This is a guest post from Joe Stampone. Joe runs the popular blog A Student of the Real Estate Game.
While running a blog can be fun, success in blogging comes with a litany of responsibilities; produce high quality content on a consistent basis, participate in major social networks, and most importantly nurture your community by responding to ALL comments and emails.
While I enjoy the engagement, I find myself responding to one particular type of email on an ongoing basis, so I thought Id write up a response so everyone can hear my thoughts and add their own opinion. The email goes a little something like this:
Dear Joe Stampone,
I am currently finishing up my undergraduate degree in _________ from __________. I am graduating in August and hope to eventually get an M.S. in Real Estate. Currently I am searching for job opportunities in real estate, but am having difficulties finding jobs for which I am qualified. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can get into real estate? Thank you for you blog, it is very helpful to people interested in going to school for real estate and getting into the field.
Thank you for your time and attention,
Your Biggest Fan
My typical response is a long-winded rambling of thoughts and ideas, so here I figured Id take a more structured approach.
Is Real Estate the Right Career for You?
The first step in the process is determining whether or not real estate is really what you want to do. The first thing you should do (after you finish reading this post) is understand the scope of the business, which you can quickly digest by reading REFM’s Guide To The Real Estate Business. Then read the guest post Bruce did for me, Is Real Estate the Right Career for You, and if you’re still not sure, read Even More Advice for Students and Would-be Developers.
If you’re not scared away after all that, do your research. Go to your career counselor or online alumni network and make a list of all the alumni in real estate. Then reach out to them with a personalized email, heres an example of an email I sent out requesting an informational interview. Almost everyone you reach out to will be more than happy to speak with you. Use that call to determine what type of positions are out there, what they entail and what skills are required to be successful.
What Job Opportunities Exist in Real Estate?
Real estate is a vast field. Use your informational interviews to see whats out there. A few of the possible jobs include research, brokers and leasing agents, investment banks, institutional investors, commercial banks, developers, architects and planners, general contracting firms, and lawyers. These careers barely scratch the surface of the possibilities in real estate. Every building and every piece of land is owned by someone and that owner must operate, finance, and report on the usage of that property. The career paths are literally endless. That said, some are more quantitative-heavy, and others are more relationship- and process-heavy.
I Have No Experience… What Can I Do To Show My Interest?
So you didnt have 2 summer internships with reputable real estate firms. No problem, theres lots of ways to show your passionate about real estate. Over the past few years there has been a shift in the way people approach education. Abundant education is now easy to access and offers motivated individuals a chance to learn. I wrote about it here.
I recommend you pick up Peter Linneman’s new and improved third edition of Real Estate Finance and Investments and read it cover to cover while doing the exercises and cases (I just picked it up yesterday).
If youre interested in real estate finance, what better way to show your passion than by getting REFM Certification or taking one of their many virtual and in-person classes (there’s even one this weekend if you’re free, offered at a great discount to students).
Getting Your Foot in the Door
The most challenging part about real estate is getting your foot in the door. I reached out to Peter Linneman with the same question when I was in college. Here was his response:
The key is to get started in the game. Where you start is less important than getting started
I couldnt agree more. Theres no job for which youre overqualified. Start somewhere and see what you like and what you dont like and grow from there.