The real estate investment space, as well as the industry in general, is niche, global, sophisticated, fast-changing, and competitive. In this context, it can be difficult to orient yourself throughout your career and especially at the beginning. Moreover, having a competitive edge and keeping up with emerging technologies presents some challenges in terms of managing your career in the long run.
As a real estate professional, it’s crucial to understand the various players in the industry. Also, cross-border activity will continue to increase over the coming years, with new actors emerging in global real estate investment. As you become more familiar with the needs of investors, consumers, developers, and occupiers, you will gain in-depth knowledge of how to thrive in the real estate sector.
The increasing sophistication of the real estate industry offers a large variety of opportunities. But in order to find the right career path, you need to take many factors into consideration. Here are some tips that will help you devise your long-term career goals and thrive in this dynamic industry.
Career Development in the Real Estate Industry
Firstly, you want to be tactful and diligent when picking your first job. Avoid the temptation to just choose the first job that lands in your lap. Ensure that your career path is aligned with your long-term goals, both at the beginning of your new job and when you become more seasoned. In addition, as you would need to learn more about various possibilities in the industry, try to focus on opportunities that will give you multiple options.
Your first job experience is a chance to learn about – and explore – the real estate industry. If you can open many doors for yourself, then you can pinpoint exactly where you want to go in your career.
The next step is to formulate a long-term vision for your career. Imagine where you would ideally like to see yourself at different milestones, such as one year, five years, and 10 years down the line. This long-term vision does have to be realistic, however. It should be based on a well-informed understanding of industry trends, typical career paths, and the skills, resources, and tools you have to work with.
Pursuing a fulfilling career path in this industry requires a strategic approach. Be prepared for changes in your career, perhaps even big career moves. The key to success in the real estate sector is versatility.
Ultimately, the most important strategy is to find the right team and an organisation that will match your personality. Also, make sure that the first organisation you work for is offering clear projects that you can learn from.
Important Questions to Ask Yourself
When deciding what kind of career path you want to follow, there are some crucial questions you should ask yourself. The questions below are, of course, not exhaustive. However, they are some of the first questions you want to ask yourself as you orient your career in this industry. In addition, the answers to these questions will be very subjective since there is no ideal path that a real estate professional should follow:
- Where do you want to work? Are you prepared to relocate? Do you want to work in London for its diversity, international environment, and sophistication?
- Do you prefer the client side or consulting side?
- Do you want to deal with direct or indirect real estate investment?
- Do you want to work on the equity side, debt side, or both?
- Which area of real estate do you want to specialise in (investment, asset management, portfolio management, capital raising etc)? And within your chosen area, which role would suit your personality, skillset, and preferences?
- What kind of asset classes are you interested in? Do you want to have a multi or single asset coverage? It does make sense that having wider asset coverage would offer you more opportunities; however, it’s not necessarily the best option. There are fantastic opportunities within companies that focus on assets such as retail, logistics, student accommodation, and which offer great opportunities in the long term.
- What kind of investment strategy are you interested in?
- Do you want to work for an established company? Is joining a less established company or start-up start an option? Bear in mind that established organisations could also offer an entrepreneurial role with a wide range of responsibilities, which may be more attractive if you have an entrepreneurial attitude. Do you want to join an institutional or a non-institutional investor?
- What type of organisation structure (hierarchical, flat organisation) do you want to join?
- What kind of organisation do you want to join? Options include investment managers, private equity, hedge fund, family office, pension fund, sovereign fund, and investment banks.
- What kind of company culture would best suit your personality and interests?
- What are your skills and your leverage on them?
- Do you want to work in a multilingual work environment?
As we can see, the real estate industry is incredibly diverse and multifaceted. There are plenty of opportunities available. Nevertheless, if you are unsure of which avenue to take, it can help to take a multileveled approach to your job search. When you are actively looking for work, you should:
- Seek guidance from industry experts and seasoned professionals
- Network in different contexts (e.g. at schools, conferences, industry events, as well as get involved in your local community)
- Stay active on social media, following – and engaging with – key players in the industry
- Keep up to date with the latest news about the real estate sector