You need to include a covering letter for a graduate real estate job if you’re submitting your application via email. You should also always submit a covering letter if you’re given the option, say, on an online form – however optional the recruiter makes it sound. If you don’t, you could come across as lazy and miss out on the opportunity to give yourself the best introduction to recruiters and enhance your application. And, if you're applying for a property internship, the same applies.
The purpose of a covering letter is to summarise your reasons for applying, highlighting your strongest points. Property recruiters will be looking for evidence that you can put forward an argument persuasively (in this case that you are the right person for their graduate job), and that you have good written communication skills.
Your covering letter should be an honest reflection of your interest into property. 'During the application process many candidates make the mistake of writing what they think we want to hear, rather than being honest about themselves,' advises Matt Higgins, graduate and future talent manager at Barratt Developments Plc. 'There is no such thing as a 'perfect candidate'; it is best to be candid about your experience and the areas in which you need to develop.'
What do I need to include in my graduate property covering letter?
1. A confident opening
Ideally you’ll have a name to address it to – check the application instructions to see if the employer specifies a greeting. Otherwise ‘Dear Sir/Madam,’ will have to do. You should then state what you’re applying for and where you saw it advertised. This gives vital context to the rest of your covering letter so that the recruiter can focus on your reasons for applying, rather than trying to work out your reason for sending the letter.
2. Why you
Tell them why you would be good in the role. Refer specifically to the qualities asked for in the job ad, and make sure you give proof. Amelia Dowty, emerging talent acquisition manager at JLL, says, ‘Stating what your skills are without backing it up is a real no-no; we are looking for substantive evidence first and foremost.’
You need to refer to specific parts of the job ad when doing this, preferably using some of the same words so that they don’t miss your point. Amelia also told TARGETjobs that your examples don’t all have to be from a property-related or academic environment: ‘Make sure your application gives the reader a clear view of “the whole you”, not just your work experience and academic qualifications.’ Recruiters want to know that you’re a well-rounded person. If the job ad asks for candidates who can build excellent relationships with clients, perhaps you can tell them that you developed your interpersonal skills during some regular voluntary work you did while pursuing an interest.
3. Why them
Make your reasons for applying to a specific firm clear because property recruiters may not bother taking your application further if your covering letter sounds like it could have been sent to any other firm if you change the name. This is because it doesn’t suggest any commitment on your part.
It’s likely you’ll be applying to several property firms and you should have chosen which ones to apply to based on where you think you’d fit in and flourish. Good reasons could include:
- the markets the firm works in and what you want to specialise in
- the quality of the APC training and how it will allow you to develop
- the property firm’s values, vision and culture (detailed on its website), and how you think you share it
- the region that the office you’re applying to is in
The secret is to avoid just stating facts about the firm or yourself. Instead link information about them to your strengths and career ambitions.
4. End politely
List dates you’d be unavailable for interview, thank them for considering you and say that you hope to hear from them. Sign off with ‘Yours sincerely,’ (spelled and punctuated correctly) if you addressed it to a given name, and ‘Yours faithfully,’ if you opened with ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.
DO get a friend to proofread your covering letter. Vanessa Briggs, HR manager at Gerald Eve LLP, says: 'Check for any mistakes before you send off an application. Don't underappreciate the small things – for example, spelling the firm's name correctly – as they can let candidates down.' First impressions count, even on paper, and typos and errors in your English suggest you’d be just as slapdash in correspondence with clients or senior people within the firm if you get the job. Ian Clark, partner at Montagu Evans, elaborates that, ‘Spelling and grammatical mistakes are always very noticeable. Applications and CVs should always be checked carefully – it is an indication of your written communication skills.’
DON’T use highly elaborate language – it doesn’t read easily, whereas writing in a clear, non-wordy way is another way of demonstrating good communication. ‘Before’ is better than ‘prior to’, and ‘about’ is far preferable to ‘with reference to’.