Research Assistant Cover Letter: A Guide to Outstand the Rest [w/ Examples]

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A research assistant is a role that provides help or support to research teams. Responsibilities associated with this role include, but not limited to, conducting research, summarizing findings, preparing progress reports, and other research-related tasks.

People who aspire to be a research assistant in the future not only need an impressive GPA as proof of their academic performance, but also need to have required skills and passions.

This is where a cover letter for a research assistant job comes in handy. A good research assistant cover letter allows one to show their capabilities and all related information in one go. If you want to stand out from other countless applicants and ultimately get the chance to be interviewed by potential employers, crafting a well-thought-out research assistant cover letter is essential.

Research Assistant Cover Letter Examples

Before we roll into the steps in writing a great research assistant cover letter, first, let’s take a look at these examples.

Research assistant cover letter sample

Daisy Loreal
35 Summer Court
Green Bay, WI 54302
[email protected]

June 15th, 2022

Cherry Scott
Yale University
433 Temple Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Dear Ms. Scott,

It’s my pleasure to apply for the Research Assistant position at Yale University, which I saw on the university career page. As a graduate with a bachelor's degree in English Education and someone who has been working as a teacher, I am interested in being part of the research project on humans and society. I am confident that my experience and capabilities will be a valuable asset to your team.

I worked as a preschool teacher at Gateway High School. My responsibilities included class preparation, teaching, grade evaluation, and mentoring. I am highly interested in exploring high school students’ behavior further, as they tend to react differently to the same issue they encounter.

Since I am responsible for managing my students’ grades and analyzing their performances through tests, I believe these analytical, evaluating, and communication skills shall be a robust skill set that allows me to perform well as a research assistant.

I would be thrilled to have an opportunity to meet and discuss more about my experience. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Daisy Loreal

Sample of lab assistant cover letter

Jacob Howard
1095 Valley St.
Middleton, Idaho(ID), 83644
[email protected]

June 15th, 2022

Tom Rogers
University of Pennsylvania
3101 Walnut Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Dear Mr. Rogers,

My name is Jacob and I hold a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry. I have been studying biochemistry as my major for three years. With my experience in conducting chemical experiments, analyzing data, and assisting undergraduate students in lab research, I believe I have met the requirements for the Research Assistant position at the University of Pennsylvania.

In my undergraduate years, I learned about data recording, data analyzing, results writing, and other collaborative skills. I plan to bring these skills to the research assistant position, as it will provide me with valuable learning opportunities while working.

I have great interest in a research topic about avoiding pesticides in the agriculture industry. I want to help farmers with their plantations, help them produce healthier products, and at the same time reduce pollution damage, and lower the cost of production. I hope to get a chance to learn more as a research assistant. If I am given the opportunity to join your team of skilled researchers, I would bring all the skills I’ve acquired from my previous research projects to the table.

It would be great if I have a chance to have an in-person interview to further discuss my experiences and how I could contribute to the project. Thank you for your time and I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Jacob Howard

Sample of research assistant cover letter without experience

Larry Gray
5017 Broadway
Woodside, New York(NY), 11377
[email protected]

June 15th, 2022

Olivia Perry
Cornell University
300 Day Hall,
10 East Avenue, NC, 2790

Dear Ms. Perry,

As an Ithaca College graduate with a bachelor's degree in psychology and a GPA of 3.8 , I am deeply interested in the Research Assistant for the research project on behaviorism that I saw on Cornell University’s website. I strongly believe that my skills and qualifications match the requirements and will be very helpful to your team as a research assistant.

For the past four years at Ithaca College, I have taken courses in behavioral psychology, social psychology, and neuropsychology. I learned much from the courses and participated in research about behavioral management of teenagers with a team of 3 assistants and a lead researcher.

I am deeply intrigued by the research outcome when I read the outline of your research project online regarding children’s behaviorism. Since I did a research project about behavioral management of teenagers, which is also a study about behaviorism, I believe my experience would be a great asset in this research project.

