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Tell property recruiters what you learned on placement

Five ways to sell your work experience to property graduate recruiters

Work experience will make a big difference to your application for a graduate job in property. Follow our advice to help your skills stand out on your CV or application form.
Identify the knowledge and skills you have gained through your work experience and explain how these skills would help you in a career in property.

Writing about the skills you’ve developed through your work experience on your CV and application form is a great way to show recruiters you’ve got the skills they seek. However, recruiters often tell TARGETjobs Property that a number of applicants struggle to highlight the skills they developed on their work experience at both application and interview stage. So here are five golden rules to make sure you do yourself justice:

1. Focus on the transferable skills you've gained through work experience

Whatever work experience you are writing or talking about (a property internship or working in a bar), emphasise your transferable skills to show recruiters you have the have the right skills for a property career. Transferable skills include teamwork, reliability and leadership should be backed up by solid examples.

A good technique to impress recruiters is to identify the knowledge and skills you have gained through your work experience and explain how these skills would help you in a career in property. This shows employers that you know what is needed to be successful in surveying and already have some of them.

However, remember to demonstrate the skills gained from a range of work experience and not just from one internship. David Mumby, a partner at Knight Frank LLP, says ‘it’s those candidates who have got work experience at every opportunity, and not just during the second year, that stand out.’

2. Place your work experience in a prominent position on your graduate CV

This is important because work experience is one of the first things recruiters look for. Many people put their work experience in chronological order but if you have notable property-related work experience, you could highlight it by splitting your work experience into ‘industry work experience’ and ‘other work experience.’

Putting your property experience at the top of your CV will ensure recruiters do not miss the most important information that could secure you an interview.

3. Use formatting on your CV to draw attention to work experience

Use bullet points and spacing carefully on your CV or application form to draw attention to your work experience. Recruiters may be unwilling to read big blocks of text and breaking these up will help them get to the important information quicker. Bullet points can be used to break down your knowledge and skills and make the important information easy to spot. Starting each bullet point with a strong action verbs like ‘organised’ or ‘led’ will let recruiters know exactly what you did.

4. Self-evaluate after each work experience placement

Before you can tell recruiters about your knowledge and skills, you need to know what you have learned from each work experience placement. After each one think about what you did, what you found most enjoyable and challenging, and where you think you could have improved. Also think about how this relates to a career in the property industry. Evaluating your own performance will help you decide where your skills lie and how you have developed. It will also demonstrate your self-awareness.

5. Before an interview, practise talking about your work experience

Before an interview, make sure that you're able to talk about how your responsibilities and the competencies you developed relate to the role you are applying for. Look at the skills that particular employer wants and find examples of when you used or developed that skill during your work experience.

Beware: it is not enough to state the skills you have without backing them up with a solid example and saying how they relate to a property career. For example, dealing with clients is a large part of a surveyor's job, so you could prove you are able to do this by talking about how you dealt with customers or clients in your part-time jobs.

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