research assistant.

Sincerely, Sydney Darnay

In this letter, Sydney establishes her experience and knowledge, not to mention her familiarity with Dr. Carton’s work. On top of this, she comes across as polite, professional, and enthusiastic, while demonstrating that she can write well. All of this goes a long way towards demonstrating that she would be an excellent fit for the job.

There you have it! Everything you need to create a compelling research assistant cover letter that will captivate the researcher’s attention and secure you an interview.

sample cover letter as research assistant

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  • Cover Letter Examples

Research Assistant Cover Letter: Sample & How to Write

LiveCareer Editorial Team

As seen in:

Whether you’re performing experiments in the lab, gathering anthropological data or seeing how many open browser tabs your computer will tolerate before going critical, being a research assistant offers you more variety and intellectual engagement than many other jobs. ‘Interesting’ doesn’t begin to cover it.

At least, it can be that good. But the work of a research assistant can also be a dreary blur of all-nighters spent hunched over a laptop and days spent following the same experimental protocols over and over again, until n is sufficiently large to say something conclusive about whatever it is you’re studying.

This article is here to help you steer into a work life that gives you wings without crushing your own academic work or personal life. With plenty of cover letter samples for research assistant jobs, you’ll learn by example as much as exposition how to write your most effective research assistant cover letter ever.

Save time and have a cover letter ready in no time. Pick a cover letter template , use pre-written suggestions, and have your cover letter ready in minutes.

Create your cover letter now

research assistant cover letter example

 Considering other positions too? See cover letter examples for different jobs:

  • Administrative Assistant Cover Letter
  • Customer Service Cover Letter
  • Engineering Cover Letter
  • Paralegal Cover Letter
  • Receptionist Cover Letter

Want to explore other options? See our selection of cover letter examples for other jobs . 

Sample Cover Letter For Research Assistant Position

Isabella Morgan

4 Pier Road

070 2222 2222

[email protected]

3rd March 2021

Ellis Jenkins

Recruitment Officer

East Liverpool Clinical Research Facility

Dear Ellis,

I was very happy to read that the East Liverpool Clinical Research Facility is recruiting for a new research assistant. I believe that my 5+ years’ experience working as a research assistant on both academic and corporate projects and across clinical and sociological settings make me a great fit for the ELSRF team.

While working for Thomas University on a series of psychological studies, I organised eight community and stakeholder events to identify local needs and to disseminate preliminary findings, resulting in over 30 fruitful contacts being made. I assisted in the management of and response to email correspondence related to the project, dealing with 1200+ emails and freeing up well in excess of 200 hours of the primary researchers’ time. I also analysed over 1 GB of data and wrote three reports on secondary findings that emerged from the project, two of these reports have since been reworked into grant applications potentially worth a total of over £400,000. This is not to mention the statistical analysis I performed throughout each phase, creating over 100 graphs, tables, and charts along the way.

As you can see, my background as a clinical research assistant has put me in good stead to handle the strictly scientific and mathematical aspects of my job whereas my interpersonal and communication skills help me to excel in the more sociological aspects.

Thank you for the taking the time to consider my application. I look forward to discussing with you how I can help ELSRF in the experimental design and execution phases of the Reeves project.

Yours sincerely,

Now that’s a perfect cover letter ! Learn now how to write yours.

1. Top your research assistant cover letter with a header

Just as your notes are set out a certain way, so too must your cover letter. Frame it with a header by aligning to the right: your full name, postal address, email, and phone number. Leave a line, type the date of writing in the form ‘23rd May 2021’, and drop down another line. Now switch back to left-alignment.

All that’s left to add are the recruiter’s or hiring manager’s details. In short, the person who’ll be reading your cover letter. Type out each of the following on a new line: the recruiter’s or hiring manager’s name, their job title, company or institution name, and the company’s or institution’s postal address.

Research assistant cover letter sample header

You can adjust every cover letter created in the builder to meet the job requirements. Choose the name of your profession and the company to which you’re applying, and the builder will automatically adapt the content for you. Create a cover letter faster than you ever thought possible and apply for the job in record time.

cover letter builder

2. Address your research assistant cover letter to the right person and in the right way

What if you don’t know to whom to address your cover letter ? Consider it your first recruitment task to find out. A research assistant ought to be able to figure this out. Do some passive, desktop research to find out, but if that proves fruitless, don’t forget that calling up and asking is a fool-proof plan.

If the person to whom you’re writing isn’t too much more senior than you, and the organisation not too traditional, then ‘Dear + first name’ is a great way to address them. This greeting is both friendly and professional, while also being formal without being too stiff. It also avoids the need to use a gendered title.

You might not feel comfortable starting off on a first-name basis, though. Trust your better judgement and know that too formal is usually better than not formal enough in a research assistant cover letter. In such cases, go with ‘Dear + title + surname’, using ‘Ms’ for women without an academic title or military rank.

It happens more often than you might think that a person’s name fails to unambiguously indicate their sex. Once again, you ought to be able to find out, more or less discretely. If this proves impossible, though, then start your letter with ‘Dear + first name + surname’, e.g. ‘Dear Morgan Tate’.

Research assistant cover letter sample salutation

3. open strong to get your research assistant cover letter read to the end.

There are many over-achieving research assistants with impressive CVs applying to every research assistant position. The purpose of your cover letter is there to convince recruiter’s to read your CV. It’s also a sizeable chunk of text that takes more than a second to read. Grab your reader’s attention from the get go.

A good research assistant cover letter opening will do three important things. It’ll introduce you while showing your enthusiasm for the organisation, give a taste of what it is that you can bring to the table, and demonstrate that you’ll make for a good fit in terms of work ethic and culture.

