Why Your Real Estate Resume Isn’t Landing You Interviews [& How To Fix It]

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and when applying for jobs, your resume is that first impression you make.

And as the real estate industry becomes more institutionalized and more competitive over time, what you choose to include within your resume is arguably more important than it’s ever been before.

However, the things that you choose to omit from your resume can also be just as important, and there tend to be a few things that real estate analyst and associate candidates often include within their application materials that often hurt their chances of landing an interview more than they actually help.

So to make sure this won’t to be the case for you when applying for real estate analyst and associate jobs, this article walks through four things to remove from your real estate resume, and what to add in place of these to land more interviews and job offers.

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

Proficient in Microsoft Office

The first thing I’d recommend removing from your resume is the phrase “Proficient in Microsoft Office” or “Proficient in Microsoft Excel”.

Wording like this is just filler content that usually comes up when people don’t have any notable Excel skills to speak of, and to make sure that’s not going to be the default assumption when a hiring manager is reading your resume, I’d recommend avoiding this type of language altogether.

Instead, replace this with the specific and applicable Excel skills you have that are directly related to real estate, ideally using keywords that are also included directly within a job description.

For real estate analyst roles, this would include specific Excel skills that show your ability to tackle the responsibilities of the job you’re applying for, like real estate equity waterfall modeling, acquisition and development pro forma modeling, running a DCF analysis, or any other Excel skills that are specifically related to real estate.

If at all possible, I would also recommend trying to prove out your Excel skills within your experience bullet points directly, by adding details on complex projects you’ve completed in Excel, models or dashboards you’ve created in Excel, or anything else you’ve accomplished on the job that directly shows your Excel skills in practice.

The goal here is to actually showcase your abilities in a tangible (and believable) way, and the more specific you can get with these descriptions, the more clear and compelling your Excel skills are going to be.

Generic Buzzwords

The next things you’ll want to remove when applying for real estate analyst and associate roles are any generic buzzwords you’ve included, especially when describing your soft skills.

Similar to the word “proficient”, terms like “leader”, “hard-working”, or “goal-oriented” don’t mean much to a hiring manager when listed on a resume, and in most cases, these terms also make it seem like you’re trying to fill space due to a lack of professional accomplishments.

Instead of saying you’re a leader, a better way to incorporate this is to show how you’ve been able to lead a team in practice, whether that’s by talking through a leadership role you held within a team project at work, or mentioning a leadership position you held within a community or academic organization.

And instead of saying you’re “goal-oriented”, a better way to incorporate this would be to describe how you were able to meet or exceed aggressive targets at work or at school in a way that surpassed previous benchmarks, and the specific actions you took to make that happen.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when describing these actions is that you’ll want to make sure to mention what your efforts actually led to, and add measurable results to provide context to the reader around what you did and the impact you had.

Saying that you were responsible for managing a team isn’t a bad start, but what’s even more impactful is the ability to quantify those responsibilities and accomplishments within that management role.

On a resume, you can do this by talking through things like how many people you managed, any revenue increases or expense reductions you were responsible for, or any other notable outcomes you drove to help move the company forward.

Grammar & Formatting Errors

The next things you’ll want to remove from your resume before submitting applications for real estate analyst and associate roles are any grammar and formatting errors, even those which might feel insignificant.

Capitalizing words that shouldn’t be capitalized, using commas or periods inconsistently, or even using different types of formatting throughout your resume can all raise an immediate red flag for hiring managers, especially when you’re applying for analytical roles.

These positions require an incredible amount of attention to detail when doing things like building out formulas within a complex Excel model, putting together investment memos for clients or equity partners, and ultimately coming up with calculations that might be impacting $100MM+ transactions, so showing you care about accuracy up-front is an absolute necessity.

Make sure your use of periods is the same throughout your entire resume, make sure the spacing in your resume is consistent and correct, and if nothing else, at least get a friend to proofread your resume to make sure that nothing has fallen through the cracks.

Think of your resume as a direct work sample that’s intended to represent the level of care and thought you’d put into the position if you were hired, and take the time and effort to put something together that’s clean, clear, and accurate.


The final point I’d recommend removing from your resume before applying for jobs is your GPA, specifically in cases where this is under 3.7 or if you’ve been out of school for more than three years.

If a company wants to know your GPA, they’ll ask for this directly, but there’s no need to volunteer this information unless it’s particularly impressive.

For people who intentionally chose a difficult major, worked throughout school to pay for tuition, or took a demanding course load to graduate early, GPA isn’t necessarily indicative of intelligence or even work ethic in many cases. And if this isn’t a number you want to show off and it’s not explicitly being asked for, there’s no need to add this within your resume at all.

Also, if you’re including this on your resume with three or more years of work experience under your belt, this can also sometimes look like you’re trying to draw attention away from relatively few work-related accomplishments. If you’ve been out of college for several years, even if your GPA was above that 3.7 cutoff, I’d still recommend removing this to keep the focus on your career.

How To Improve Your Real Estate Resume

Ultimately, the goal is to keep this clear and concise, with measurable successes included in a way that makes you stand out from other applicants and makes an employer believe you could add value within the organization.

And if you want more help with tightening up your resume, or you want to build the technical skills you’ll need to land jobs at top real estate investment, development, and brokerage firms, 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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