When creating your CV, it is important to remember what you actually need it for. Whilst it won’t get you the job of your dreams, it will hopefully get you an interview with a company you want to work for. Research shows that the average recruiter only spends 20 to 30 seconds glancing at a CV, so it is essential that yours has the capacity to grab the recruiter’s attention very quickly, making him or her really want to meet you.
Now, because property is such a competitive field to move into, you must display a passion for working in that particular area. Just tweaking an existing CV isn’t enough when you’re trying to land a job as an estate agent or similar role. Use your CV – along with the cover letter – to explain exactly why you want to work in property and how you’d be perfect.
There is no one way of writing a CV, but below are some useful tips on what we believe should, and perhaps as importantly, should not be included in a CV for a role in property:
The perfect CV for a job in property, in 10 steps:
1. Keep it brief
Only in exceptional circumstances should a CV be more than two pages, and any shorter and you may keep the reader guessing. Avoid fancy typefaces or graphics and make sure it is black on white. Your CV is a business document and should be presented as such. Whilst the font you use is your personal preference, use only that font throughout the document. We would recommend either Arial, Tahoma or Times New Roman, font size 11.
2. Start with your personal details
Keep this part short and include name, address, home telephone number, mobile number and e-mail address. The more contact details you give, the easier people will find it to get in contact with you and this will inevitably speed up the recruitment process. Date of birth and nationality are optional. Whilst being married is usually viewed as a plus point as it shows stability and more life experience, we do not recommend including names and ages of children.
3. Make your personal statement work for you
Your personal statement is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of your CV, so much so that it can make the difference as to whether you get an interview or not. It is your opportunity to sell yourself to a future employer (or a recruiter) so make sure you make the most of it. Ideally it should be no more than 5 or 6 lines of your CV and it should explain who you are, what can you can ‘bring to the table’, and what your career goals are. When applying for specific roles, we recommend you use the job description to help you identify the specific skills the employer is looking for and then make sure you mention you have these in your statement.
4. Include details of your education
Whereabouts in your CV you include details of your education should depend on your individual situation. If your educational background is your strongest selling point and can potentially set you apart from the competition, then we would advise you include your education straight after your personal statement. Good examples where we would advise you put education before employment would be where you have recently graduated from a top university with impressive academic results or perhaps have gained a qualification that is essential for the role you are applying for.
However, if your work experience is more impressive than your educational background, we would advise you put employment before education. Either way, this section should outline both your professional and academic qualifications. You should start with your most recent first and always include dates, results and place of study. We would, however, advise you not to include details of every exam you have ever passed since infant school, just the more recent and relevant ones.
5. Put your current job first
Put your current or most recent job at the top and use reverse chronology throughout. What you are doing now is what counts, not where you started.
6. Make it easy to read
Put your current organisation and job together with the relevant dates. Use a bold heading, and always remember that upper and lower case headings are much easier to read than EVERYTHING IN CAPITALS.
7. Make it easy for the reader to pick out your success in each job
Have a heading for ‘Major achievements’ followed by no fewer than three, and no more than six, bullet points succinctly outlining your achievements. A few sentences after the bullet points should explain in more detail the role and context. Repeat the same format for each of your previous jobs but make each progressively shorter.
8. Add a ‘Skills’ section
This point gives you the opportunity to list any skills that might be useful to a potential employer, such as language or computer skills. If listing your language skills, always give the level of ability: basic, fluent or mother tongue. With computer skills, list the software applications or programmes you can use and your level of proficiency: basic or advanced.
9. Include extra-curricular or other interesting personal activities,
Adding these hobbies and interests are fine, but put them these at the end of your CV. This section gives you the opportunity to outline any major achievements or positions of responsibility you may have outside of work. Potential employers are often interested in positions of leadership or responsibility, or where you have been interacting with others.
10. Finally, give references
The norm is to provide two referees from previous places of employment, but if you have only had one previous employer you may want to give an academic reference or a family friend who is in a profession. If possible provide telephone numbers, as many employers prefer to take up verbal rather than written references and this again will speed up the process. Should you find that you are short of space on your CV, you can save room by writing ‘References available upon request’ at the bottom of your CV.
The body of a CV can normally be split into six areas:
- Personal details
- Personal statement
- Work experience
N.B. As mentioned above, you may find that as your career progresses you may want to put work experience before education.
The Do’s and Don’ts:
- Keep your CV to two pages
- Use black font on a white background
- Pay attention to presentation. It must be a well-produced, business-like document that is well structured. This gives the impression that you think logically and makes it easier to review
- Make it clear and easy to read
- Pay close attention to reply instructions in advertisements (e.g. Spelling of the contact’s name)
- Get a third party to check your spelling and grammar. You will be amazed how often the title ‘Curriculum Vitae’ is spelt incorrectly; not a great start!
- Avoid self-opinion
- Do not use fancy fonts, colours or graphics
- Include a photograph of yourself unless specifically asked for
- Do not misrepresent yourself. Remain factual or you will get caught out on interview
- Do not use the third party when describing yourself. Use ‘I’ and ‘me’ rather than your name
- Do not include salary details or expectations
- Do not add ‘bought’ qualifications such as IOD and BIM
- Do not include irrelevant information such as passport and driving licence numbers
- Avoid front page indexes
- Never block-write your job descriptions. Bullet points are much easier to read
Once you have prepared your CV, why not use our job search page to find the perfect job.