“What’s the best way to follow up with an employer after a job interview?” Recruiters like Lee Ann Chan and I personally receive this question a lot from job seekers that we coach and place, and according to Lee Ann, “most candidates don’t want to come off as desperate or annoying (their words, not mine!) but they also don’t know the best way to approach employers for their interview updates.”
Below are the recommended follow-up emails and templates from Lee Ann to use when you want to check on your status and keep establishing a professional presence.
Zoé Kellerhals-Madussi, the President of Sales and Marketing at LG Fairmont, was raised and educated in France, Switzerland, Italy and the United States, lending a multi-cultural and linguistic perspective to her client skills. With a degree in corporate communications and a specialization in luxury marketing, Zoé previously worked in marketing high end commercial real estate.
Leah Azizian, the Head of Business Development & Project Feasibility at the Developments Division at LG Fairmont, has recently launched a podcast called, “Real Estate Untapped” which is available on Spotify and Apple, featuring both conversations with other people both in and out of the real estate industry.
This podcast is definitely a humbling experience for those who are thinking about going into the real estate field or would want to learn more and her first quick episode speaks about why Leah joined the industry and what real estate means to her.
Below, I have interviewed LEFT:Leah Azizian(Head of Business Development & Project Feasibility at the Developments Division at LG Fairmont) RIGHT:Zoé Kellerhals-Madussi(President of Sales & Marketing at LG Fairmont) to get their input regarding the hiring process/timeline
Please note that Leah is providing insight to prospective agents, or those seeking to join the industry, while Zoé is providing insight from the brokerage’s perspective.
What are the basic and real requirements to get into real estate?
For someone who is unsure about where to begin in real estate, what would your advice be for him/her?
Leah — I’ve noticed over time that some people are interested in achieving a particular role (for example: becoming a developer, or real estate attorney), but still consider obtaining a real estate license first and becoming an agent in order to understand the fundamentals. While I can understand the thought process behind this, I usually advise against this. I believe that if you have a certain vision in mind, it’s best to connect with people who hold the position closest to what you are seeking. This way you’ll get the most clarity as to whether the vision you have for yourself is worth following through with.
For someone who is interested in becoming a real estate sales agent, how do they begin this process?
Leah — Once you have obtained your license, it’s time to choose a brokerage to associate yourself with. I generally advise to begin speaking with different brokers and/or brokerages before you officially obtain your license in order to get the wheel rolling. Make sure you take the time in every meeting to ask the right questions to understand the brokerage’s vision, team culture, and what’s expected of you. You can find a list of important questions here.
Is there room for advancement/professional growth?
Leah — Real estate agents by nature are independent contractors, and essentially work for themselves. So “professional growth” is defined as something else in the real estate field. It generally correlates more directly to personal career growth, than growth within the company. This can be seen with the type of clients you work with (for ex: progressing a higher end clientele), or the type of projects you choose to work on. A fair share of agents also choose to advance their career by partnering with the right agent or broker to establish a team together, and produce greater sales volume. However, depending on the brokerage you associate yourself with, there may be room for you to advance in helping the brokerage grow as a whole; this is usually most prevalent amongst younger firms that are still expanding.
Is training provided for an unlicensed realtor?
Leah — Generally, brokerages won’t associate you into their firm or provide training until you’re licensed. Once you are licensed though, it’s good to keep in mind that the level of training that each brokerage provides differs. Some will hold the hands of beginning agents more and provide extensive hours of training, while others will keep it to the basic necessities and encourage you to learn through experience.
What kind of attitude would an ideal candidate possess?
Zoé — At LG Fairmont, we seek a few attributes when hiring agents. Because the barrier of entry is so low in this industry, it is difficult to figure out who could be a good candidate based on their resume. Rather, character weighs in strongly. Because we are a small group, it is important that any new member is someone who we see will not only fit in but be an asset to the firm. The personality trait we seek is an entrepreneurial mindset. If you are someone who is willing to get your feet wet and do what it takes to become successful, you will fit in properly. Curiosity also goes hand in hand with that. Because real estate agents are independent contractors, they must be capable of asking questions at all times to learn the most possible. If you are not curious and you are not a go-getter, you will not be successful in this industry.
What are the challenges that they will face in the industry?
Zoé — The biggest challenge in this industry is the lack of stability. There are constant ups and downs. Mostly, you will do this on your own. No matter what firm you join, if you don’t understand the importance of proactively seeking a circle of allies, you will be on your own. The lack of stability will make you a very strong person but it will also create moments where you need to step out and breathe. I believe one of the most important roles I provide as President of Sales and Marketing is to consistently find better ways to tackle that lack of stability. That is the biggest role of a brokerage: to tackle the instability and create a support system that will be reflected in your pipeline. The busier you are, the more stability you create.
What sets LG Fairmont apart?
Zoé — Let’s be honest: every brokerage offers similar services. Many times, clients believe that because you are an agent from a firm they recognize, the agent will be better. This is the power of marketing. It does not reflect the truth though. Agents that do not offer great services can be found anywhere. Fantastic agents can also be found across the industry. As I mentioned before, what we are constantly seeking to improve at LG Fairmont is how to help agents create stability and successful careers. This includes leads, a fair and open split system, a management team that is always there to help, marketing, and a boutique atmosphere. We also do not believe in upfront costs for agents so you do not pay a desk fee with us.
Real estate agents have to put on multiple hats. How do they get all of this work done?
