Writing an Effective Cover Letter for an Administrative Assistant Position

In the employment world, a first impression matters, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the cover letter. Without a standout cover letter, many employers will not bother to give more than a cursory examination to the resume beneath, before relegating it to the rejection pile. The cover letter is the first glimpse that the employer has of a potential new hire, and it is essential to nail it in order to gain that coveted position.

In order to write a standout administrative assistant cover letter, it is important to keep in mind that a good cover letter is designed to complement your resume, not simply duplicate it word for word. It should be a chance to add a personal touch to the application, allowing the employer to catch an honest glimpse of the person whom they are considering.

For maximum effectiveness, one must clearly state reasons as to why one is interested in the administrative assistant position, as well as provide strong evidence that one is an ideal candidate, by illustrating relevant skills or experiences. Expressing a firm knowledge of the scope of the position, along with the clearly stated interest in the company, can only add to an applicant’s potential appeal.

An administrative assistant cover letter should follow the basic format of a business letter, in that it should address three questions. First of all, one must state the reason for the application. Next, one must outline what one might contribute, were a job offer to be extended. Finally, one must conclude with how one plans to follow up, and when.

If the interest in the administrative assistant position stems from a referral, whether professional or personal, the cover letter is the place to clearly state the name of the relevant person, their connection to the company, and their relationship to the applicant. If interest stems from a job posting in the paper or online, one should indicate the source of the posting, and be sure to clearly convey enthusiasm and the likelihood of a good fit, based on one’s qualifications.

In the second paragraph, one should clearly demonstrate the ways in which one could contribute as an administrative assistant. This is where a firm grasp of the company’s strategies and goals is imperative, as it allows the applicant to choose descriptive language that illustrates his or her qualifications in such a way as to align with the company’s overall purposes. It is important in this paragraph to focus on what can be brought to the table to meet the company’s needs, rather than focusing on what the company may have to offer.

The final paragraph of an administrative assistant cover letter should provide contact information, including a phone number and an email address, if applicable. It is also acceptable to state when one plans on following up with the company, either to set up a mutually acceptable time to interview, or to simply ensure that one’s application materials were received. If such a plan is made, it should go without saying that the follow-up should take place well within the stated time-frame.

Writing an effective cover letter can be a daunting task but is generally considered an icebreaker when applying for a job.  When accompanied by a well structured resume thus can be the key components to entry into an exciting career filled with opportunities.

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