A career in estate agency is one of the most sought after, and with good reason. It offers progression, great benefits and job satisfaction. No two days will be alike – one moment you could be advising nervous first time buyers about the sales process, the next you might be on Billionaire’s Row valuing a 14-bed mansion. What could be more exciting than marketing hundreds of properties, thriving on the buzz of sales negotiations or enjoying the satisfaction that comes from knowing you helped a family find their dream home?
Naturally, it’s a competitive industry and to get that first footing on the ladder can be tough – tough that is if you don’t have the inside scoop…
Here are our top tips to help you become a trainee estate agent:
Research, research, research!
Ask any recruiter – there’s nothing worse than candidates who apply for jobs they don’t really want. What a massive waste of time for all parties involved. To secure a trainee estate agent position, it’s important that you have a real interest in the profession and can demonstrate it. There’s much more to the role than you may think, so make sure you do plenty of research into it before submitting your CV.
Reading industry websites like Property Industry Eye, Estate Agent Today and NFOPP will help you gain a better understanding of the sector. Or you could seek out some guides, top tips and ‘day in the life‘ pieces that have been produced by those in know – chiefly estate agents, specialist recruiters (like us) and careers services. These can offer a more realistic picture of the role, with handy hints for increasing your chances of getting that job.
Get sales or customer facing experience
As a customer facing role, it’s likely that you’ll need to exercise your powers of persuasion, negotiation skills, patience and empathy. Plus you’ll need to demonstrate that you can deal with tight deadlines, inflexible vendors, anxious buyers and tough landlords. To prepare for this kind of role, it can be a good idea (especially if you’re fresh out of full-time education) to get some sales or customer service experience. This might be behind the till at Tesco or manning the phone lines at a call centre – anything that exposes you to a sales/ customer service environment and allows you to develop those skills which employers are looking for. Of course you’ll receive training when you get your trainee job, but if you already possess some relevant experience, it’ll really help your case.
Register with a specialist recruiter
Job hunting is hard work. It’s time consuming and requires a heck of a lot of commitment. So why not outsource your search to someone else? That’s effectively what you do when you go through an agency.
To increase your chances of both identifying a vacancy and landing an interview, register with a specialist recruitment agency, like Property Personnel. Agencies like ours have strong relationships with many successful property companies and have access to the best jobs, often before they are advertised on the big jobs boards. That means you will be advised of roles ahead of the crowd. And that’s not all you’ll get…
Let your recruiter help you
Once you’ve registered, you’ll quickly see that specialist recruiters can provide you with lots of advice and guidance. It’s a good idea to meet with your recruiter so you can take advantage of their expertise and insight – you wouldn’t get this if you applied to a company direct. They can help you with your CV, with interview techniques and give you honest feedback which can improve subsequent applications.
It’s a two-way process though; you need to help your recruiter to help you. Tell them what it is you want in a role and if there’s anything you wouldn’t consider – i.e. more than a half hour commute, etc. Keep the lines of communication open – answer the phone and respond to any emails so that they can do their best to find your perfect placement. Essentially, if you can take on board what your recruiter advises and work with them, you can improve your employment prospects significantly.
Research the employer
To enhance your chances of reaching the next stage in the recruitment process, it’s crucial to know as much as you can about the company you’re applying to. Many people only do this at interview stage, but here’s a top tip: if you can do it while formulating your initial application and cover letter, you could make your CV stand out from the rest.
The company’s website and the job description will state their values, goals and the essential attributes they want – all elements that you can try to incorporate in your application. For example, if they are passionate about giving back to the community, highlight any voluntary experience you have gained. If they’ve won awards for their customer service, mention what a fantastic communicator you are. Recruiters only have seconds to review a CV, so yours must clearly show that you are a good match. What’s the point in doing this? It shows that you are genuinely interested in working for that company – and that will do wonders for you.
Dress for success
It will come as no surprise to learn that what you wear is important. As we’ve mentioned above, the trainee estate agent role is a front line, customer-facing one; you’ll be meeting lots of people and representing your agency, so it’s vital that you’re dressed professionally and smartly. Buyers, vendors and landlords trust you to help them buy, sell or manage what’s probably their most expensive asset, so you need to look the part. If in doubt, suit it up. A jacket is pretty much a pre-requisite, whether it’s over a shirt and trousers or a smart dress. You’ll also feel far more professional when dressed in a suit. On that note, don’t be offended if you’re asked to remove any piercings or hide any tattoos, too.
Be honest with yourself – are you right for sales?
Before you click send on your online application, ask yourself whether estate agency really is the right career path for you. Do you have the required drive, determination and confidence to make those sales? Could you be sufficiently resilient and motivated to bounce back from deals that don’t come to fruition? Have you the ability to work under pressure? Be honest – ask yourself and the people that know you well whether this is the job for you. There will be long nights, scary phone calls and difficult personalities to tackle, so you need to be made of the right stuff.
However, there will also be successes, celebrations and people who are truly grateful for your help. You’ll be working in an exciting industry with amazing and supportive colleagues. As a trainee estate agent, you could really make a difference to someone’s life by finding them their perfect place to live. How does that sound?