Leah — Being an independent contractor provides you with a certain liberty that other career paths don’t, but it can be easy to get caught up in the moment and work on tasks that either won’t monetize well or provide you with long term value. It’s important to train yourself to stay as organized as possible, and prioritize the tasks that align most with the goals you are aiming to achieve. I usually pause throughout the day and ask myself whether I am working on the tasks that currently matter most.
How are real estate agents paid?
Leah — Real estate agents get paid through commission only, that is earned upon closed deals.
How do you land your first client? And continue to build that network?
Leah — You can land your first client through anywhere and everywhere. Real estate is a people’s business, built on trust. You don’t need an extensive network to land your first client. All it takes is one person who you know and trust, to refer you to someone looking for a home. You continue to build your network by focusing on building wholesome relationships with others. If your focus is on meeting others, and building relationships, the clients will follow.
I am sure many of you are aware of what an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is, since all job applications are required to be submitted online. Back then, job seekers had it way easier. They just had to rely on the newspaper and telephone, and they will be asked by the employer to come in for an interview. However, they have since, revolutionized the hiring process and the labor market in a blink of an eye.
An ATS is basically a robot that is programmed to pre-screen the applicant’s resume before the hiring team gets a chance to lay their eyes on them. Obviously, it is not as intelligent as humans are, since it is pre-programmed to do what it has to do.
The ATS is programmed to scan for specific keywords that the employer has entered into the system. Some resumes will only be selected to move on to the next step, based on the keywords that the employer has configured. Many employers use the ATS as a way to screen out candidates by asking knockout questions. This is a way to determine which candidates are able/willing or unable/unwilling to perform a job function. For instance, if an ATS is programmed to eliminate resumes that do not hold a Bachelor’s Degree, then those with an Associate’s Degree will definitely not be considered. Here are more examples of the types of knockout questions to look out for when applying on an online portal/job board.
The nitty-gritty of getting past the ATS is to analyze and study the job description and keywords carefully as you tailor your resume to what they are looking for. Many job applicants tend to just submit their resume without tweaking their resume to the positions that they are applying for. Always make sure your resume matches the job description and that it has the exact keywords listed.
Note: The ATS is unable to distinguish the difference between the terms CPA and Certified Public Accountant, it is always more safe to list the whole word out instead of abbreviating or shortening it.
Keep your font simple. Use Times New Roman, Calibri, Arial or any font that looks “appropriate” and “legible”. Make sure the size font is between 10-12. No bigger, no smaller.
Use simple bullet points like the one I am using at the moment or even a dash (-) works as well. Just make sure it isn’t a special kind of symbol because that can program the ATS to view your resume as “unqualified” and you don’t want to jeopardize a qualified resume just because of an unrecognizable symbol.
Consistent formatting. This is important to ensure that your resume will pass an ATS, so that it would not confuse the system.
Margin Size: 1 inch
Left Alignment is the way to go because that is the standard way of reading. Don’t center it or align it to the right. Definitely, do not include text boxes. I’ve seen some job seekers do that. This will just confuse the ATS. If we all read from left to right, that is how the ATS will be programmed to read it as well.
Length: Keep it minimum at 1 page and maximum at 2 pages. Remember, make sure it has the included keywords and is visually appealing to the employer! You are not writing a Curriculum Vitae. Unless you are applying for a profession that you have had years of experience in and highlighting publications that are linked to the work you do, (i.e., college professor), there is no need to go past 2 pages with irrelevant experience. Know how to distinguish the difference between a resume and a curriculum vitae.
Font: As mentioned in the first bullet point.
Your resume should aim towards the specific position. Like I have mentioned earlier, read and study the job descriptions. Always always always, keep a look out for specific keywords whether it is in the required qualifications or preferred qualifications that involves your education, competencies/skill sets, licenses, trainings and experience.
Do your research on the employer! Make sure you are always tweaking your resume based on their mission, goals and culture.
How can you be of value to them? How does your experience, education, skill sets match the employer’s needs of the role?
Make sure your section headers are simple: “Objective”/”Professional Summary”, “Skills”, “Certifications/Licenses”, “Work History”/”Experience”, “Education”
Unless you are a graphic designer, avoid including images, graphics, tables/charts, special fonts or unrecognizable symbols. The ATS is programmed to read simple and straightforward things.
As mentioned in the DO’s section, section headers are preferred to be simple rather than overdone. An ATS will not understand “Where I Attended School”. So leave it as “Education”.
Do not misuse keywords. Use them where you see fit.
So many job seekers that I have assisted often put on the bottom of their resume, “References Available Upon Request”. This consumes space and employers obviously know that if needed, they will contact you for it.
Select the right file type for your resume. To play it safe, upload your resume as a .doc, .docx or .pdf file. These are the most common and preferred formats. It just looks more appealing to employers as well.
Please avoid using specialty formats such as .dot, .dotx, .rtf, .txt, .htm, .docm, .dotm, .xml, .mht because not only are employers unable to access the file, but many ATS can’t read them.
Categorize your section headers carefully.
If the employer is seeking specific skills (pro tip: when they list the requirements/qualifications, pay attention to those on the top as those are what they looking for in a candidate the most) and you have that, you may want to shift your skills section to the top while leaving your experience and education to the bottom.
If the employer is seeking 5+ years in talent management and you’ve been a talent lead or in the HR team for over a decade, you may want to put your experience first and highlight those relevant skills as you go along.
Never list your job duties using other terms other than action verbs!
When listing out your experience, make sure you do not include the word “I”. It should always be in third person as if you are the narrator of your resume.