Savills is a very popular graduate employer. To stand out to recruiters it is important to tailor your application by doing your research and providing solid reasons for wanting to work for the firm.
application process | CV and covering letter | video interview | assessment centre | interview
The Savills application process
The application form for Savills involves filling in the usual contact details, education and work background, as well as:
- uploading a covering letter
- uploading a CV
Your Savills graduate CV and covering letter
Both your CV and covering letter should be tailored to Savills; recruiters can spot a ‘blanket application’ a mile off and won’t be impressed. Make sure you sell your skills and values in the covering letter and match these to the skills and values Savills is looking for.
Writing a graduate CV for Savills
Use the competencies that Savills seek as the basis for your CV. Use the same terms that Savills uses and weave these into the CV. Do include part-time jobs and involvement in university activities, particularly if they demonstrate the skills the firm is looking for, such as the ability to operate as part of a team.
Make sure to format your CV clearly and neatly, so as to make it as easy as possible for recruiters to read. You can also use formatting to highlight times when you have demonstrated the skills that Savills is in particularly looking for, such as determination, communication skills and decision making skills.
What to include in you Savills graduate covering letter
Your covering letter is an opportunity to expand on the details and experience that you have included in your CV. The purpose of this letter is to explain to recruiters why you are applying to Savills specifically and why you are suitable for that particular graduate scheme. Use your letter to construct a narrative that incorporates your previous experiences and skills, and which builds to you applying to Savills' graduate scheme.
Provide examples of when you have developed the skills Savills seeks; you can use examples from university, part-time jobs, societies you’ve been a part of or any gap year experiences. It’s important to link your abilities to the area in which you’re hoping to work. For example, if you are applying to the commercial graduate scheme you should be aware that transactions tend to be longer and that you need to build up strong, on-going relationships with clients. Describe why this suits you. Perhaps one of the things you enjoyed most about your part-time job in a pub was developing your client relationship-building skills through interacting with regular customers.
You will also need to persuade why you particularly want to work for Savills. Write about what attracts you to the firm – to stop this sounding like hollow flattery, relate your reasons back to yourself to include how you think you will develop professionally and achieve your career goals at Savills.
It is always preferred for you to address your covering letter to a specific person, rather than using a general 'Dear Sir or Madam'. If the name of the specific person at Savills is not included in the job listing, you may be able to stand out from the crowd by contacting Savills in order to find out who to address the letter to. Remember to use ‘yours sincerely’ if you are able to address your covering letter to a name.
For both your CV and covering letter make sure they are free from spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Give it to a family member or careers advisor to look over – a fresh set of eyes can often spot mistakes more easily.
The Savills video interview
You may be invited to complete a video interview after the initial CV and covering letter application, depending on the graduate scheme you apply for and whether you specify a specific pathway. Savills says that no ‘pre-preparation’ is required for this but it is wise to familiarise yourself with the different video interview formats, the main things to be aware of in each and how to portray yourself in a professional way.
The Savills assessment centre
If your online application is successful you will be invited to attend an assessment centre in January. Savills don’t give many details about the content of the assessment centre, but past candidates have revealed it usually takes place in London and lasts a day. Savills specify that there will not be a formal interview during the assessment centre itself.
Accounts of the assessment days differ, but, from what previous candidates have said, it could include:
You can find out more about property assessment centres here.
Get ready for your interview with Savills
The final stage of the application process is an interview, which is usually held in London but can, on occasion, be held in a regional office.
Plan your journey in advance and make sure you arrive in plenty of time. The dress code at Savills is smart office wear: a suit for men and a smart blouse and skirt/trousers or a dress for women. If you choose to wear heels, make sure they are a manageable height.
Past candidates have given the following advice for the interview:
- Have ready examples of times when you have utilised the skills Savills seeks.
- Research the current property market (as relevant to the scheme you’re applying for). Find out what is/isn’t selling in different parts of the country/world, the possible reasons for this, how political developments have affected the market and any notable transactions/deals over the past year. Some past candidates have said they were asked the Savills share price, so make sure you look at the Financial Times on the day and in the run-up.
- Expect to be asked a lot of questions about you CV and covering letter. Print off a copy and bring it along with you so you can look over it beforehand.
- Questions may be competency based (‘tell us about a time when you showed integrity’) or more hypothetical (‘how would you go about ensuring you adhered to the ethical code?’)
- You are likely to be asked what you know about the role you have applied for and the APC.
Savills’ recruitment process isn’t unusual in the industry, but you are unlikely to yield the results you want unless you take a Savills-specific approach.
Writing a graduate cover letter
What is a cover letter? It's an accompanying document to your graduate CV and often they are an important method of communication. They can provide an informal and friendly view of personal events to people, or they can be formal documents offering factual information to people you have not met. This is your chance to tell them what skills you have and why you want to work specifically for that company. Unlike email, letters are tangible and layout is as important as content.
Graduate cover letters have a standard format and this is shown in the cover letter examples attached. If you are writing to a named person then it is 'Yours sincerely', if you write 'Dear Sir/Madam' the correct ending is 'Yours faithfully'.
