Tailor your graduate application form and CV to Gerald Eve
A word of warning: completing this application form will be time consuming, with five applications questions and a covering letter to write from scratch, as well as a CV tailored to the firm. Gerald Eve look for such specific attributes in graduate employees that adapting an application you’ve made to another property firm will end in rejection. Especially if you make it obvious that you’ve done so: ‘Some candidates are careless and leave another firm’s name in their application to us,’ says Heather. ‘That doesn’t go down too well!’
Requesting a CV and covering letter alongside application form questions is designed to test different things:
- Your CV and covering letter assesses your ability to be creative and achieve an objective: can you, with no guidance, put together a persuasive argument for why you should get the job? Can you capture their attention and sell yourself? By extension, could you write a report for a client? Could you pitch to a client?
- The application questions assess your ability to give good answers to specific questions – that is, to follow a brief and instructions
Show Gerald Eve your ‘spark’ without being unprofessional
Gerald Eve wants applicants with personality and spark; it’s not looking for ‘corporate clones’. However, it also needs to trust that its graduates will be professional with clients.
‘Wacky’ CVs and extravagant claims reminiscent of contestants on The Apprentice (eg ‘Everything I touch turns to sold’) won’t impress. Instead, focus on revealing your personality through going into detail about your extra-curricular activities, interests, achievements and the responsibilities. Explaining how you raised £300 for charity by running a half-marathon in a Pepper Pig costume, for example, or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro will do this.
Show Gerald Eve you share its culture
Gerald Eve is open about its company values (you can see them on the job advertisements) and how it believes that its values are what differentiates it from its competitors. ‘Culture match is vital when we are trying to decide who to offer a place to and so we want candidates to tell us how and why they think they match our values,’ says Heather. A good place to go into detail about this is the covering letter.
How to answer Gerald Eve’s application form questions
‘Please give an example of a challenge that you have set yourself and describe how you have gone about achieving it.’
How to approach:
- This has to be a challenge you’ve set yourself, not one that has been initiated by others (eg university work). Your choice of example will say a lot about you and it’s best to choose one which you actually achieved.
- This is a good chance to reveal that you have some of the skills that Gerald Eve seeks and share its values: choose a challenge that involved various different stages or elements (requiring an eye for detail) or one in which you had to motivate/enlist the aid of others (requiring excellent communication and team working skill), for example. A challenge that involved some planning, creative thinking and problem solving would also go down well.
- Good examples of challenges you’ve set yourself could include: fundraising/sponsorship activities you took part in for charity; a sporting event for which you had to train; and planning and going on an adventurous gap year.
- You have a short space to give sufficient information for recruiters to understand what the challenge was, why it was an important challenge, all of the actions you took, and the results. Use the CAR structure to ensure you’ve included relevant information (describe the Circumstances, the Actions you took and the Results). The majority of your answer should focus on the actions you took.
‘Why are you interested in working in a commercial property consultancy and becoming a Chartered Surveyor with Gerald Eve?’
How to approach:
- Focus on why you want to work in commercial property and as a surveyor/consultant/planner for Gerald Eve. You will have space in your covering letter to enlarge on your reasons for why you are interested in property and working for Gerald Eve in general.
- Make sure you answer both parts of the question: aim to spend about equal space on each, but this could vary depending on what you have to say.
- For the first part of the question, you need to say:
a) Why commercial property and
b) Why you want to work for a property consultancy.
Draw upon your industry-related work experience (if possible). If you worked for a commercial consultancy, say what appealed to you about the work; if you worked in residential or for a local authority, say why you think you’d suit commercial better.
If you haven’t got industry work experience, you need to demonstrate that you have an understanding of the nature of commercial property as opposed to working in residential or for the public sector. For example, transactions tend to take longer and relationships with clients are more ongoing. In your answer, you could say why getting your teeth into a long-term project and building long-lasting relationships with clients would suit you.
- For the second part of the question, you need to say why you want to be a surveyor/planner for Gerald Eve. Show that you know what the role of a planner/surveyor involves and then explain why you want to carry out the job at Gerald Eve. You might want to mention how much you admire its values or talk about the work that you would be doing at Gerald Eve, mentioning clients and projects (take a look at ‘research and publications’ section of the firm’s website). You could talk about how the variety of tasks, the APC support and working environment at Gerald Eve would suit you.