I would appreciate your time toto review my resume that I have attached with this letter. I would also be honored to be given the chance to discuss with your about my passions in behaviorism and how I could contribute to this project. Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.

Larry Gray

Cover letter for graduate research assistant

Grace Sanders
4143 330th Pl SE
Fall City, Washington(WA), 98024
[email protected]

June 15th, 2022

Michele Robinson
American University
4400 Massachusetts Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20016, USA

Dear Ms. Robinson,

My name is Grace Sanders and I hold a master’s degree in International Economics at American University. Before furthering my master’s degree, I have been working as a data analyst for a few years at Sogo Company to learn more about the industry. With the skills I have honed during my school years and working experience, I am confident that I would be an outstanding candidate for the Research Assistant position.

Due to my previous work experience, I can work independently on given tasks with the skills required for my position. I always assist the lead researcher and make sure that the research process runs smoothly as planned.

At the same time, I got a chance to help and mentor undergraduates in their research papers as a senior, as I have been working in the field for some time. As a former undergraduate student, I fully understand the challenges of conducting research in the early years of university without proper guidance. Hence, I am excited to offer my knowledge and assistance to help guide them through the journey with ease.

Please take the time to review my resume that I have included in the mail. Should you need other documents or any other information, I would be more than happy to provide them for you. I look forward to getting a chance to further discuss with you in an interview. Thank you.

Best regards,
Grace Sanders

How to Write a Research Assistant Cover Letter

A research assistant cover letter is not hard to write when you focus and emphasize on the correct information. Let’s go through them together.

Find a position that suits your interest & qualifications

Research assistants may have different responsibilities when working under the lead researcher. It depends on the research goal. Before applying, you should make sure that you are interested in that research project, to make sure that you can stay motivated throughout the journey.

Moreover, you should also refer to your qualifications when applying for the position. Working as a research assistant in a whole new field can be very exhausting and mentally draining if you don’t have the right qualifications.

💡Pro tip: What if there are no research assistant position vacancies for the project you’re interested in? When this happens, you could go to the department website and check, or ask the department staff directly to see if there are any ongoing research projects that are conducted by the professors. If you are interested in being the research assistant, you could start tailoring your RA cover letter to apply for the position.

Study the job listing & research institution

A research advisor appreciates it when people who apply for the assistant position include some information about the institution in the research assistant cover letter. This implies that the applicant is genuinely interested in the research program and institution.

Here is a list of information and keywords that you should include in your research assistant cover letter:

  • Name of researcher
  • Name of the institution
  • The goal of the research

List down your research experiences

You might have been involved in some research projects with the department's professors during your college years. These experiences will be the concrete base for your skills to apply for the position. Therefore, including that information in your RA cover letter can help researchers understand your level and better determine if you’re the right person.

List your specific research skills

To be a researcher requires a fair amount of skills related to documenting, interacting with people, and many more. Incorporating your skills related to the job is a good way to showcase your ability in working as a research assistant. 

Here are some skills to include in your research assistant cover letter:

Write down your passion related to the research focus

When applying for a research assistant position, you should always include the reason for applying. This is the best opportunity to tell potential employers about your passion and why you want to be part of the research. This helps them better understand you before interviewing you in person.

📚Further reading:  How to Start a Cover Letter that Leaves a Strong Impression

Format your RA cover letter

People like to think that format isn’t important. However, some recruiters also consider cover letter format too. Thus, it is better to make sure that your cover letter for a research assistant job is in the right format.

Here’s the format of the cover letter that you should follow:

  • Letter header: This part should include the sender and receiver information and the date when you wrote the letter.
  • Salutations: Greet the lead researcher formally with “Dear” and their name.
  • Opening paragraph: Make an impressive introduction about yourself and your goals.
  • Body paragraph: Introduce specifically your experience and skills that you can offer to the research.
  • Closing paragraph: End the letter with a call to action and show appreciation.

💡Pro tip: Always keep your font size between 10-12 and leave a 1-inch gap between all sides for your research assistant cover letter.

Tips on How to Write a Cover Letter for a Research Assistant Position

Now that you know how to write a research assistant cover letter, follow these tips to level-up your cover letter and land that research position that you dream of!

