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A student writing a CV for a property graduate job

How to write a CV for a property graduate job

Does your CV make property recruiters want to meet you? Check out our answers to some frequently asked questions about making an outstanding graduate surveyor application in real estate.
Go into detail when writing about your experiences: explain the consequences or results of your actions.

Some larger real estate firms ask you to upload a CV as part of your application form, and you usually need a CV if you are applying to smaller property employers. Your CV should showcase your skills and achievements in order to persuade recruiters that you have the experience and abilities they seek.

Your CV should be different for every application. It is important that your CV is tailored to the property industry and to each employer and each role that you are applying for. Keep a ‘master copy’ of your CV and you should only need to make small adjustments to it for each application.

Property firms that ask for CVs or give the option to upload a CV as part of the application form currently include:

Research the employer’s values and the skills that you will need to fulfil each role’s responsibilities and adjust the focus of your CV to show that you possess these. Use similar language to the job advert to draw attention to the fact that you’re a good match. You’ll find that many property firms want the same skills, but that they refer to them slightly differently: one might require ‘relationship-building skills’ and another, the ‘ability to establish good working relationships’.

What do I need to include in my graduate real estate CV?

Recruiters should be able to easily identify the following:

Your contact details

Make sure to include your name and a professional sounding email address.

On CVs for UK employers you should not include: a photo, your age/date of birth, your marital status, your gender or your ethnicity.

Your education and academic history

Include details of your degree and (expected) degree class, as well as briefly outlining your previous qualifications (such as A levels or equivalent). You can also include information about specific modules, projects and grades, if they are particularly relevant to the role that you are applying for.

Your education history is important, but recruiters will be more interested in your skills and experiences. As such, do not dedicate too much space to your qualifications if they are not relevant to the job you are applying for.

Your work experience and part-time jobs

Include all jobs undertaken at university or on a gap year, not just those directly related to property. For each position, summarise your main responsibilities, outline how you developed skills that will be useful in the property profession and explain the consequences/results of your actions. Specific examples will be used to make your experiences stand out and quantify your achievements with numbers where possible.

Don’t under-sell yourself and your property surveyor potential. Use impactful verbs that emphasise how your actions in particular made a difference in each role. For example, if you:

  • Updated a database listing portfolio investment transactions, you could write this up as: ‘Updated a database of [say how many] portfolio investment transactions by phoning agents to obtain information about the sale prices and purchasers to a tight deadline’.
  • Were involved in putting together a series of reports on improving properties’ saleability, you could write this up as: ‘Contributed to a series of reports on improving the saleability of properties [say which type of property, eg mixed-use developments] by [eg checking data]’.
  • Went on site visits organised by your supervisor, you could write this up as: ‘Gained exposure to different types of property and the work of different departments by attending site visits’.

Be careful not to overstate your responsibilities, as recruiters will be able to spot exaggerations. Describing yourself as the ‘project leader for the accounts of 12 high-profile clients’ is impressive, but the exaggeration will be obvious to recruiters if they can see you were only doing a few weeks’ work experience.

Your extra-curricular activities, achievements and positions of responsibility

This is another chance for you to show property recruiters that you have the skills and traits that they are looking for. You may speak another language, be proficient in coding and IT or have been in a leadership position of a university society.

None of these sections is essential – it depends what experience you have. For example, there’s no need to include a foreign languages section if you don’t speak any, but on the other hand you might have enough examples to fill a fundraising/volunteering section. On the other hand, you might like to include an ‘event organising’ section if you have several examples for it and if you can pull out skills relevant to the job.

How should I structure my graduate property CV?

Your CV should be a maximum of two pages long. If possible make it either one or two full pages Some recruiters request a particular CV length, so do check the firm’s application guidelines.

The only rule for layout is that your CV must be clear to read and consistent. First impressions count for recruiters giving 30-second glances to a stack of graduate CVs, so a confusing or distracting layout that makes your carefully selected information hard to read won’t do your application any favours.

Aim to group pieces of information together in a way that highlights what you have achieved in general and that draws particular attention to achievements that are relevant to the job. The order in which you present the heading and the specifics of their wording are up to you.

Follow these guidelines:

  • Choose a font that’s easy to read, such as Times New Roman, Arial or Verdana.
  • Headings for the same kinds of section should all be the same size and font.
  • Use paragraphs, indents and line breaks consistently.
  • If you use colour it should be discreet rather than garish, and readable if your CV is printed in black and white.

As well as this, always give yourself a capital ‘I’ and check your spelling and grammar! It’s always a good idea to have someone else proofread your CV before you submit it.

Do I need to include a personal statement?

Plus, you don’t need to include a career aim or personal statement at the top of your CV, unless you don’t have an opportunity elsewhere in the application to state your reasons for applying (such as in a covering letter or online form).

One property graduate’s personal statement can be very much like another’s: full of broad statements saying nothing unique, such as ‘I possess strong communication skills’. This takes up space better used by describing your experience and achievements that make you an attractive candidate to property recruiters.

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