How to find your first job or take your next step in Property

Published: 25 Sep 2015 By Alex Moore, Rebecca Neville and Hazel Whittaker - Trusted Advisors at Macdonald & Company

1.    #BeConnected

Alex Moore - It’s important to start knowing ‘who is who’ in the industry before starting your search. Those that have a good knowledge will look as though they have a greater understanding of who is doing what within a particular organisation.  When attending an interview it’s important to meet with a variety of different people to really understand the options that will be available to you.

Rebecca Neville - Use your personal and social network! Speak to peers to find out what is happening in the market and where they work.  Ask to meet more senior people over a coffee to get on their radar and to show you are serious, professional and willing. Likewise, the best way to properly judge an employer is to meet them face to face as job descriptions aren’t always inspiring, so go in and have a chat even if the role doesn’t tick all the boxes initially.

Hazel Whittaker - Be organised and start looking before you graduate or leave college.  Speak to peers, tutors, colleagues, and visiting speakers about their role, what their career path involved and about the company they work for.  Email, pick up the phone and you’ll be surprised the time people will give to you.  They’ll be impressed and keen to hear about how interested you are in the company and their role (people love to talk about themselves and share information!)

2.    Know the market.

Alex Moore - Understanding your market you are interested in is paramount. Interviewing can be tough and ensuring you know about current developments, recent sale prices or PSF (Price Per Square Foot) in a particular area can really make you stand out.

Hazel Whittaker - Think – write down what you want from a role, from a company, gaps in your skill set and the strengths you want to pursue.  This will help focus your search regarding the role and regarding your employer of choice.  Who do you admire and where you want to be, in 5 or 10 years?  This will understandably change but if you are focused at the start your role will naturally grow and develop.  You will have the control to take your career in the direction you want over someone pointing you in the right direction.  If you want a big corporate firm, aim for that, if you prefer smaller boutique firms then focus your attention there.

3.    Study a property related degree.

Alex Moore – Job seekers that have studied at a top university that is recognised for their property courses will of course put you in good stead. However, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee you an interview or even a place, especially when the majority of the leading property consultancies receive thousands of applications. 

4.    Research what options are available to you.

Alex Moore - Whether you’re looking at going into sales, lettings, doing your APC or looking into acquisitions it’s important to think about what you want to do now, but also where you want to be in 3, 5 or even 10 years time.  Consider using LinkedIn and other digital channels to explore people’s career and the moves they’ve made.

Hazel Whittaker - Choose a specialism you are most interested in, progress and become an expert in your field.  If this ends up being a lower salary at the start, it will pay dividends in the future.  Knowledge is always king.

Rebecca Neville - Focus your search, think about the type of companies you would like to work for and what is most important to you. This will help your recruiter if you are using one and will stop you spending every night applying for hundreds of jobs. Also avoid sending your CV to every recruitment agency you find on google - pick one that will proactively help you and is recognised as the best in the industry.

5.    Choose a leading property recruitment consultancy.

Alex Moore - There are several property recruiters in the UK, choose one to represent you. As it’s a very well connected industry it’s paramount that you are selective with the people you expose your details too.  If you use the leading recruitment consultancy you are ensuring your details will only be shared with the options you discussed with your consultant, we are the only recruitment consultancy approved by RICS. 

Rebecca Neville - This is particularly true if you want to explore a new avenue as they will be able to tell you how to go about it and if it is realistic.  The most professional recruiters won’t mind if you use them for advice etc as they will value the long term relationship.

Hazel Whittaker - Create or update your Linkedin Profile! Linkedin is one of the tools used by both the recruitment teams within property companies and recruiters to search for suitable candidates. It is also often the first place employers look once they receive your CV. Make sure it includes your professional photograph, education details, any relevant job experience and any recommendations from previous employers if applicable.

6.    Fail to prepare? Prepare to fail!

Rebecca Neville - Write a clear and concise CV. Update your CV on an ongoing basis so that you don’t forget achievements. Avoid using generic terms such as “team player” and focus on specifics such as location, clients and deals. Make sure it is immediately clear to whomever’s desk your CV passes what you want to do and what makes you suitable for the opportunity.

Hazel Whittaker – Take your time and don’t rush, panic, become flustered when applying, fully research your area and get it right from the start.  Don’t put pressure on yourself and have the confidence to go for what YOU want, friends and family aren’t the ones who will be working the role, just you.

Macdonald & Company is the leading professional recruitment consultancy for the real estate and built environment sectors. Established in 1994 and headquartered in the UK, we apply local knowledge with true global connection through our offices in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

Our specialist teams act for every class  of organisation owning, occupying, financing or advising on property, construction and engineering – developers, investors, institutions, funds, banks, consultancies and contractors. We are the preferred recruitment partner of RICS - the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. #BeConnected

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