Executive Assistant Cover Letter Tips

An executive assistant cover letter requires some planning because of the range of topics it may have to address. Executive assistants aren't "secretaries". The executive assistant job role and its functions vary from an almost secretarial function to a virtual executive job in its own right. This discrepancy in levels and roles can make writing a cover letter a challenge, even for experienced executive assistants. 

Cover letter issues

These jobs can vary enormously. The delegated roles of some executive "assistants" are effectively executive positions. Some jobs are actually operational managerial positions in practice. Start with the position description as your guide for the cover letter. You really need to pin down the critical job functions. Executive assistant position descriptions are usually excellent guides to the real job. The essential job criteria in the ad are important, but keep your eye on the realities of the position.

  • What are the core functions of the role?

  • What are the key responsibilities?

  • What sort of active management roles does the executive assistant fill?

To even be considered for an executive assistant job, you need to be able to prove adequate skills and experience in these areas. The cover letter must spell out clearly appropriate levels of experience in all core job functions: 

  • Each paragraph of the cover letter should use career examples to match job roles. This is to prove your status as a suitable candidate.

  • Key responsibilities should be described to clearly indicate your managerial level. This includes office budgets, delegations of authority, number of staff under management, and indicators of seniority in your prior positions.

  • Active management roles are absolutely critical to your application. These are operational management roles. Explain your active management experience in context with the position.

Drafting your cover letter

Start with the core functions: In the first two paragraphs, cover these functions briefly but fully, using examples like: 

"I currently work as an executive assistant for the Vice President of ABCD Inc, supervising ten administrative staff and an managing an office budget of $2 million." That's a lot of information to pack into one sentence, but it makes its points. You've proven your experience, seniority, and have given your application a status ranking by explaining the role.

You can expand considerably on these roles, but please remember to manage your letter's space. If you're an experienced executive assistant, allow some space for editing and additional information. Start with bare descriptions and develop your letter content. 

Key responsibilities and active management roles: These are highly variable in executive assistant jobs, so you will definitely need to be specific about your exact duties, to make the best impression on your reader:

"My key delegated responsibilities are: Chairing the divisional audit committee, staff training, hiring and management, and IT systems management." These are relatively common roles of top bracket executive assistants, and prove you can handle a range of essential functions at this level.

Describe the functions of your roles to show obvious relevance to the position. Use the same terminology as the position description to show clear parallels with your job skills.