Building your network is a proactive way to gain an advantage in the hiring process and to hedge against uncertainty when you are struggling to find a job. This article is part of our LinkedIn 101 networking series, aimed at providing you with the best LinkedIn networking tips to help you find a job in commercial real estate.
Take Initiative in your LinkedIn Networking
Keep in mind, you are reaching out to busy working professionals who might have a family, social life, extracurriculars, etc… so be sure to be the one to take initiative. That looks like responding with certain dates/times that you are available to talk. Furthermore, set up a calendar invite to call them.
A response like: “Hi (Name). Thank you for getting back to me. Are you free to talk Wed-Fri between 2-6 pm CT? If so, please let me know what time is most convenient and the best phone number for me to reach out to. From there I will go ahead and set up a calendar invite. Thanks so much.”
Be Prepared with Questions when Networking on LinkedIn
The list below represents questions that are not only good to ask when networking, but also great questions for you to ask during an interview.
- On a day-to-day basis, what are your roles and responsibilities?
- Looking back on your experience, what are 3 things you wish you would have known going into your role?
- What do you like most about working at your company?
- How did you go about getting into the real estate industry?
Real Estate executive recruiting company, RETS Associates, also posted a piece of advice on their LinkedIn profile for more great questions candidates should be asking in an interview. You can see some additional questions here.
Only Ask Those You would be Comfortable Working with about Job Opportunities
The beginning of your real estate career is important. In a perfect world, you want to start working with a company or peers who you believe would compliment your skills, invest their time in you, and help support your learning and development in the industry. When you are talking with these real estate professionals, always keep track of people you had a great conversation with and with whom you feel like you clicked. These are the people you should be comfortable with in letting them know that you are looking for a job.
This is a challenging industry, so you want to be with the right people. For the individuals with whom you feel like there is a connection, you might say something like, “You seem like someone who I’ve had a really good conversation with. I feel as though I’d want to work with you if there was ever an opportunity. Do you foresee your company hiring someone like me for an internship or for a full-time position after graduating?”
As I mentioned above, another great question is, “How did you go about getting into the real estate industry?” More than likely, they will say relationships are what got them into the business. This question allows you to ask them if there are job opportunities available at their company. It also gives you the opportunity to ask them about friends they may have who can help or ask for an introduction to another person.
Be Organized and Follow Up with your LinkedIn Network
Staying organized is of utmost importance. Our team built a spreadsheet that you can use here. One of the goals with this was to provide a resource where you can organize and add notes about conversations you have had with various individuals at different companies. As you refer back to those conversations and build on them, you are showing individuals and companies that you are taking an interest in them.
We recommend being in touch with everyone you have conversations with every 2-3 months. Here are a few topics you can use to stay in touch:
- I just got an internship at (company name). Thank you for all your help!
- I just finished my internship at (company name). Here is what I learned…
- I’m about to start my (insert year) of college. Is there anything you wish you would have done to get ahead?
- I just purchased a real estate financial modeling program, the A.CRE Accelerator! As I talk with more and more people, most tell me that learning financial modeling is of utmost importance. When you got started in the business, how much of your job was modeling deals in Excel?
- I am going to be in your area on (date). Would you mind if I came up to your office and said hi?
- I just spent 2 days at this real estate conference, CRETech! Here are the 5 lessons I learned:
One hiring strategy is just being in the right place at the right time! It may just so happen that one of your emails is sent to the right person as a need comes up. By staying in touch with your contacts more regularly, you will have a higher chance of setting yourself up for a successful job.
Are you looking to get a job in Commercial Real Estate? Sign up for Career Connections so we can match you with top companies that are looking to hire.
Remember: Ask Permission and Be Respectful of Time
If you are given a referral, always, always, always ask permission before initiating a call. This lesson will serve you well as it reflects respect for both parties. Without asking for permission, you are assuming the person has the time and bandwidth needed to be fully present during this call.
This is also a great tactic to use when you are wanting to follow up with an old contact. One of my favorite quotes is, “Contacts = Contracts”. Introducing someone and facilitating a potentially valuable connection will be a win-win-win scenario for all parties involved. You won’t be forgotten.
If this can be done properly, you will continue to add connections to your network, which will serve you well later in your career!
We know putting yourself out there can be hard, especially if you are not in the habit of doing it. Our goal is to help get you started by giving you tips and the best practices out there. Another way we can facilitate your networking efforts is to join our CRE Connections Program. This will serve as an opportunity to help get you set up with our corporate partners that are always looking for great talent.