Graduate jobs in property

How to get a job in property

Property can be a competitive sector, but there is a well-defined route for graduates to follow to become a property surveyor or planner. To become a property surveyor or planner graduates can join a graduate scheme with an employer. Employers can include property firms, firms that specialise in a single function of property, such as development, and organisations with large property portfolios.

Applying to property graduate schemes

Most large property employers' graduate schemes are open to applications now! Deadlines typically fall between November and January.

Visit the employer hub pages to read ‘How to get hired’ advice on property firms’ specific application advice:

Property graduate scheme application forms

Application forms vary depending on the employer. Some simply require you to fill in some biographical information and contact details and then upload a CV and covering letter. This is the case with Knight Frank, Savills and BNP Paribas Real Estate's application processes.

Other application forms will be more in depth, requiring details of your qualifications, education and work experience, for instance, as well as asking a number of application questions. These questions will vary from employer to employer and are used to determine your motivations for applying and whether you have the skills necessary to become a graduate property surveyor. Examples of employers who use a longer application form include Cushman and Wakefield and Gerald Eve.

You may also be required to complete an online aptitude test or a situational judgement test. JLL's application process includes a situational judgement test.

  • Find out how to answer tricky ‘why do you want a job in property’ questions
  • Read more about answering ‘give us an example of a time when’ questions.
  • Need advice on completing psychometric tests or want to try out a practice test? Click through here.
  • How to write impressive graduate property CVs

    Your CV needs to include details of your education, your work experience and your skills, achievements and extracurricular activities. It is very important that you tailor these to the property industry and to the employer in question. These do not all need to be directly relevant to the property industry. However, the best candidates will know to link skills and qualities developed through unrelated activities to the requirements for the graduate surveying role.

    Creating impressive property covering letters

    Covering letters are your opportunity to build on the details your presented in your CV and application form and create a narrative which shows recruiters why you are right for the job that you are applying for. Your covering letter should include paragraphs on why you are good for the rule and why the employer is interesting to you. Remember to close by thanking the employer and advising them of when you would be available for interview.

    Graduate property interviews

    The stage following the application form and aptitude test is typically the interview. These can be face-to-face, over the phone or through an online video interview system.

    Further interviews and assessment centres are usually held in January or February.

    What is it like to work in the property sector?

    Surveyors and planners are based in offices and their work typically follows a standard nine-to-five pattern. However, large amounts of time will be spent travelling to sites and properties or visiting clients. There is also a significant social aspect to these roles and networking is not uncommon. These can occur out of hours.

    Do I need to network or join a professional body?

    Whatever stage you're at in your degree or job search, networking can be an invaluable resource for gaining advice. It can be as easy as attending a dedicated networking event, using the contacts you already have or joining in with conversations online. Networking may even lead to finding out about internship or job opportunities.

    Find out more about the benefits of networking and how you can get started here.

    Membership to a relevant professional body, likely to be either the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), will bring a number of benefits that may be useful throughout your job hunt and the upcoming academic year. As well as access to a number of academic resources and publications, you will also be able to attend networking events or talks, enter property-related competitions and even get involved in volunteering opportunities. These can help you get noticed by employers and will supply you with concrete examples to point to in applications and interviews that will demonstrate you interest in the industry.

    Read more about what benefits membership to a property professional body can have here.

    Top skills to get a job in the property industry

    Recruiters are looking for graduates who will become successful property professionals and the following skills will show that you have this potential:

    • Communication. Property surveyors will be working with people and clients from different backgrounds and will need to be able to communicate their own viewpoint in a clear manner. Negotiating skills are another important skill for surveyors and planners to have. Property firms may include presentations as an exercise in assessment centres in order to evaluate candidates' communication skills.
    • Relationship building. Property is considered to be a 'social' sector as there is a focus on building and maintaining relationships with clients and other property professionals. Surveyors and planners may need to work closely with clients, developers, construction firms and planning authorities. You can develop your networking skills and get job-hunting advice through attending formal networking events.
    • Commercial awareness. The property sector is influenced by, and in turn influences, many other industries. Employers are looking for candidates who are able to see how current affairs will affect the property industry and are able to stay up to date with industry news. Clients of property firms will also be from many different industries and, in order to advise them in the best way, surveyors will need to have an understanding of the goings-on in the client's industry.
      Read more about staying commercially aware in the property industry.
    • Attention to detail. As property professionals work closely with clients, attention to detail is crucial as any mistakes may impact your employer's relationship with this client. Preparing reports and planning applications and carrying out property valuations also require a strong attention to detail. This can be developed through work experience, such as updating a database.
    • Entrepreneurialism. Surveyors and planners need to be able to spot opportunities to increase the value of land and make the most of these as they present themselves. Joining or setting up an entrepreneurial society at university, or even starting your own business, can show employers that you have this skill.
    • Find out more about the skills that property recruiters are looking for here.


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