The best way to show enthusiasm is not by gushing and flattering your reader. Rather, it’s demonstrating your knowledge regarding the organisation and its major projects that gives the impression of enthusiasm. Besides, a research assistant not doing adequate background research just looks bad.

If you have experience working as a research assistant, then you can hint towards what you can bring to your new employer by describing something that you were able to achieve for your current or former employer. You’ll find more information on how to generate these in the next section—you’ll be writing quite a few.

What if you’re writing a research assistant cover letter with no experience? Given that the vast majority of RA jobs require you to have at least a relevant Bachelor’s degree, the chances are overwhelming that you do have research experience, just not professionally. So focus on your studies and research projects.

Writing without any research assistant experience, you can augment your academic research experience with a belief statement. A belief statement allows you to make a brief case (1–2 sentences only) for why you’re a good match for the organisation. Focus on its values, mission, and culture.

Given the large number of organisations using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs) these days, there are a couple of simple actions you should take to boost your chances of getting past these algorithmic gatekeepers. Be sure to mention the name of the organisation to which you’re applying as well as the job title.

There’s one last thing you’ll want to mention here if it applies to you. By all means drop names if you were referred to the position for which you’re applying. The fact that someone within the organisation thinks you’d be a good fit is clearly relevant. Employers benefit from referrals and most know it.

So much is happening in this opening paragraph. You’re introducing yourself, describing a prior research achievement, slipping in some background knowledge on the organisation, possibly including a belief statement, and possibly mentioning a referral. And yet, keep it down to 40–80 words , no more, or it won’t get read.

Research assistant cover letter sample opening paragraph

You don’t have to create any content yourself. The LiveCareer cover letter maker will automatically suggest the best content for your cover letter with ready-made examples and expert tips.

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4. Use your cover letter to showcase your professional achievements

One thing you can say about the work of a research assistant is that it’s very results-driven. Use the main body paragraph/s of your cover letter to showcase the more impressive things you were able to achieve for past employers. Recruiters will be mapping that onto what they need from you.

The most effective way to do this is to, for each achievement, describe an action you took at work (often in response to a challenge or problem, even if only implicitly) and the benefits that went to your employer as a result. You can use something like the APR (Action+Problem=Result) formula to help structure your achievements.

The most important thing to keep in mind when writing up your achievements is to quantify as many aspects of each achievement as possible. This means putting numbers to the scale or frequency at which you did things and, most importantly of all, the benefits that went to your employer as a result.

Your main body paragraph will end up being made up of 2–3 such achievements , written out in quickfire succession with only minimal connecting sentences between them. It’s great if you can form a simple narrative or even argument out of these achievements, but it’s certainly not necessary.

You might consider breaking your achievement showcase into two separate paragraphs to enhance readability. You could even use bullet points if it’ll boost the clarity of your cover letter. As with every part of your research assistant cover letter, the shorter the better: aim for 120–200 words .

Research assistant cover letter: main body paragraph example

5. always end your research assistant cover letter with a confident cta.

Tying up loose ends and following things through to a rational end-point are traits of a good research assistant. Do this in your cover letter by taking 40–60 words to summarise your experience and extract key themes from your achievements. Tie these back to your new employer if need be.

Thank your reader for the time and effort they’re putting into dealing with your application. Not only is just plain good manners, but it can also act in your favour to a surprising degree. End your cover letter on a confident (but not obnoxious) call to action (CTA) through which you make clear your eagerness to move forward.

Research assistant cover letter sample closing paragraphs

6. sign off properly.

Some things are just a matter of protocol, and how you sign off is one of these. Use ‘ Yours sincerely ’ if you addressed your cover letter to someone by name. Use ‘ Yours faithfully ’ only in cases in which you were forced to use someone’s job title or recruitment function instead, like ‘Dear Recruitment Officer’.

Research assistant cover letter: sign-off example

7. keep these formatting rules in mind.

Attention to detail is so important to the work of a research assistant that it’s a bit of a cliché to even mention it. Yet here we are. Written communication skills are also a de facto requirement for this kind of research work. So your research assistant cover letter absolutely cannot contain spelling and grammar mistakes.

Proofread your work at least twice, lean on any technological aids you need, and get someone else to check over it. Make the layout of your cover letter clear and easy to follow, using white space to separate one part from another. Use a simple cover letter template to enhance its readability. Save your work in PDF to protect this formatting.

Your cover letter length should sit somewhere between 250 and 400 words in total, nicely filling an A4 page. Choose a professional-looking CV font for your cover letter and make sure the overall look of your cover letter and CV match, reflecting the fact that they constitute a single application together.

A cover letter alone simply won’t be enough—you need an impactful CV, too. Create your CV in minutes. Choose a professional CV template and quickly fill in every CV section using ready-made content and expert advice.

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Create your CV now

I hope this article has cut down on the research load in getting your research assistant cover letter ready to send. Was there something you wanted me to elaborate on? Please drop any comments, questions, experiences or feedback down in the comments section below and we’ll get back to you.

How we review the content at LiveCareer

Our editorial team has reviewed this article for compliance with Livecareer’s editorial guidelines . It’s to ensure that our expert advice and recommendations are consistent across all our career guides and align with current CV and cover letter writing standards and trends. We’re trusted by over 10 million job seekers, supporting them on their way to finding their dream job. Each article is preceded by research and scrutiny to ensure our content responds to current market trends and demand.

About the author

Since 2005, the LiveCareer Team has been helping job seekers advance their careers. In our in-depth guides, we share insider tips and the most effective CV and cover letter writing techniques so that you can beat recruiters in the hiring game and land your next job fast. Also, make sure to check out our state-of-the-art CV and cover letter builder—professional, intuitive, and fully in line with modern HR standards. Trusted by 10 million users worldwide.

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