Searching for jobs can be a stressful and time-consuming experience. These hints and tips will help you to secure those vital interviews with the minimum fuss.
A covering letter can sometimes be harder to write than a CV. Indicate the position for which you are applying; the employer may already know, but may also have advertised more than one position. Be helpful and be clear about what you want. Do not waste time with pleasantries. And do not add information you have not considered important enough to include in your CV.
A proven methodology is to call attention to a section of your CV that you believe is of particular interest in relation to the position. A handwritten letter is preferred as it will set you apart from the pack. So few candidates take the time and care to present their application this way. If you truly believe the role is right for you, a handwritten letter displays the seriousness of your application whilst giving that important personal approach – good recruitment is about personality. This is, of course, unless your handwriting is difficult to decipher. If this is the case, you would be wise to type it up instead!
Whatever medium you are using to apply for a vacancy, your covering letter/email is a key differentiator. An astonishing number of application letters are verbose or convey little additional appropriate information. Keep your covering letter brief, a maximum of one side of A4, but clearly state your case.
Preparing a CV
A carefully prepared and well-presented CV is the most important device you can use in a search for employment. If your CV is informative and interesting to read, it will open doors for you.
These simple tips can help ensure that your CV makes a great first impression.
A CV should be typed or printed on good quality, white or off-white paper. Complex layouts or coloured papers will not win you any points within a conservative profession. Each CV should, ideally, be individually prepared for each specific application.
Include in this order:
- Biographical data: name, address, phone number etc.
- Education. Qualifications.
- Current employment.
- Salary (current and/or requirement)
- Miscellaneous additional information.
Dos and Don’ts
- Do remember to put your address and contact details on the CV, not just on the covering letter.
- Do include the number of GCSEs you hold. The subjects of your GCSEs are less important.
- Do provide full information on your ‘A’ Levels: number, subjects and grades.
- Do describe your degree by subject, level achieved and where gained.
- Don’t offer information about failed professional examinations. If you have had to take your examinations more than once, your CV should indicate only the date of passing without referral. If the subject is raised in your interview, of course you must be frank. But if you don’t raise it, the subject may not come up.
- Do include honours if they are relevant. Academic or professional honours, in areas that relate to property, are of obvious relevance. Your swimming prize and acting trophy may not be, unless of course you know for a fact that your interviewer is passionate about those subjects.
- Do describe your current and past employment fully but briefly. Include the name of the employer, your title and dates, month and year of employment. If you believe that something in your past experience is particularly relevant to the position in question make sure to mention it.
- Do apply for positions where there is a reasonable match between your qualifications and those sought. Don’t worry if the match isn’t 100 per cent; it almost never is and you lose little by trying. If the population of highly qualified experts needed for a particular position is limited, it is more likely that the employer will have to make some compromise.
- Do keep your opinions to yourself. For instance, why should the employer trust your judgement more than their own about your suitability for the job? The same holds true for criticisms of former or current employers. All such opinions indicate is your lack of discretion.
- Do include outside interests and activities, which show an outgoing nature or have a bearing on the job. The fact that you speak fluent French or German will be important to a firm with European clients. Employers are increasingly looking for evidence of self-reliance and adventure.
- Don’t include anything that might create a negative impression. Your political or religious affiliations and participation in controversial activities or groups are best left out.
- Don’t put referees on a CV. When they are required, they will be asked for.
- Finally, proof read your CV at least twice. Ideally, get somebody to proof read it for you. If you have word-processed the CV, always use the spell checker (but don’t rely on it entirely as it doesn’t check grammar e.g. there/their), and save the file with an appropriate filename.
If you would like to have an informal and confidential chat about your career in property, contact Macdonald & Company on 0207 629 7220.