Real Estate Cover Letter Advice [For Aspiring Analysts]

A cover letter is your first point of contact with a potential employer, and gives you a unique opportunity to shape the narrative around your entire application.

And from what I’ve seen among candidates who have been successful in the real estate job search process, there are a few key components of a commercial real estate cover letter that are critical to add if you want to get noticed.

So aside from actually taking the time to create a cover letter in the first place, this article talks through how to write a cover letter for real estate analyst and associate roles, and some key points to add to significantly increase your chances of landing an interview.

If video is more your thing, you can watch the video version of this article here:

Make Unique Cover Letters Specific To Each Role

Submitting a cover letter is a huge opportunity to have a conversation with the recruiter or hiring manager that’s going to review your resume, and this gives you a platform to proactively connect the dots between what the company is looking for and what you can bring to the table.

This is your chance to pick out specific responsibilities and qualifications from the job description that you know you can demonstrate, and then highlight what you’ve done (or what you can do) in a very clear and tangible way.

One of the biggest missed opportunities I see from commercial real estate job applicants is that they put together a generic cover letter that’s the same for every job they apply to, and that cover letter also often repeats what’s already on their resume.

Instead, your cover letter should differ from your resume by going into significantly more detail on just a handful of roles, projects, or accomplishments that directly demonstrate your job-specific skills and experience, rather than just briefly touching on the general responsibilities you’ve had throughout your career.

The main objective with a cover letter is to show that you’re what the company was looking for when they initially posted the job opening, and ideally, that you’ve already been successful doing the things they would ask of you in the role.

Incorporate The Job Description

The easiest way to do this is to review the responsibilities and qualifications directly within the job description itself, and then choose just 3-5 of those bullet points to tailor your story around.

Great experiences to highlight here are projects you’ve successfully completed in the past that show you’ve already done what you would be required to do on the job, and you’ve been exposed to what the company does on a day-to-day basis.

When hiring commercial real estate analysts and associates, the skills that companies look for generally boil down to Excel skills, market research abilities, a foundational understanding of real estate finance, and the ability to create and present a clear thesis using data.

And even if you don’t have direct commercial real estate work experience, there are many different ways to demonstrate that you have these skills, through things like internships in other industries, full-time jobs in other industries, or even academic projects related to the real estate field.

Ideally, you want to be able to say, “I have experience doing X, as demonstrated by Y,” and then actually show what you’ve done or how you’ve put the work in through self-study to build the skills you’ll need.

It’s very easy to say you can do something on paper, but being able to show specific examples of when you built complex dashboards in Excel, put together presentations on a company’s financial performance, or put the work in to get certified in a software like ARGUS can all help you tell your story in a tangible way.

Talk Through Company Alignment

Once you’ve talked through why you’re qualified for the position, to finish out your cover letter, I would also recommend taking just 1-2 sentences to talk through your alignment with the company culture and why you’d be a great fit.

If the firm is focused on a specific mission that resonates with you or a specific strategy that lines up with your own long-term goals, this is a great opportunity to tie together everything you’ve talked about up to this point.

A company’s initiatives around ESG efforts, affordable housing, diversity and inclusion, redevelopment of underserved areas, or any other mission-oriented projects the firm is involved in can all give you topics to talk about if any of these resonate.

Even if the company has a more generic mission statement on their website, if you have any other unique things in common with the company’s senior leadership team, like playing competitive sports in college, coming from a military background, or being involved with local charitable organizations, these are all great things to highlight at the end of your letter.

Summing Up

If you can take the time to make your cover letter specific to the company and position you’re applying for, highlight a small handful of projects or accomplishments that directly demonstrate you have the skills and qualifications necessary, and you can showcase yourself as a culture fit, your cover letter can make it significantly more likely that you’ll be brought in for an interview.

And if you want more guidance on the commercial real estate job search, or want to make sure you have the technical skills you’ll need to pass an Excel modeling exam that might be given to you during the interview process, make sure to check out our all-in-one membership training platform, Break Into CRE Academy.

A membership to the Academy will give you instant access to over 120 hours of video training on real estate financial modeling and analysis, you’ll get access to hundreds of practice Excel interview exam questions, sample acquisition case studies, and you’ll also get access to the Break Into CRE Analyst Certification Exam. This exam covers topics like real estate pro forma and development modeling, commercial real estate lease modeling, equity waterfall modeling, and many other real estate financial analysis concepts that will help you prove to employers that you have what it takes to tackle the responsibilities of an analyst or associate at a top real estate firm.

As always, thanks so much for reading, and make sure to check out the Break Into CRE YouTube channel for more content that can help you take the next step in your real estate career.

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