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Graduate Assistant Cover Letter Example

Applying for university jobs? Writing an astute graduate assistant cover letter is the best way to get your foot in the door. Here’s everything that you need to know.
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Graduate Assistant Cover Letter Example
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Your school days are over — what happens next? With an average salary of $31,048, a graduate assistant position may be your ideal career launchpad. Landing this coveted academic role takes a certain amount of finesse. Not only do you need a perfectly pitched resume, but you should also have a persuasive graduate assistant cover letter. 

Chances are, you will be up against a whole host of attractive candidates. Much like you, the other applicants will be recent graduates with excellent GPA scores and a long list of extracurriculars. You don’t want to get lost in a sea of similar candidates. So, how can you set yourself apart from the crowd? The answer is: you can write a stellar graduate assistant cover letter. 

Saying all there is to say — and keeping it within around 300 words — is hardly an easy feat. However, you’ve come to the right place for some advice. Here at Resume.io, we have all the resources you need to support your job search including cover letter examples and expert-backed writing guides. In the following guide, we will cover these key topics: 

  • How to format your graduate assistant cover letter (with a cover letter sample!)
  • Tips to help you maximize the impact of each section of the letter
  • What approach and tone to adopt when you’re putting pen to paper
  • How to write a graduate assistant cover letter if you have zero experience.

Best format for a graduate assistant cover letter

Before you get started writing your graduate assistant cover letter, you need to know how to structure it. Fortunately, there’s a simple format you can use. Here’s what to include: 

  • The cover letter header
  • The greeting/salutation
  • The cover letter intro
  • The middle paragraphs (body of the letter)
  • The ending paragraph of your cover letter (conclusion and call-to-action)

If you’re new to the realms of cover letter writing, it’s all too easy to fall into potential pitfalls. One of the most common mistakes is rambling on without sticking to one point at a time. When you lack the structure that you need, the letter can sound more like a personal memoir than a solid part of your application. Ideally, each paragraph (or section!) should lead effortlessly into the next, slowly painting a picture of you as an ideal candidate. 

You can find general advice on crafting an engaging cover letter in our comprehensive guide now. However, in this writing guide, we will take a look at how you can maximize the impact of each part of your graduate assistant cover letter. To kick things off — and give you a splash of inspiration — take a look at our expertly-written cover letter example here.

Adaptable cover letter sample

Dear Professor Yardley,

 

Having moved to Miami, I am seeking a graduate assistant role in a Psychology faculty that will allow me to continue my research into occupational psychology and behavioral science.

 

After my Ph.D. dissertation in the field, my focus has been on academic support in the areas of occupational psychology and behavioral economics. I have assisted in grading over 700 papers over a five-year period, substituted for academics during lectures, and coordinated research work in the field. I have considerable experience working with teams from leading companies and understand the importance of answering the questions that matter.

 

As a result of our research and academic focus, we raised the rank for behavioral economics teaching from 19th in the country to 8th, while further increasing the visibility of the department by presenting at over 20 conferences. I managed an outreach program that doubled the number of citations in industry publications. As a result, the grade average of applicants increased by 25%, while applications increased by 30%. 

 

While much of my time was spent grading papers, organizing assignments, and researching studies, it is this public relations work that I enjoyed the most. Every academic enjoys the opportunity to share their knowledge, but few are plugged in enough to get many invites. I have the industry contacts to raise the profile of a psychology faculty.

 

I am excited by the high-profile nature of your teaching staff and hope that I can assist them in reaching both the world and your students with their amazing insights. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Sandy Gaines

Copied!

Cover letter header

The cover letter header is likely the first thing that recruiters will see when they look at your application. This simple line sits at the top of the document and includes your name, email, and phone number. Sure, these details aren’t entirely riveting but they are necessary. Your cover letter is your chance to make your case to a hiring manager. If you are successful and they want to invite you for a formal interview, they need easy access to your details. 

Making it as easy as possible for them to contact you is a winning formula. To help them along the way, display your contact information in a plain and easy-to-read format. You may also want to use a standardized format. For example, you can put the words “email” and “phone number” in front of these snippets to make the document easy to scan.

Cover letter greeting 

Next up, it’s time to address the reader. Chances are, you will be applying directly to the professor here. You should already know their name.How are you going to hook their attention? It should come as no surprise that you need to take a formal approach here. 

A graduate assistant position is highly professional. For that reason, the letter you write applying for the role has to mirror that. The language you use should be formal.

You should forgo anything too casual. That includes “Hey,” “Hello,” “Howdy,” or “Hi,” for example. Those salutations are not going to do you any favors. If you know the professor’s name, include it in the greeting. For instance, you can write “Dear Mr./Mrs. Smith.”

Of course, you won’t always know the professor’s name. It may not be listed on the job advert and you might have no way of finding it out online. After you’ve done some digging and come up with nothing, you will need to go down a different route. Ditch the old “To whom it may concern” phrase for something more modern. You can use “Dear hiring team” or even “Dear history department,” depending on which feels apt for the position. 

