Graduate jobs 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
Larger property firms typically open their graduate schemes to applications in either September or October, with deadlines falling between November and January. Interviews and assessment centres are usually held in January or February.
Recently, a handful of positions have been advertised in the Spring and early Summer. These are more likely to be positions at estate agents and in the property departments of house-builders and construction firms, rather than at traditional property firms. Candidates should be mindful of whether an individual graduate job will give you the experience required to become chartered.
Plan your job hunt for the following academic year! Whether you are a finalist or you’re still in your first or second year, know when to apply for schemes and internships and when to be concentrating on university and building your skills. Take a look at our handy graduate property job hunt timeline to help you in your search.
Property graduate scheme application forms
The application process will vary depending on the employer, but you will usually need to fill out an online application form. This will likely involve inputting your details, the details of your qualifications, education and work experience and answering a number of application questions. These questions will be used to determine your motivations for applying and whether you have the skills necessary to become a graduate property surveyor. This may very well be your first opportunity to impress prospective employers.
Property CVs and covering letters
Some property firms may also ask you to submit a CV and covering letter alongside an application form. It is very important that you tailor these to the property industry and to the employer in question, as opposed to sending the same generic CV out to every single employer.
Your CV needs to include details of your education, your work experience and your skills, achievements and extracurricular activities. 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. Find out more about write and format the best graduate property CV to show your best side and even see CV templates here.
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. Read more essential covering letter advice here.
Crucially, get somebody else to proofread your application. Small spelling and grammar mistakes can easily slip through and may give employers the wrong impression. After all, communication is a key skill in the property industry, and you want to show that you can communicate clearly.
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.
The work that you carry out will vary depending on the market and area of property that you specialise in. For instance, in the commercial property market you will work with clients who are motivated by business decisions, while in the residential market you will also encounter people who have more personal reasons for seeking a surveyor's advice
- More advice on all aspects of getting a job in the property sector can be found at TARGETjobs Property sector page .
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.
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.
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.