As a leader and champion for both multifamily and my company, I’m asked daily how people can get to the next level in their career. They’ve advanced their education and qualifications, yet their career with their current company is at a standstill. Professionals want to grow, but they’re often unsure about how to find a new position.
You might think the obvious solution is to head to an Internet job board and apply to all of the possibly hundreds or thousands of positions that sound like the position you want.
To paraphrase one of my favorite plays, “Death of a Salesman,” the key to advancement is who you know.
Yes, statistically speaking, it does make sense that applying to any position that resembles what you’re hoping to do makes sense. But, this will burn through tons of energy sending cover letters and resumes when you could put your time to better use by networking instead.
Interacting with likeminded professionals in the multifamily industry has never been easier.
If you share your ideas, people will notice. Letting your personality and knowledge shine through will attract people who are looking for someone as dynamic as you. Are you a great coach? Go online to help others out with their questions about the business. Potential employers frequent the message boards and someone who’s always there, lending a hand to other industry professionals might just be who they’d like on their team.
Christine Schoellhorn, one of my mentors and managing director of Real Estate at Greystar, told me a long time ago that “Presentation is everything.” I took that advice to heart and think about it with just about everything I do, especially sharing or posting on social media, for good reason. Everything I put out in the world is a reflection of my character, work ethic and professionalism. I want it to be the best representation possible.
When you’re trying to get to that next level and are spending your time networking, be sure to represent yourself in the best light possible. Choose a professional photo, check your spelling and grammar and craft a signature that’s professional and interesting. Become a subject matter expert on the topic you’re most passionate about, and let your personality shine through.
Connect with people and do it with flair! When asking to connect on LinkedIn, don’t use their pre-written “connect” message. Craft your own to make it personal—this is a huge area of opportunity to stand out from the crowd. The same goes for other sites you connect on. If they’ve accepted, go ahead and engage them because there’s nothing worse than connecting for the sake of connecting. Why not be proactive and start a dialogue, especially if it’s someone you’d like to work for.
Know What You Want
When considering a leap to the next level, do it cautiously. Do what makes you happy because coming to work every day in a position you aren’t passionate about takes its toll on you. Think about what you want your career to look like and craft a plan to make it happen.
Do Your Homework
Before jumping into a new role at a new company, do your homework to know the company and be sure it’ll also be a good cultural fit. Some companies require a suit every day—is this you? If you’re someone who likes to have a voice within the company, be sure it’s a company that’s receptive to new ideas. Never be shy about asking questions about the culture and atmosphere of an organization, because spending you’re work week within the confines of a culture that doesn’t mesh with yours will lead to unhappiness.
Every company and every position has its own personality. When trying to get to the next level, make sure that your personality and that of the company and position is a match. Forcing a match will only result in being dissatisfied and you’ll be back to looking once more.
February is National Apartment Careers Month! Is getting to the next level on your list of 2012 resolutions? It’s not too late to start networking and attain your goal!