Cover letter introduction 

Once you’ve dealt with the greeting, it’s time to get onto the good stuff. The first lines of your graduate assistant cover letter matter. You need to make the right first impression so that the hiring manager wants to continue reading your application. One of the most effective approaches is to find a “hook” that grabs their attention. So, before you get started on this document, take a moment to consider what makes you a unique candidate. 

There are plenty of routes you may choose to wander down here. For example, you may have a wealth of assistant experience. You might have an exceptionally high GPA score. You may have recommendations from former employers. Whatever you choose to focus on, ensure that it is a strong selling point. The aim of the game is to ensure that the hiring manager has a reason to continue reading your graduate assistant cover letter. 

Avoid the age-old trap of trying to cram too much information into your introduction. You don’t need to overload this part of your cover letter with details. It’s far better to strongly highlight one important detail than to breeze over a load of minor snippets. If you’re unsure of how to properly position this section, take a quick look at our cover letter example. 

Adaptable cover letter introduction example

Dear Professor Yardley,

 

Having moved to Miami, I am seeking a graduate assistant role in a Psychology faculty that will allow me to continue my research into occupational psychology and behavioral science.

Copied!

Cover letter middle part (body)

The middle paragraphs of your cover letter give you the chance to dive deeper into your experiences and skills. Now that you’ve got the hiring manager’s attention with an interesting nugget of information, it’s time to expand on what you have to offer. You need to tell your academic story and share what talents you have to bring to the table. 

Don’t panic if this takes you a few drafts. Nobody expects you to get it right the first time around. If it’s been a while since you flexed your creative muscles, it’s natural that you would have a case of writer’s block. To help you get things flowing, jot down a few things that you would like to include in your cover letter. You might want to talk about your academic achievements, the particular skills you’ve picked up, or your prior experience. 

Whenever possible, you can add some color to your topics. You might want to include anecdotes to back up your points. You want to keep the reader interested from start to finish. The minute you lose their attention, you’ve lowered your chances of getting that all-important interview. Complete the first draft and then go back and edit it! 

Adaptable cover letter middle part example

After my Ph.D. dissertation in the field, my focus has been on academic support in the areas of occupational psychology and behavioral economics. I have assisted in grading over 700 papers over a five-year period, substituted for academics during lectures, and coordinated research work in the field. I have considerable experience working with teams from leading companies and understand the importance of answering the questions that matter.

 

As a result of our research and academic focus, we raised the rank for behavioral economics teaching from 19th in the country to 8th, while further increasing the visibility of the department by presenting at over 20 conferences. I managed an outreach program that doubled the number of citations in industry publications. As a result, the grade average of applicants increased by 25%, while applications increased by 30%. 

 

While much of my time was spent grading papers, organizing assignments, and researching studies, it is this public relations work that I enjoyed the most. Every academic enjoys the opportunity to share their knowledge, but few are plugged in enough to get many invites. I have the industry contacts to raise the profile of a psychology faculty.

Copied!

How to close a graduate assistant cover letter (conclusion and sign-off)

When you’ve gotten to the end of your graduate assistant cover letter, it’s time to sign off and say goodbye. You need to end this document strongly. Don’t lose your passion as you come toward the end. As a golden rule, you need to stick with an optimistic tone. 

The last couple of lines of your cover letter are as important as the first. Since the reader is coming to the end of the page, they will spend more time lingering over each of the words. Knowing that fact gives you a distinct advantage. Make these final statements count. 

One option is to hint at the notion of an interview and make it clear that you are eager to be invited to one. You may say something like “I look forward to the prospect of speaking to you in-depth should you invite me for an interview,” for example. If you’re finding it hard to get started, you can take a look at our cover letter sample for some inspiration. 

Adaptable cover letter conclusion and sign-off example

I am excited by the high-profile nature of your teaching staff and hope that I can assist them in reaching both the world and your students with their amazing insights. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Sandy Gaines

Copied!

Graduate assistant cover letter with no experience

Starting afresh in this sector? If you’re a recent graduate, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t apply for this role. Rather than talking about your experience — or lack thereof — there’s a rainbow array of topics you can cover, including 

  • Your education (and the lessons you learned during it)
  • Why you want to work as a graduate assistant
  • Where you see your career going in the future
  • The transferable skills you have and how they apply to the role
  • The value you can bring to the team with whom you will work

Focus on the positives. Your graduate assistant cover letter should exude confidence. Touch upon any of the points we have listed that seem appropriate for your needs. 

Watch your tone
Watch your tone

Key takeaways

  1. If you’re starting your professional career, landing a graduate assistant role is a great start. Writing the perfect cover letter is the first step of the journey.
  2. Try to find out who the hiring manager is. Addressing your graduate assistant cover letter to them directly will help you win them over.
  3. Make sure that you use formal language when writing your cover letter. You need to show the hiring manager that you are a professional worker.
  4. By following the solid structure that we have set out in this guide, you can ensure that your cover letter has a logical flow to it.

Ready to start your next application? To save you time and hassle, why not use one of our field-tested cover letter templates? Make writing a perfect application easier than you might imagine. Get started today and increase your chances of getting hired faster. 

If you’re looking for some additional inspiration, we’ve got you covered. Take a quick look at these related cover letter guides: 

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