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How to get a job in property development

Vanessa is an Junior Consultant in the Development Consulting team in a Sydney based property development firm that acts to advice clients on planning matters. She gained a Bachelor of Property Economics at UTS with a high credit average in 2013.

Graduate property development jobs are in high demand in Sydney, and Vanessa was placed in a role within one month of graduation, here are her top 5 tips for winning the graduate rat race.

Tip 1:

Many of my Uni friends were sending blanket applications out to many firms with limited success. I decided that I would take a more specific approach and target three to four employers that appealed to me most. I wanted to show them that I had taken a key interested in their firm, and knew that the extra mile in my cover letter would set me apart from other applicants. Marks and work experience only mean so much, you need to take it some step further and know your audience.

I will admit that when you are comparing the few top firms, picking areas of differentiation can be hard… they all offer a broad range of services and their websites will pretty much mirror each other. I would go beyond the generic spill about, ‘being down-to-earth at recruitment fairs and industry events’ and pushing the attraction of their work culture and focus more on the versatility of their development consulting work.

Tip 2:

My work experience definitely helped me to get my job. I had worked at the local council in its planning department, which I can assure you was bland work!! To be honest, any property development company will know the nature of your work experience, so there is no point boosting up the job description in your resume. I instead spun the experience to explain that I gained “commercial awareness and professionalism”, I said that the role  and gave me insights into what aspects of the work I liked best – which led me to property development.

Tip 3:

There is much your university can do to help you to find jobs while you’re still under their roof, UTS is wonderful with their student engagement. You will regret it if you do not take advantage of their resources. I made myself attend just one career fair while at university and it was such a great opportunity to meet recruiters. I asked them specifically how to phrase things in my application, what they were looking for in grads, and what firms were looking for grads. It really made the application process easier, and plus  – at one particular firm, the HR official that received my application remembered me from the fair.

Tip 4:

When you go to an interview you should have researched the company and the industry thoroughly. This means more than simply surfing their website page for 20 minutes. The company I work at is a huge, multi-disciplinary company with a variety of skill lines. I worked out what I could offer the company on a business level in respect to each of these skill lines. In retrospect this was a great move because I was asked, “what can I bring to the company”, and having previously learnt what they do on a day to day basis made my answer fit seamlessly to their workplace.

More specifically, be clued into how government legislation might affect that firm, I was asked how the upcoming election might affect the firm’s practice. Research, Read and substantiate your answers.

Tip 5:

While you need to speak well, I initially tried to convince the interviewer that I was competent enough to do the job already. However, the impression you want to get across is about emphasising your willingness to learn and show that I had potential in the firm.

How do you do this? Talk about the breadth of the property development industry.


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