The first step is the hardest - How to secure your first Surveyor job

I am often contacted by trainee and graduate Building Surveyors and Quantity Surveyors who are looking for their first job. Some are looking for part time roles whilst studying, whilst others have graduated and are looking for their first full time job.  Many find this first step the hardest and with every employer looking for some level of experience they often turn to us for help. Unfortunately we are not often able to help as our clients generally have highly specific requirements for candidates with specific areas of experience. Even though I can’t help directly, I always like to support with advice.

So, here it is. It’s not rocket science but I am told that it has helped in the past so it could help you.

Finding your first Job – A few ideas

Trainee and graduate schemes – Some of the larger employers in the Surveying world have schemes for those coming straight from college or university. They will be looking for the very best candidates in the market and the competition will be hot. For those who make it through, these schemes can be a great way to start and then develop your career. With a simple Google search you should be able to identify companies that offer these schemes and here are some examples: – Savills, Bilfinger GVA, Malcolm Hollis, JLL or Countryside etc etc.

The proactive approach – This shows a real keenness to work and you can’t underestimate how attractive this is to a potential employer. This way can certainly work but it all hinges on your approach. It is all about Where, Who and How.

  1. Where – To make a strategic approach to the right companies you need to create a list of potential employers. I always suggest a database provided by the RICS – – Simply enter a location, choose a discipline and you will be given a list of companies in your chosen location.
  2. Who – Approaching the right person is hugely important. If you speak to a receptionist or secretary who is not directly involved in hiring staff then your call and message could lead nowhere. My advice is to start your call along the following lines “Hi, I am keen to speak with the person who would deal with the recruitment of Surveying staff, can you please help me”. Once you are speaking to the right person you can find out whether they may have a trainee or graduate post.
  3. How – Be prepared. Write up your CV so you can describe your past and potentially send them a copy after the call if they are interested. Also be sure to think about the future so that you can be clear on the direction that you want to go in. It may be worth practising your call will go with a friend or family member.

Now go for it, be proactive, speak well, make your calls and don’t be worried about rejection. Your approach will get better with each call and the right person will welcome this proactive approach.

Good luck!

Like I said, this is not rocket science but it is a genuinely proactive way to search for and identify potential opportunities. Having given this advice to a number of people over the years, I can tell you that it can help you find that all important first job.

About me:
I am the founding Director of HD Surveyors Ltd, specialising in bespoke job searches for Quantity Surveyors and Building Surveyors across London and the South East. Feel free to get in touch if you are considering a move in the future. I would love to help.