How can you make your real estate appraiser resume as impressive as it can be, if you’re an appraiser looking to be employed by a bank? How about if you’re an aspiring appraiser looking for a company that will hire you as a trainee? If you’re a seasoned appraiser looking for new hires, what are some “red flags” to look for on an applicant’s resume?
We recently asked two of our in-house experts at McKissock Learning—Jo A. Traut, appraisal curriculum and content specialist, and Dan Bradley, director of online appraisal curriculum—to weigh in on those questions.
Resume tips for appraisers applying at banks
Traut notes that much of the hiring process is automated today, particularly at large banks. These employers often use software that looks for certain keywords on an applicant’s resume—and applicants need to know how to use those words.
“Banks hire real estate appraisers for various positions including—but not limited to—chief appraiser, valuation officer, staff appraisers, appraisal panel managers, review appraisers, collateral underwriters, internal auditors, and various other valuation compliance positions,” she says. “Many of the large banks use automated applicant tracking systems that analyze the resumes by identifying keywords, and candidates that best match the keywords are forwarded to the hiring manager.
“Unfortunately, some qualified candidates may be automatically disqualified because their resume does not contain the keywords. For example, if you are applying for an appraisal review position, your resume should contain words like review, examine, assess, research, analyze, resolve, communicate, and appraise.”
Applicants should also look at qualifications and minimum requirements listed in job postings—and include those in their real estate appraiser resume.
“Be honest about your past work experience even if there are gaps in your employment or a short tenure at any job,” she urges. “It is critical that you not modify employment dates, exaggerate your past job responsibilities or job title, or leave out any jobs that you’ve held in the past 10 years. Because of security risks, banks confirm past employment, run a criminal background check, and frequently complete a reputational check. I’ve seen exceptionally qualified individuals not get hired because they did not list a prior recent job on their resume.”
Traut also urges applicants to be specific about software programs they’ve used in past positions, such as MS Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint. Experience with appraising complex property types might catch an employer’s eye as well.
Resume advice for new appraisers
Bradley urges beginners who are looking for a supervising appraiser to stress overall education, since a trainee applicant is unlikely to have any appraisal experience. If the applicant already has taken most or all of their qualifying education, it means the trainee won’t be starting from square one.
“It also shows initiative,” says Bradley. “Even if an applicant doesn’t have any appraisal experience, computer skills, experience with common software programs, and real estate experience can set one applicant apart from another. Real estate agents and brokers often make very good appraisers because they understand concepts like supply, demand, and value.”
Appraisers don’t typically agree to supervise trainees unless there is something in it for the appraiser, Bradley warns. Thus, if an applicant has marketing experience or computer networking skills, they’re worth mentioning on a resume.
Supervisor appraisers often favor applicants with real estate experience, Traut agrees. But individuals with other diverse backgrounds can become successful real estate appraisers; it’s a matter of emphasizing skills and experience that carry over to real estate appraising.
“Trainees can bring in skills that an appraisal firm lacks, such as marketing, accounting, social media experience, or garnering new clients,” she says. “I know a supervisory appraiser who hired a trainee based on his eagerness to learn about the housing industry. Although the applicant had no real estate or appraising background, the applicant emphasized the numerous webinars and seminars that he attended related to housing trends, flipping properties, and real estate investing on his resume.”
Want more advice geared toward appraisal trainees? Find helpful articles here.
Hiring tips for employers: Resume red flags
If you’re doing the hiring, what are non-obvious good and bad points that you might spot on a resume, by reading between the lines? One of the most serious red flags, Traut says, is a history of changing jobs every year or two. It’s very expensive and time-consuming to train a new hire, so it’s best if you can expect the employee to stay long enough to justify that effort.
“A widespread list of past appraisal assignments and experiences is another red flag,” she says. “When an appraiser claims familiarity with manufactured homes, multi-family properties, agricultural properties, industrial properties and everything in between, and has completed appraisals for numerous purposes such as divorce, estate settlement, foreclosure, USDA, federal land acquisition, and mortgage lending—plus offers appraisal review services and expert witness testimony services—you wonder if the individual is really familiar with all of that.”
If a resume includes generalized achievement statements, such as “I always complete every project earlier than expected,” or “I have always exceeded the appraisal quality standard of my co-workers,” look for specific examples to back up the claim. (If you’re composing a resume for yourself, delete any grandiose statements of that kind. They’re off-putting.)
Additional tips to improve your real estate appraiser resume
Finally, Traut advises, your real estate appraiser resume should contain not only appraisal certifications, designations, or accreditations, but also designations you’ve achieved in other fields. Any certification or accreditation demonstrates commitment and dedication to a profession.
Bradley points out that an applicant’s writing ability will usually come out in the resume and the cover letter. Your writing style should be professional, sentences should be complete and grammatically correct, and words should be spelled correctly. “Multiple misspellings indicate a certain carelessness, especially considering the wide availability of spell-check programs,” he says.
“Education is important on a professional resume. Some appraisers list every qualifying education and continuing education course they have ever taken. This is not a bad idea if you are fairly new to the profession, as these lists can be impressive. But keep your list up to date. I have seen resumes that listed every course the appraiser took from 1989 until 2010, and then nothing after that.”
Article written by Joseph Dobrian. Joseph Dobrian has been writing about commercial and residential real estate, and real estate-related finance, for more than 30 years. His byline has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Real Estate Forum, Journal of Property Management, and many other publications. He is also a noted novelist, essayist, and translator. His website is www.josephdobrian.com, and he can be contacted at [email protected].
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