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Top tips for Cushman & Wakefield's graduate application form

The facts

Quote deals, transactions and key clients in your applications.

The Cushman & Wakefield application form contains several sections and will take a good couple of hours to complete to a high standard – more if you don’t have a CV ready to upload. Cushman & Wakefield doesn't ask for a covering letter, so the application form is the primary place for you to go into detail about your experiences and skills. The questions might seem a little daunting at first, so we’ve broken down what Cushman & Wakefield could want to see in your answer.

Answering CushWake’s application question: 'Why are you passionate about a career in property?' (200 words)

When tackling this sort of question, it’s easy to miss the point. Applicants often start out with sweeping, essay-like statements (eg ‘The world of the built environment is fundamental to humanity’s survival’) and forget to explicitly state why they are passionate about property. Avoid this by building your answer around more detailed, specific reasons. These could include:

  • Your knowledge about the day-to-day work, typical clients and overall objectives of a surveyor. Why does their work fire your enthusiasm?
  • How the work that you did on your industry-related work experience has confirmed your passion for property or, conversely, how your work experience in other sectors convinced you that property was right for you.
  • Your knowledge of career progression within property and why the career path appeals to you.
  • Your understanding of the benefits working in property can have on the wider environment (eg sustainability) and the economy and why those benefits matter to you.

Stay away from the phrases ‘I’ve always been fascinated by how buildings work’ and ‘I’ve always wanted to work in property’. While they may be true, they are also clichés that Cushman & Wakefield’s recruiters have heard hundreds of times before.

A note on location: the application form also asks for a second and third choice of application alongside the location that you are directly applying for. While London arguably gives more opportunities to network, it'd be an oversight not to apply to the scattering of vacancies elsewhere in the UK if the location appeals to you more.

Answering: 'Why do you think Cushman & Wakefield should select you for their graduate programme?' (200 words)

Your answer should ultimately convey that you have the attributes needed to succeed on the scheme and, as evidenced by your response to the question above, you really want to work for the firm.

Cushman & Wakefield have previously stated that ‘ambition’ is a key quality that they look for in candidates. You can demonstrate this by showing that you’re aware of the typical career path in property and at Cushman & Wakefield, from passing the APC to progressing to partner level, which demonstrates that you’ve thought about your future at the firm. You could also highlight positions of responsibility (such as promotions in part-time jobs or committee roles in university societies) as evidence of your capability to make the most of the progression opportunities that will come your way.

Along with ambition, other key traits that Cushman & Wakefield have previously said they look for in graduate recruits are: tenacity, teamworking skills, intelligence, an entrepreneurial outlook and a clear passion for building a career in property.

Discuss how the firm’s values match up to yours. The firm’s core values, as detailed on its website, are: integrity and respect, collaboration and trust, the confidence ‘to deliver the most creative and innovative services’ and mentoring, designed to ‘attract and develop the most talented professionals’. What impresses you about these values and how do you share them?

Provide examples of when you used or developed the attributes sought by Cushman & Wakefield. These can originate from any area of your life. Here are some examples:

  • High drive, initiative and developmental potential: Examples could come from a time when you’ve tried something new (eg a new campaign to recruit members to a student society) or overcome obstacles to achieve something.
  • Ability to anticipate, analyse and solve problems: Examples could come from academic group work or occasions during extracurricular activities or work experience when you’ve faced and overcome difficulties. If you were a waiter or waitress, for example, was there a time of day when you’d be particularly busy? What did you do to ensure customers still got their correct orders in a timely fashion?

Answering the question: Name three disruptive forces driving change and state how Cushman & Wakefield can leverage them to the benefit of the business. (200 words)

This question is asking you to apply your commercial awareness and your knowledge of the property industry to Cushman & Wakefield as a business. As such, having done your research before you answer this question is absolutely key.

Read the industry press, such as Property Week or Estates Gazette, as well as newspapers and financial news, the Financial Times and The Economist. For more specific insights, property firms will typically have a ‘research’, ‘publications’ or ‘insights’ page on their website where they will publish reports and market overviews. Make sure to read these to get an insight into how Cushman & Wakefield and its competitors respond to the latest developments in the property market. You want to be able to name key transactions and deals that Cushman & Wakefield is involved in.

The most important part of this question is stating how Cushman & Wakefield can leverage the disruptive forces that you choose. Recruiters want to see you bring your own insight and analysis to your research, as well as show off your entrepreneurialism or your eye for business. Make sure your suggestions are realistic and feasible, but they probably do not need be extremely detailed – especially as you only have around 200 words to work with for all three answers.

Purely as an example, if you were applying to the planning graduate programme, you could select the development of building information modelling software as a disruptive force. You could then talk about how CushWake’s property development and planning departments would need to adapt in order to facilitate a more widespread use of this. Make sure to highlight the commercial benefit of these changes, so as to demonstrate your entrepreneurialism.

Answering CushWake’s application question: ‘Please provide details of any extracurricular experience that you have had.' (250 words)

You have a wide choice of areas to draw examples from, as the application form states: 'This can include clubs, societies, sport, travel, voluntary, charity work'. However, the emphasis is on summarising your responsibilities – there is no need to go into great detail because you can do this on your CV. However, it would be good if you explained how you have taken on new challenges and been tenacious, as these are two skills that Cushman & Wakefield particularly value.

As you only have 250 words, you need to be succinct in how you talk about your experiences, in order to best showcase the skills that Cushman & Wakefield is looking for. For example, relationship-building skills are crucial in the property industry, in order to highlight this you could talk about your role as social secretary for a university society, for example, and how you built long-term relations with other parties. Go one step further by talking about how you solved a problem or overcame a challenge in this working relationship.

The Cushman & Wakefield graduate CV

Cushman & Wakefield doesn’t state a preferred length or format for its CV, so stick to either one full page or two full pages. See these sample graduate CVs for ideas on layout.

Make sure you include all of your work experience (property-related or not) and extracurricular activities, as these are what will make you stand out. Emphasise your achievements, the attributes you developed and any positive feedback you were given. Get more advice on writing your property graduate CV here. It’s up to you how to format your CV and how strongly you want to emphasise different sections. Headings, bullet points and lists are an effective way to organise information to make it as easy as possible for the recruiter to read. Get a friend to proofread it before you send it off, so you can be sure that there aren't any spelling or grammar mistakes – they can look sloppy and won't make the best impression on Cushman & Wakefield's recruiters.

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