Some started as college students working in the office at the apartment community at which they lived. Others had a friend in the industry who encouraged them to apply. Still others were bored with their current jobs and looking to make a change. The ways in which people start working in the apartment industry are as varied as the individuals themselves. Ours is an industry that employs more than 1 million people in jobs that range from leasing consultant to maintenance technician to marketing coordinator or systems analyst.
As we celebrate Apartment Careers Month, the National Apartment Association recently asked its Facebook fans to share how they first entered multifamily housing. Below are just some of the stories they shared with us.
- Alice Hall Justice (Winterwood Property Management): “Twenty-five years ago this year I started with Cowgill Properties as a housekeeper, then leasing, then manager (all in the first year). I've been with Winterwood Property Management for almost seven years now. It's not just a job, it's my passion. I'm blessed to work in this industry and more blessed to work for Winterwood.”
- Tonya Fehler-Framstad (FPI Management, Inc.): “It started 15 years ago when I was an aspiring fashion buyer managing a clothing store in downtown Seattle when my dad, who worked at For Rent Magazine, asked me when I was going to get a real job!”
- Sondria Waldorf (Unified Property Group): “I worked for a temporary agency to clean the new construction, and I begged the maintenance supervisor to hire me as their permanent housekeeper. He told me (that he would) if I could keep my mouth shut. So the next day I wore duct tape across my mouth, and I was hired as their housekeeper and eventually turned property manager!”
- Lisa Conley Bowman (Kansas City Homes & Gardens): “I was living at a property in Lexington, Kentucky and saw an ad in the paper for a leasing consultant. I thought, ‘How hard can it be?’ HAHAHA!! Fifteen years later, I KNOW how hard it is! ;-)”
- Sarah Stefanini (BH Management): “I was going to school to be a legal assistant and learned from a friend that I had too much spunk to stay in a boring business like that. So, I started looking and found the apartment industry seven interviews later. I landed as a leasing agent and fell in LOVE. I am now a property manager for BH Management and love my career. I could never have asked for more!!!! I would like to send a special thanks to my first property manager Nancy Grulke for giving me the chance to find my true passion.”
- Michelle Finney (Barrett & Stokely): “I started in 2008 after my sister convinced me to go to Ball State for Residential Property Management. I knew I wanted to manage, be in sales and marketing, work with numbers and paperwork, meet new people all the time and be constantly busy. It's perfect for me!”
- Danielle White (Lane Company): “I needed a second job while I was in school to help pay for rent, so I applied for a community assistant position working part time at the student apartment community I was living at. I continued to pursue my degree (which had nothing to do with property management) and worked in property management. It was the third property and my junior year before I realized I wanted to pursue property management rather than what I had gone to school for.”
In reading these comments, two things are abundantly clear – people love working in this industry and they have a tremendous enthusiasm for their jobs. I encourage each of you working in the industry to share your enthusiasm for your job with others. Encourage them to consider a career in multifamily housing and let them know about the many opportunities our industry offers. Suggest they check out http://www.apartmentcareerhq.org/yourfuture to learn more.
And, don’t forget to mention our free webinar on Wednesday, Feb. 29 at 2 p.m. (EST) where we’ll discuss “How to Find that Apartment Job and Ace Your Interview.”