A graduate cover letter should:
- Introduce them to your personality and your commitment to them
- Give compelling examples of your suitability to the company as well as the role
- Make references to key requirements they look for
- Suggest there is even more to learn about you over a call or in person
- Make the employer want to talk to you
- Demonstrate your written communication skills
Some golden rules
Never put anything in your cover letter that cannot be backed by your graduate CV or application form. The human resources staff will look for discrepancies and for any mistakes that show a lack of attention to detail. Also anything you write can be brought up during graduate interviews, so make sure you can back up what you write with good examples. Don’t forget it is actually a criminal offence to lie on your cover letter for a CV, so always be honest but convincing about what you know or the skills you have.
There are some conventions about letters of application. Generally letters sent with CVs or graduate job applications should:
- be addressed to a named person;
- state why you are writing, what you are applying for and what you are currently doing;
- flag up the most important/relevant thing you want the employer to know about you;
- use eye catching key words that the employer is likely to be looking for. You can work it out by thinking about the job spec and by doing your research;
- refer the reader to your CV or job application form;
- show that you know something about the company;
- make a connection between your skills and abilities, and company needs or wants;
- identify the career you are seeking;
- be reasonably brief.
Remember if the covering letter for a job application is poor, the employer may not bother to read your CV. This also applies to application forms as well so remember this keeps you in the race for the job, it is essential to not stumble at the first hurdle.
Attached are two examples of cover letters of a job application. Both are acceptable. Use these examples only as a guideline; your covering letter should show your originality and if you are serious about working for a particular company it should not be difficult to adapt these examples. Our cover letter guide is to help you start writing your own letter, so yours should be bespoke to the company. You're telling them you want to work for them specifically and anything generic will only decrease your chances. Remember, you will have to justify what you say and why you said it at a job interview.
Format of a graduate cover letter:
The personal statement can be used as a heading to a CV or as an additional statement on an application form.
The personal statement is not solely for telling the employer what a great person you are, it is about telling the employer what you hope to achieve in the future, that you will fit into their structure and you have transferable skills which will be useful for them. This is your chance to show what you have found out about the company and why you want to work for them. Even more important is to show why you would be a good asset for the team. For example:
"My career objective is to enter research in the ... industry. I have demonstrated strong research skills during university project work and much of my experience has been within a team environment. I am able to take responsibility for my own work as well as being able to demonstrate leadership when required. Meeting deadlines has been a consistent part of my academic and working life and I have learned how to communicate with people in situations which require tact. My academic skills have given me the ability to communicate effectively on paper as well as through presentations."
The personal profile reflects the type of person you are. It offers the employer a taste of your character and your goals, and many CVs use a skills profile. Show why you think this role is perfect for you. For example:
"I am an outgoing person who can talk to people at all levels and have been complimented on my ability to listen to other people. I can take responsibility for my own work and my own goals, but I also enjoy working with other people to reach a common goal. Reflection is an important part of my personality and this has led me to develop a strong feeling for detail without losing sight of the whole picture. ... holds strong fascination for me and my objective is to work in research within this field."
"My academic and work experience has taught me to work well with other people and to take responsibility for my own work. I have an outgoing personality and am keenly interested in good health through exercise and diet. One of my most important assets is my ability to listen to people."
Skills profile identifies your competence in a variety of skills and these can be shown through bullet points or by a short sentence linked to specific skills. Keep this concise, but include everything relating to the job spec. They will want to see as many directly relatable skills to the job as possible. For example:
"During my academic study and work experience I have developed skills such as:
- problem solving
- time management (etc)"
Or you might support them with a short sentence, for example:
My university project work has demanded that I undertake investigation into a specific topic and analyse the information before putting recommendations forward in a presentation."
During my time at university I have undertaken full-time study, part-time paid work and enjoyed my sport with the basketball team. I have prioritised each of these activities successfully."
The best skills to write about are the ones that have achieved something positive. Any examples you have that a skill you applied to hit a target or anything positive will stand out on a cover letter. The main thing is that it must be concise. Let them see why they should want meet you, so make it personal and tailored towards their business. Whatever style you adopt remember what you say in your profile is open for questioning at an interview.
Email cover letters
When submitting a cover letter for a job applications there are a few things that you must remember to check. Firstly check that your cover letter and CV, for that matter, is attached. Be careful and check the formatting of the email and cover letter. Ensuring the font is the same all the way through. Try to keep the font consistent throughout your CV, cover letter and email. This will just look more professional. Make sure your read the job specification when applying; they may want something specific in the email subject.
The final advice
- make your graduate cover letter tailored to the company.
- make it concise.
- make it persuasive and eye catching.
- proof read. Read it once, then read it again and then read it again. If possible get someone else to read it for you to catch every little typo or grammatical error.
- use an appropriate format; it must look professional i.e. for business purposes.
- make it generic.
- waffle! Think about what is relevant to the company and particularly the actual position/role.
- make it more than one side of A4.
- leave errors that will make it easy for the company to reject your application.
- forget to put the address of the company at the top of the cover letter and to sign it with you name. It is a formal letter so it must be in the correct format.
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If an employer requests a CV to apply for a vacancy you should always include a graduate cover letter. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself and explain your suitability for the role. You must take time over your cover letter and make sure they are immaculate. Spell checkers are not enough. Please read our advice and make use of the cover letter examples provided to give you the best chance of grabbing your dream job!