When it comes to understanding how to be a good PA, it’s one thing learning about the tasks of a personal assistant, but it you want to thrive in the…
When applying for a PA job, you should use every tool at your disposal to make the strongest case possible for yourself. The first and most important step should be an up-to-date and compelling personal assistant CV, but don’t neglect the icing on the cake – a personal assistant cover letter.
Cover letters are not always required by an employer but, where possible, we highly advise that you include one in your job applications. Many hiring managers still use them to distinguish the most enthusiastic and suitable applicants, and they’re a perfect way to showcase your writing skills and personality ahead of an interview.
Here we’ll give you a step-by-step guide to writing a personal assistant cover letter, with a downloadable PA cover letter example.
A step-by-step guide to writing a PA cover letter
A covering letter for personal assistant jobs can be treated as an expanded version of your PA personal statement on your CV. As with the personal statement, a cover letter will highlight your relevant skills, experience and character traits that are perfect for a PA job! But it’s also a chance to show your enthusiasm for the specific job and company, and explain why you’ll be a perfect fit.
In the simplest terms, your PA cover letter should tell the hiring manager:
- Who you are and why you’re applying for this role
- Your prior work experience and the skills attained
- Specific challenges and achievements in your career and how your skills and personality played a part in them
- How those same skills and personality traits will benefit the prospective employer
It’s best practice to keep the document to around one page and use the active voice to make your writing more powerful. Sentences in the active voice describe a subject performing an action on an object, whereas the passive voice describes an object having an action performed on it by the subject. For example, the active sentence “I increased the company’s efficiency by 30%” is much more direct and punchy than the passive version: “The company’s efficiency was increased 30% by me”.
Let’s look at each section of your personal assistant cover letter in detail:
This is the ‘who and why’ of the piece. Keep it short and sweet, but show your interest in the position and company.
Perhaps you’re applying because you respect the company’s commitment to sustainability, or are a lifelong fan of their products and would love to be part of the team. Whatever it is, be honest in your reasons. In our PA cover letter example, the applicant is applying for a travel company, and highlights their love of travelling as part of the reason for their interest in the position.
If you know the hiring manager’s name, address the letter to them to give an added personal touch, but be careful to do your research and match the level of formality to the company culture.
2. Work experience, skills, and qualifications
Always keep the aim of your letter in mind so, when detailing previous jobs, focus on those that will get the hiring manager sit up and take notice. For a personal assistant cover letter, these will of course be any previous PA positions but, if you’re new to the PA role, it could be team assistant, office assistant, or even customer services roles that display your people skills.
Regardless of your depth of experience as a PA, the important thing in this section is to tie any jobs and the skills involved back to the question at hand: why are you the best person for this PA job?
This is also an opportunity to note any relevant PA certifications or qualifications you have.
3. Challenges & Achievements
By this point, your impressive list of prior employers and skillset have caught the hiring manager’s attention but, if you leave it at that, their answer will simply be “so what?”
There are any number of personal assistants out there with similar credentials who are doing a passable job. You need to show a new employer that you’ve done excellent work and will do so for them too. So, how do you do that?
A simple formula to follow is:
- Describe a challenge you encountered at work
- How did you use your skills and personality traits to overcome it?
- What was the outcome and how did it benefit the business?
Try to find two or three of these achievements that highlight your adaptability to different challenges. Don’t be shy to take credit for your achievements – use ‘I’, not ‘we’. While it’s important to show you work well with others, taking ownership of your successes shows your confidence and pride in doing a good job.
4. Benefits to the prospective employer
Now that you’ve shown proof of the value you can offer to the company or individual you’ll be assisting, all that’s left to do is to circle back to the opening points of your letter – why you want this PA job, and why you’re the best person for the role. Spell it out to the hiring manager in a punchy summary to leave them with the most important points clear in their mind.
It’s great practice to make it as easy as possible to follow up. Let them know when you’re free for a call, or even suggest a day and time. Another tip is to ask someone trustworthy to proofread your cover letter before sending. As the letter is an example of your level of writing skill, you want to be sure you’ve cleaned any typos, grammar slips, or confusing sentences.
Download our personal assistant cover letter example to see all these points put into practice. For more advice on starting your career as a personal assistant, read our ultimate guide.
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