Show excitement and interest in the position in your opening

Choosing the right tone is essential when writing a cover letter. For example, it would be best to use a formal tone when writing a lab assistant cover letter. You can also use a different approach to show your excitement and enthusiasm in the position without turning your sentences colloquial.

Use bullet points to bring attention to your key achievements

Besides explaining your information in paragraphs, you can use bullet points to highlight some key points that you want to share with the lead researcher. Readers tend to focus more on points formats when there is much information to digest.

📚Further reading:  How to Write Achievements in a CV? [+ Examples]

Modify the cover letter by including specific information related to the research project

To make yourself stand out from the other applicants, you should use specific information related to the research project as an element to write your cover letter. This will help you stand out among other applicants who use generic information.

Create a strong closing with a call to action

Showing appreciation in the closing statement is not required but you can level it up by also including a call-to-action. This is to lead the readers to check out your resume and contact you for more information.

📚Further reading:  How to End a Cover Letter & Cover Letter Closing Examples

Mention any relevant referrals or mutual networks

If you have worked with a fellow researcher in the field before, you could ask them for permission to include their names in the cover letter. Or, if you happen to be referred to the position by someone in the institution, you should also mention their name in your RA cover letter.

How to Write a Research Assistant Cover Letter with No Experience

Being inexperienced might be harder for you to write a research assistant cover letter. But fear not! We have prepared some tips for you.

Focus on the skills that you already have

Don’t worry if you do not have experience as a research assistant. Some skills can be achieved without actually working as a research assistant. 

Emphasize the transferable skills from your other experiences, or skills and background knowledge that you’ve gained from your school years. Having these skills and qualifications definitely helps to boost your credibility as a suitable candidate for the position.

📚Further reading:  How to List Transferable Skills on a Resume (Samples, Tips, Templates)

Share your experience in utilizing the skills required by the position

Having related skills may be a plus to landing a job, but recruiters would like to know how you are able to put these skills into practice. Therefore, you can mention any of your experience related to the skills to show recruiters that you are not just all talk.

Take this as an example. Here’s how you could emphasize your transferable skills when writing a clinical research assistant cover letter:

During my time at the University of Regina, I honed my data entry skill while doing research to find supporting information on topics and papers that would help my thesis. I believe I can bring my data entry skill to this clinical research project and do a great job at data collecting.

List extracurricular projects or any other works

Work experience can be replaced by extracurricular projects or any other related work because working on projects allows you to gain skills needed for the research assistant position. By listing your extracurricular projects, you can show the skills that you have learned and let recruiters know that you are suitable for the position.

Show your collaboration and teamwork skills

Research is not a one-man game. You will be working with other researchers and assistants. Showing collaboration and teamwork skills is very important as it helps lead researchers to know whether you will work well with other assistants. 

Skills to Mention in a Research Assistant Cover Letter

You might already know the skills that could be useful and should be mentioned in a research assistant cover letter but there’s no harm in knowing more.

Here, you will find some skills that could be mentioned in your research assistant cover letter:

  • Administration skills
  • Multitasking skills
  • Time management skills
  • Work under pressure
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint)
  • Data software (Statacorp Stata)
  • Observation skills
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Teamwork skills
  • Data collection 
  • Data entry
  • Data analysis
  • Attention to details
  • Planning and scheduling
  • Report writing
  • Interview skills
  • Technical skills


Here’s a recap of what you’ve just learned:

  • When writing for the research assistant position, show your passion with a professional tone.
  • If you have no work experience, emphasize your current skills and how you can use them for the research.
  • Mention your key achievements using bullet points in the body paragraphs to attract the recruiter’s attention.
  • If you have any mutual connections with some professors from the field, mention them.
  • Remember to have a strong call to action when ending your research assistant cover letter.

With CakeResume, a free online resume builder, we provide you with hundreds of free professional resume templates that help showcase the best you. Landing your dream job will be a piece of cake!

— Originallyy written by Ryan Goh

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