‘What do you think are the main challenges facing Gerald Eve over the next 12 months?’
How to approach:
- You need to research both what is happening at the firm and what is happening in the industry in general to identify the possible repercussions for Gerald Eve. A good place to start is the firm’s press releases – especially the ones focusing on the firm’s financial performance – then widen it out to any externally written news pieces.
- Draw your own conclusions from what you’ve read. For example, the firm’s ‘About us’ page tells you that 80% of the firm’s income comes from its consultancy division (which includes planning and development), 12% from transactions and 8% in corporate property management. Is there a danger in relying so heavily on their division? What challenges could they have in growing their transactional (agency) or property management businesses? Alternatively, what challenges could there be for Gerald Eve in increasing their European presence when Eurozone economies are still unsettled and Brexit is on the cards?
- Don’t try to cram every single challenge into the answer. The question asks you for the ‘main challenges’: it is testing your ability to identify the most important threats to the business. You can use bullet points to keep to the word count.
‘Please give an example of how you have adapted your own communication style to deal with different people/clients.’
How to approach:
- What is meant by adapting your communication style? It means changing what you say and how you say it depending on what your objective is and who you are dealing with. You then consider which method of communication is most appropriate. Would they respond best to email, a phone/Skype conversation or a face to face meeting? When communicating with a person, how much detail is required? For example, a senior manager might only require big picture information, whereas your immediate manager might expect a more detailed knowledge of what you’re doing.
- Any time when you’ve had to work with others or persuade people to accept your point of view will be a good source of answers for this question. Examples might come from when you were involved in a group project from your course or when you had a public-facing part-time job or voluntary role.
- Remember to explain exactly why and how you changed your communication style and the results it yielded.
‘Describe the key attributes required to be a successful general practice surveyor?’
How to approach:
- Note the word ‘describe’: you need to go beyond just listing the skills required – you need to briefly say why each skill is necessary.
- To select the skills, draw on what you’ve observed during your work experience and check out the skills typical property employers want. A graduate assistant planning consultant said one of the key skills he needed was time management and multi-tasking.
The Gerald Eve covering letter
The covering letter gives you space to:
- Outline more fully your motivations for wanting to work at Gerald Eve above other graduate employers
- Highlight how you have developed the skills needed to be a good surveyor/consultant/planner – the ones you listed in the final application form question.
- Describe in more detail how you share Gerald Eve’s values.
Don’t simply repeat information you’ve included on your application form; this is an opportunity to support what you’ve said with further examples of achievements and experiences.
Tip 1: Keep it professional, keep it brief
Address the letter properly so that you come across as professional. Write your letter in Word before pasting it into the form (so you can use spell check) and make sure it’s no longer than one page of A4.
Tip 2: Make your reasons for applying meaningful
Gerald Eve won’t be impressed by an application that could have been sent to any other property firm – instead you need to say what particularly impresses you about Gerald Eve and why that means something to you. The firm claims that it gives early responsibility to graduates. Why would that suit you and how have you shown that you’re capable of handling responsibility?
Tip 3: State how you have demonstrated your skills and values
You have already listed the skills needed to be successful in the career field, so go into a bit of detail about how you’ve (started to) develop those skills. State how you have worked in a team and taken responsibility, for example.
The graduate CV for Gerald Eve
Traaditionally Gerald Eve hasn't requested any particular length or style of CV (but read the instructions carefully to make sure this is the case). This gives you the freedom to choose the style of CV that suits you best (check out our sample graduate CVs here). As mentioned earlier, go for clarity over wackiness but there’s no reason why you couldn’t use colour to make headings or achievements stand out. Keep the length to either one full page or two full pages to show that you can be succinct.
Outline all of your work experience, your positions of responsibility and your extra-curricular activities to show your personality. Use bullet points and headings to break up the text. Remember that, along with your covering letter, your CV’s purpose is to convince recruiters that you have everything required to make a brilliant Gerald Eve employee. You can see more tips on writing property graduate CV tips here.