Gerald Eve’s application is relatively straightforward compared to other graduate employers (there are no video interviews or psychometric tests, for instance), but its online application form is not to be underestimated. With six application questions and a covering letter to write from scratch (as well as a tailored CV), it’s going to be time consuming. Don’t be tempted to adapt a previously written application for another property firm, however; Gerald Eve look for specific attributes in their graduates, so adapting an application written for another firm will surely end in rejection.
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 that you share Gerald Eve’s values
On the 'about us' section of its website, Gerald Eve highlights its four values that it believes differentiate it from its competitors – these are the key to your application. Across your CV, covering letter and application form answers, you want to show that you embody these values. Don’t just list these out in every answer box, though – you need to back your claims up with evidence. A good place to go into detail about this is the covering letter.
Gerald Eve’s values are:
- Trust and integrity
Trust and integrity and respect both concern your professional behaviour and how you present yourself. Think of examples of times from previous work experience or extracurricular activities when you have stuck firm to your values or gone out of your way to help others. What positions of responsibility have you held – how have they shown that others have placed their trust in you? Showing your organisational skills is also relevant here; perhaps you served as treasurer for a university society?
Respect and friendliness concern your communication and relationship-building skills. This is a crucial skill for surveyors, as you will be working with clients over a long period of time. A part of this is client care, which you can demonstrate with examples of any client- or customer-facing work experience you have. You can find out more about the skill of customer care (and how you can demonstrate it) here.
In previous years, Gerald Eve’s recruiters have stated that they are looking for applicants with ‘personality and spark’. While this exact wording isn’t explicitly asked for, the value of friendliness approaches similar territory. Gerald Eve wants to work with someone who is easy to work with, who has excellent teamworking skills, but is also not just another ‘corporate clone’. ‘Wacky’ CVs and extravagant The Apprentice-style hyperbole aren’t the way to go to show your ‘personality’. Instead, focus on revealing your personality through going into detail about your extracurricular activities, interests, achievements and the responsibilities. Explaining how you raised £300 for charity by running a half-marathon in a costume or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, for example, will do this.
Excellence speaks for itself to a certain degree. Ensure your property knowledge is up-to-scratch and that you’ve kept abreast of the latest goings on in the industry. And double check that there aren’t any typos in your application. Excellence is in the details, after all.
How to answer Gerald Eve’s application form questions
For each of these questions, Gerald Eve asks that you keep to 1,000 characters. The answer box will allow you to type more than this, so it is especially important that you stick to this character count. It may be advisable to type up your answers in a word processor beforehand, so you can keep track of this. Being able to communicate in a concise way is an important skill that you want to demonstrate in your answers. Below we’ve broken down what you should be aiming to cover in each answer:
‘Why are you interested in working in a commercial property consultancy?’
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.
- You need to say:
- Why commercial property and
- 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.
‘Why do you want to become a Chartered Surveyor at Gerald Eve?’
How to approach:
- 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.
- Explain why you want to carry out the job at Gerald Eve. Be as specific as you can. 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 'media’ section of the firm’s website). If you’ve completed work experience or an internship at Gerald Eve, or if you’ve spoken to a representative from it at a careers fair, now would be a good place to explain why this caused the firm to appeal to you. You could talk about how the variety of tasks, the APC support and working environment at Gerald Eve would suit you.
‘Please give an example of a challenge you have faced and what you learned from this.’
How to approach:
- Your choice of example will say a lot about you. The key to answering this question is being able to articulate what you learned from the challenge. Make sure to choose a challenge that was sizable, but that you overcame. Talk about how your actions contributed to a positive result and what you would do differently in the future.
- 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 skills), for example. A challenge that involved some planning, creative thinking and problem solving would also go down well.
- Examples of challenges you’ve faced could come from: your university course; part-time work; fundraising/sponsorship activities you took part in for charity; sporting events for which you had to train and other extracurricular activities; 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.
‘What do you think will be 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, what challenges could there be for Gerald Eve in increasing their European presence when Eurozone economies are still unsettled and once Brexit has taken place?
- 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 communication style to deal with different people.’
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 you hold and how you will apply these to being a successful surveyor.’
How to approach:
- Note the word ‘describe’: you need to go beyond just listing your skills – you need to explain why each of your skill would be important for a graduate surveyor to have.
- Relate your skills to specific responsibilities and work that surveyors must carry out.
- Make sure that your response focuses on transferable skills rather than solely on technical knowledge. A graduate assistant planning consultant said one of the key skills he needed was time management and multi-tasking.
- To select the skills, draw on what you’ve observed during your work experience and check out the skills typical property employers want.
How to convince in your 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
Traditionally 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.
Check for any mistakes before you send off your application. You don’t want to click ‘Apply’ and then realise you’ve got the name of the firm mixed up with a competitor. Vanessa Briggs, HR manager at Gerald Eve advises: 'Don't underappreciate the small things – for example, spelling the firm's name correctly – as these can let candidates down.' Having someone else proofread your application just before you send it is a good way to avoid any careless mistakes that could cost your dearly.