Changing careers can be a daunting task, especially when in order to transition, you first need experience. But HOW do you get experience WITHOUT the experience? How do you get a hiring manager to give you a chance? Don’t be discouraged – it is completely possible to make a career change into the commercial real estate industry if you don’t have much experience… it all starts with a little strategic planning.
Maybe you’re a seasoned professional and want to change focuses with real estate? Maybe you’re a recent graduate looking for your first analyst position? First things first, you need to thoroughly understand your target job. And this goes beyond reading and understanding various CRE job descriptions.
Understand Your Target Job
One of the easiest ways to gain this insight is to pull up six to seven job descriptions and start to pull out the major qualifications and “buzz words” in all the job descriptions. Which descriptors and qualifications are common to all the job descriptions? This is a great way to truly understand what hiring managers are really looking for and a great opportunity for you to compare and contrast your skills.
BUT, don’t be discouraged if you are going through a major career change and you don’t have exactly what hiring managers are looking for. It’s better to be aware and go out and try to get some of those things. Or maybe you need to go through your resume and tweak it to be geared to these skills. Are there certain programs or systems you need to learn? Do you need a real estate license or experience with Argos? Now more than ever, there are so many ways to gain these skills online!
Next, begin to network within your chosen niche in the real estate industry. 70-80% of jobs are landed through networking, not just applying online! Expand your network online and send personalized LinkedIn connection requests. Begin to build relationships with your connections. Attend networking events in the area. Ultimately, the ability to find, cultivate and maintain connections in the real estate industry can give people an edge, no matter what field they’re in. Putting time and effort to network and grow relationships is a VITAL part of advancing your career in real estate.
Leverage Your Transferable Skills
Do what you can to leverage your current job! Seek out opportunities and projects in your current job that will allow you to gain that new skill set. If you gain more projects under your belt, create a portfolio that illustrates why you are perfect for this role. Take the time to sit down and take stock of all your skills and accomplishments. Draw on measurable accomplishments – revenue generated, deals closed, clients or accounts managed.
In the real estate industry, it is crucial to include quantified information and emphasize results. You want to measure deal size, value, square footage, location, and product type. For more advice on how to kill your real estate resume, read our recent RETS’ article – 8 easy fixes to avoid sabotaging your real estate resume. This will help you highlight your transferable skills that are necessary for you to be successful at your dream role.
Be a Storyteller
Finally, become a thought leader and position yourself as an expert. Research your new role, topic, latest industry trends, etc. You can do this on LinkedIn by consistently posting blogs, sharing videos and articles on topics that will show you as an expert at this new role. Once you apply for your dream role, the first thing your hiring manager is going to do is visit your LinkedIn page. You want your profile activity and posts connected to topics immersed in your new role of choice.
Make sure to take full advantage of your cover letter to develop your story. What is it about this new career field that you are so passionate about? How does this career path align with your values and life plan? Stop worrying about not having enough experience and flip it on its head and reframe your narrative! Know and market how your unique experience will be beneficial to this role!
CD Wicks, Director , About CD