As college seniors approach graduation and prepare for a career in real estate, many are left without job offers. It wasn’t too long ago that I was a college senior and had no clue what I was going to do post-graduation.

For much of the senior spring semester I had a laser focus on obtaining a position within real estate finance or development. After countless informational interviews, that’s the only position where I thought I should be. The problem was that by mid-2008, the equity markets were frozen and new development had come to a screeching halt. I graduated with no position and had to revert to my fallback option – working with my uncle at a two man investment firm. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I learned about brokerage, construction, and property management, three pillars of the real estate business.

Sexy? No, but do I use the knowledge I obtained chatting with brokers, spending time on construction sites, and dealing with tenants, you bet.

The point is that you shouldn’t worry if your first job isn’t the sexiest, most sought after role. In real estate, there is no linear career path. To those seniors: Use your network and find a job. Don’t be picky; you can learn a lot in many varying settings.

When you inevitably do land a job, you should move vertically, horizontally and jump around within your own company, while being open to outside opportunities, if you want to be successful.

Make sure you don’t take yourself too seriously or think you are too good for any task. There’s a lot to learn.  You will make mistakes. Be willing to work hard, network, try to keep learning, and don’t ever accept it when somebody says do it because that’s the way it’s always been done. A big part of this blog is to get people to challenge assumptions. Using common sense is really the toughest thing to get people to learn.

Real estate can be a challenging and rewarding career path. So my advice to those who are graduating and want to be in real estate….find a way to get into real estate!

If you’re interested in a career in real estate, start here.