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An application letter is generally a cover letter and resume in one document. The purpose of an application letter is to express your interest in a job; many employers prefer this approach instead of separate cover letters and resumes. It consumes less time for recruiters and hiring managers to review one letter than it does to review letters and resumes from dozens and, perhaps, hundreds of applicants. An application letter for an office assistant position also demonstrates your written communication skills, which are important for prospective employees interested in this type of administrative role.
Research online sources for information about available office assistant positions and the typical job duties, tasks and responsibilities. Sites such as Monster, SimplyHired and Indeed have a plethora of job postings for various office assistant jobs. In addition, look at sites such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for comparable job titles, tasks and qualifications for office assistant and administrative support positions. Compile a list of common duties and qualifications for several positions; use this list to narrow down to a reasonable number the job functions for which most office assistants are responsible.
Review your qualifications and compare them to the list you created. Highlight sections in your resume that describe your past performance, skills and capabilities in an office assistant role. Select companies with available office assistant jobs as well as companies in which you have an interest. Identify the names and titles of recruiters, employment specialists, human resources department managers or hiring managers for each company.
Draft a basic letter as your form document to personalize and send to several prospective employers. Prepare the format as you would for a standard business letter, starting with your name, street address, city, state and zip code. Include your telephone numbers and e-mail address in the return address portion of your application letter. Insert two spaces and type the month, day and year. Insert another double space and type the name and title of the addressee, company name, address, city, state and zip code.
Type a reference line that clearly states your interest in an office assistant job. For example, you could type "Application Letter for Office Assistant Position" in your subject line, so prospective employers immediately learn your interest upon reading the first few lines of your letter. Using the term "application letter" may also alert potential employers that you are submitting a letter only and not a cover letter and resume.
Type your introduction in the first paragraph—state that you are seeking an office assistant position and indicate that you are submitting an application letter in lieu of a cover letter and resume. If appropriate, consider mentioning the reason you chose to submit an application letter. Indicate that you are cognizant of the time necessary to review resumes and that you believe an application letter is the best use of time in selecting qualified candidates to interview.
Draft a second paragraph that summarizes your skills and qualifications. Refer to the list of qualifications from comparable jobs and the highlighted portions of your resume. Compose a paragraph that starts from the beginning of your career and close with your present job duties and responsibilities. If your second paragraph is too lengthy, divide it into easy-to-digest sections. Consider bullet points or numbered sections; however, do not make this section too wordy or you defeat the purpose of creating an application letter by ignoring brevity.
Explain in your next section or paragraph the competencies you have that further qualify you for an office assistant position. Briefly state that you have good communication and organizational skills, as well as proficiency with computer programs that enable you to perform tasks accurately and efficiently. If you have education or coursework in office processes or industry-specific areas, include those in this section of your application letter. Prepare a final paragraph that restates your interest in the office assistant role and your availability for an interview. Close your letter with a sentence that says you appreciate the reader's time and favorable consideration. Use a generic closing, such as "sincerely yours" or "kind regards" followed by your typed name.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.