How to Change Careers and Transition into Real Estate

Jan 11, 2014 | Career

By far one of the most common questions I get is about changing careers and transitioning into real estate. This is no easy task and presents a series of challenges, but I think it can be done if you take the right approach.

The Challenge
You have an unconventional background and you’re interested in getting into real estate, but you have no experience. In order to get experience, you’re competing for internships and entry-level jobs with recent graduates. Although you’re willing to take a pay cut or even work for free, employers prefer to hire a raw recent grad who they can mold and rise through the ranks. What to do?

Graduate-level real estate programs serves as a great avenue to network, build trust, and show employers the value you can add. However, if you don’t have the luxury of spending 18 months and $100K formally learning the real estate business, what can you do?

The Approach
The challenging job market or your individual situation is not the obstacle, the obstacle is abandoning conventional job-hunting methods.

Here’s what I would do to land a job (in no particular order):

  1. Decide on what kind of work you’re interested in, and TELL PEOPLE about it. Make a list of the companies you’d like to work for and determine all the roles that you think you could play. Refine this list through informational interviews. Keep in mind what kind of lifestyle you’d like to have.
  2. Learn everything you can about the business and your market. This will equip you with the base skills you need, but also show your passion for the business. You don’t need to be and won’t be expected to be an expert, you just have to get really good at a few things.
  3. Use the people in your network that know and trust you (unlike job posting sites where you’re a faceless resume), because they will actually want to help you find a job. Real estate and business is about relationships and your first opportunity will almost certainly come from someone in your network giving you a chance.
  4. Find unique ways to stand out and catch employer’s attention. You know you have the skills and mindset to successfully do the job you want, so show them by doing free work. Here are some ideas of things you can do.
  5. Know your story and find a way to spin your experience in a positive light. Most successful real estate professionals come from outside the business because they bring a different perspective to the table. Your years working for a tech company or running your own business are more valuable than you think.

The goal isn’t to land your dream job, just get your foot in the door somewhere. Remember, there is no linear career path in real estate.

Transitioning into the real estate business isn’t easy, but with the right approach and dedication, you’ll be given the opportunity to prove yourself.

What do you think?

Looking for more posts about growing your real estate career? Start here.