NEWPORT BEACH, CA—There are some amazing opportunities opening up for real estate professionals as companies of all specialties and sizes expand operations on the West Coast, RETS’ Kent Elliott tells GlobeSt.com.
There are some amazing opportunities opening up for real estate professionals as companies of all specialties and sizes expand operations on the West Coast, recruiting firm RETS Associates principal Kent Elliott tells GlobeSt.com. We spoke to Elliott about what it takes to have the best career in commercial real estate in 2017.
GlobeSt.com: How does 2017 look for CRE professionals?
Elliott: By most estimates, 2017 is shaping up as a great time to have a career in commercial real estate. The national unemployment rate has dropped to 4.9%, and RETS Associates pegs industry unemployment levels at closer to 2% in first-tier markets. In some cases, the total goes into negative numbers, meaning there are more jobs available than candidates for some sectors in a couple of specific markets.
GlobeSt.com: Where is the demand strongest?
Elliott: According to a recent article by Real Estate Alert, demand for real estate pros is growing in top California markets as firms look to establish beachheads—or to expand their presence. With current demand and lack of supply, you never know how or when the next career opportunity will surface. But, when it does, candidates should be ready.
There are some amazing opportunities opening up for real estate professionals as companies of all specialties and sizes expand operations on the West Coast. Be prepared to showcase your qualifications in this thriving commercial real estate job market and approach any opportunity like any other professional project: plan, research, prepare and execute it well.
GlobeSt.com: What are some tips for executing these steps?
Elliott: I offer these five strategic tips:
- Make both your resume and LinkedIn profile professional, accurate and appealing. You may not be actively looking for a new positon, but in this market, companies may be looking for you! Ensure you maintain a current resume and LinkedIn profile that is error‑free and is attractive, informative and showcases your career highlights without extra detail. Do not exceed two pages. Remember that CRE professionals like numbers, asset names and metrics (square footage, value, etc.). If you’ve been with the same firm for several years, quantify the ROI you’ve delivered and spotlight a list of your top achievements and milestones whenever possible. Remember that a résumé won’t land the job, but it should capture a reader’s interest and launch the process. Then, echo this detail in your LinkedIn profile, but abridge it to keep it brief and concise.
- A recruiter or company could call to offer you a job any day. Know your short- and long-term career goals. A clear line of sight into your career path and steps to achieve your career goals are key in your professional journey. If your career trajectory has positioned you as a VP of acquisitions for industrial product, then continue to build off that experience and pursue this career path, understanding all that it entails and the opportunities within. You may not have the requisite skills and experience to chase a VP of asset management role focused on shopping centers, but that’s okay because there are plenty of appropriate opportunities that fit your unique skill set in the current competitive landscape. Research the companies and people you’d like to work with: who are they, what do they do, and how can your talents can contribute to their business objectives and success? It’s extremely important to network with industry colleagues and the specific real estate associations applicable to you to broaden your exposure. Remember, the wider the network, the better your opportunity for growth.
- Create your unique message. Top talent is in demand; however, companies are still doing their due diligence to ensure that they hire the right fit for the long term. Use your résumé, LinkedIn profile and professional objectives to develop your own distinctive story. You must leave that story with your audience so they can label you as that (e.g., a VP of asset management for office product). This story frames your talking points as you create and rehearse a short, meaningful “elevator pitch” that carries more details. Why are you the perfect match for that next position in your career path? Be prepared to explain the special experience, qualities and achievements you bring.
- Tell your story in person. An interview is your one shot to shine. This opportunity could be a formal meeting or a casual encounter with the COO of a REIT at a NAIOP conference. Always be prepared. Use your research on the company and person you’re talking with and weave that into your message. Remember that first impressions stick with someone 86% of the time and are only formed in a few seconds. A firm handshake, looking directly at the interviewer and a nice smile go a lot farther than you may think. Take time in advance to research the professional background on the interviewer, write out your own questions and be prepared to improvise. When he or she asks if you have questions, always present at least one or two that relate to your potential position within the company. In wrapping up your interview, express your interest and excitement about the position with respect to what you’ve just discussed, and recap key points from your own message as they relate to this role.
- Remember the details! You know this. The CRE industry thrives on detail, so pay attention to those little things—which actually are pretty big. Some include arriving for your interview on time, but not too far ahead of your appointment, and come prepared with all materials. Be pleasant to everyone you cross paths with because you never know if you’re sharing an elevator with the CEO. Dress appropriately, head to toe. Don’t be the man who wears a nice business suit but walks in with muddy shoes or the woman who accessorizes with a handbag designed like a beach tote or uses way too much perfume. Send a thank you note afterward—not too long and not too short. Close by noting that you look forward to hearing from them again soon.
GlobeSt.com: Where do you feel the industry is now in terms of career opportunities as compared to where it was even just a few months ago?
Elliott: RETS Associates has seen six solid years of strong hiring in the CRE industry. Pre‑election, many felt we were in the fourth quarter of the game. Post-election, we now believe that the clock has rolled back to the end of the halftime show, and the third quarter is about to begin. Incredible career opportunities are out there, and more will surface in 2017. You never know when they will come knocking on your door, so be prepared and ensure that you’re well-positioned to play the game in the second half.
BY CARRIE ROSSENFELD