How To Prepare The Best CV – The Expert’s Guide
We’ve been recruiting for the property industry for more than 20 years. I personally joined the BBL group and founded BBL Property back in the 90s and, in the intervening years, I’ve seen more CVs than you’ve had hot dinners.
I’ve seen every mistake in the book, alongside some of the finest examples of good CV building you’ll ever want to see. It’s helped me put together a clear picture of what should and shouldn’t make it on to your CV. Laid out below are the sub-headings I would want to see included, in the order they should appear:
Name, full address, phone number (s) and email at the top are essential. Though tempting, do not withhold address details, as postcodes are important (for plotting patch proximity). As a professionally accredited organisation, all data must be held in strict accordance with the law, so there’s no risk of breach whatsoever. With any reputable recruitment agency, your data is safe.
There is talk of regulations coming in regarding names on CVs. Like your address, it might be tempting not to include one to ensure you’re treated evenly regardless of your name, but one CV without a name in a sea of others that did include it is only going to be looked upon negatively. Wait for the regulations and, in the meantime, be up-front, confident and open.
I would want to see 3-5 lines here, elaborating (concisely) on your experience and ensuring relevance to the application in question. Try where you can not to standardise this, the extra effort to make it bespoke to the employer you are targeting will be beneficial.
Also try and avoid the standard platitudes and empty statements that often frequent these areas. You are a unique professional with a unique background and set of skills – your profile should reflect this.
An absolutely crucial filter for many recruiters. If they’re looking for a Chartered Surveyor, then whatever you do don’t bury your most important qualification. Put it prominently, complete with date obtained and membership number.
Likewise, any other pertinent qualifications should be included. In the interest of concision though, these shouldn’t include anything irrelevant.
In my opinion, there’s no need to list the institutions or colleges, just the subjects and the grades (Eg. BSc (hons) Estate Management – 1st Class).
For a senior property position, this information is important but secondary to work experience – don’t over-elaborate and take up valuable page space.
This should be laid out with the most recent first, formatted with dates (start and end) for each role, employer name and job title. Underneath, you should include a clear list of duties, ideally in a bullet point format.
Do not copy & paste your official job description. This will include subjective traits unique to your current role, distracting from your ability to complete the proposed role effectively. Instead, focus on putting together a concise list of exactly what you do, with the most prominent part of your remit first.
Hobbies, Interests & Other
A quick summary of anything pertinent that doesn’t fall into the categories laid out above. As is customary, do include a line on your interests / passions which is a good way of ‘humanising’ your CV. Your likeability is an important and underestimated part of your appeal as an employee; showing that you’re passionate about something outside of work is a good step towards that.
It also shows that you have some balance in your life, which is an important part of dealing with stress and a positive indicator to a future employer of your ability to seamlessly handle what they’re offering.
Beyond layout, relevance is key. It is so important to emphasise those skills either matching or directly relevant to the job you are applying for, as opposed to leaving them buried under multiple bullet points.
So for a building surveyor seeking a role in residential valuation, inspection/survey experience is more relevant than project management and contract administration, even though professionally they may have carried out both in equal measure.
Employers scan for relevant key words before reading the CV in detail, so make sure what is most apparent is most relevant to avoid getting overlooked.
BBL Property are the UK’s leading property recruitment agency. If you’re seeking a new role in the property sector, you can register your CV with us today (for free). We’ll be in touch to explore the options we have available.
Greg created and developed the BBL Property brand from scratch when he joined the wider BBL group in the late 90s. With unrivalled levels of experience in his chosen recruitment specialisms, he is widely regarded as the leading residential surveying recruiter in the UK. Greg writes our expert articles in collaboration with his experienced team.