Writing a CV for Knight Frank’s internships and graduate jobs
The Knight Frank application process is relatively straight forward: you just upload a copy of your CV and complete a short application form. The form is completed in just one page; there is no ‘next’ button and no chance to save your work so check your details carefully before submitting. Unusually, the form asks you to state how many weeks' work experience you have in property – but there is no requirement for you to submit a covering letter or to answer questions about your reasons for applying or your skills.
Your CV is, in effect, your only chance to convince Knight Frank’s recruiters that they should interview you. You should not send off your standard CV – you need to make sure that it is especially appealing to Knight Frank.
What Knight Frank thinks of industry work experience
‘We don’t expect applicants for our internships to have work experience in real estate,’ says Lauren Strangleman, graduate manager at Knight Frank. For graduate schemes, though, the firm’s recruiters have traditionally put a lot of importance on it when assessing applications. After all, as David Mumby, a partner and graduate interviewer, says, ‘Work experience shows me that the candidate really does have the genuine desire for a career in property.’ But, as a rule, the firm now puts less emphasis on it than before. ‘We realise that it has been difficult for students to get work experience in the past few years,’ says Lauren. ‘What counts is that you have made the most of the experience you do have. Working in your Student Union bar, for example, can help you to develop useful transferable skills, such as good customer service skills and the ability to work in a busy environment.’
However, property-related work experience is still an advantage – if you can pinpoint what you’ve learned from it. And is there a type of industry work experience that is preferred? ‘We are particularly impressed if you got industry work experience on your own initiative,’ says Lauren.
Tip 1: Decide on the best CV structure for Knight Frank
Your CV doesn’t have to follow a set format, as long as Knight Frank recruiters can identify at first glance:
- your contact details
- whether you want to work in residential or commercial (if you have a preference yet)
- your academic results
- the skills you developed and what you’ve achieved from your life outside of study – any work experience/part-time jobs, extracurricular activities or interests, positions of responsibility, years out etc.
You might choose to follow a chronological structure, a skills-based one or borrow elements from both. Take a look at the TARGETjobs overview of different CV formats and the TARGETjobs sample CV templates for an idea of how best to structure your CV.
Knight Frank, of course, still values industry work experience so if you have notable property experience to your name, emphasise it on your CV. If you are following a chronological format consider separating out your industry and non-industry experience into different sections (perhaps called ‘Industry experience’ and ‘Other employment’).
Open with a personal statement or not?
TARGETjobs doesn’t normally advise students to include a personal statement or career aim on their CV – here’s why. However, as you do not submit a covering letter explaining your reasons for applying to Knight Frank, it may be worthwhile including a career aim. If you do, keep it short: focus on your reasons for applying to Knight Frank and what you hope to gain from the graduate scheme or internship. So, for example, if you are applying for a role in residential, make sure you articulate a desire to work in residential (rather than commercial) and the reasons why. However, do not include a career aim if it means that you need to leave off some of your work experience or extracurricular activities.
Your layout should be consistent
The look of your CV – how you’ve set out and presented information – gives Knight Frank recruiters their first chance to gauge your professionalism and your attention to detail. ‘We do take notice of whether a CV is nicely laid out,’ says Lauren. ‘Details such as ensuring that headings and dates are formatted consistently matter.’ Get the basic details right, too: ensure that the dates on your CV match those you put on your application form.
Tip 2: Include a good mix of skills, experiences and activities
‘We like it when candidates’ CVs show them to be well-rounded,’ says Lauren. ‘It’s always impressive when candidates have attained good grades while holding down a part-time job or pursuing outside interests.’ So it is particularly important in your Knight Frank CV to list a range of experiences or activities from different areas of your life. Don’t leave off your bar job, your membership of the university football team or the money you raised through taking part in Cancer Research’s Race4Life or Movember because you think they are irrelevant. Knight Frank recruiters think they are very relevant.
Tip 3: Highlight the skills Knight Frank values
Knight Frank doesn’t tend to explicitly state the skills that it seeks in employees, but its careers website does say that its employees are ‘innovative, committed, respectful, collaborative, enduring and inspirational’. While some of these values (eg ‘inspirational’) are challenging to demonstrate on a graduate CV, you could emphasise how you have been innovative/creative, committed to a particular group or activity for several years, or how you have worked with others (‘collaborative’), for example. In addition, Lauren tells us that, ‘The three most heavily used skills in our business are strong communication, teamwork and commercial acumen.’
To impress Knight Frank, make sure that the items you’ve put on your CV demonstrate these skills. Point out when you have called upon certain skills to get things done. If a novel way to raise money for charity was your idea, say so. It demonstrates a creative and entrepreneurial streak. If your time on a student society committee or in a part-time job involved working in a team, explain how.
Sell your skills by including appropriate detail on your activities. For example, don’t just put ‘Play football for my university’s first team’. Add information on how often you play, any responsibilities you took on and if particular achievements came out of it (such as going up a league) This gives Knight Frank’s recruiters a much clearer idea of your capabilities. For further tips on how to write up items on your CV, whether for an internship or job, see the TARGETjobs advice feature on how to write a CV for property employers.