Right now, seniors in college are facing an impactful life decision. With their entire future in front of them, an optimistic attitude, and a twinkle in their eyes, a job offer has been presented to them now that their internship is over. If you find yourself in this situation, keep reading.
For those seniors who feel pressed to accept a job offer (because of the weight of their friends, family, or teacher), keep reading. For those people who have not started their job search process, their internship might have fallen through, or who might not have received a full-time offer, keep reading.
This video-based blog post contains a few lessons from my personal experiences, along with stories your peers have shared with me recently.
I was sitting in your shoes six years ago. Dressed in a suit and tie on the final day of my commercial banking internship with Texas Capital Bank. I was hoping to get the job offer just like many of you. Their internship was well structured with lunch ‘n’ learns, the CEO speaking with our group, parties, commercial banking training, underwriting experience, and mentorship. My final review came up, and they told me that I did not receive the full-time job offer and that my skills were suited for something else. I was so thankful for that advice.
Not sure where to start with your job search? Download our Commercial Real Estate Company Database Tool to browse over 2,000 real estate companies, filter by Location, Company Type, Job Function, and Property Type, and create a target list of companies for your job search.
I will never forget calling my mom and telling her about this. She said they did me a favor by being transparent with me. Looking back on it today, I would have accepted their offer no doubt if it was presented to me. And this is the position many of you find yourself in right now. You have received an offer (or have not) and every cell in your body is either telling you to accept it or bummed out because you were not offered the job.
After six years of real estate recruiting experience and talking with hundreds of students who are in this position, I want to offer advice for the most common scenarios where you might find yourself.
A note from Spencer: This post was written by our resident expert in all things CRE careers, Tucker Wells. Tucker is always willing to get on a call with A.CRE readers and discuss their current career situation. Scroll to the bottom of this post and click ‘Contact Tucker’ to put some time on his calendar.
The “Stress-Free” Position
This is not a good reason to accept the position.
You will wake up on the first day of your senior year feeling no pressure. You will be thinking to yourself, “The hard work is done. This year is going to be a breeze. I’m just going to enjoy myself.” Parents, friends, teachers, congratulating you. It will feel nice for a few months.
However, a lot can go wrong, and if you take your eye off the ball, you’ll become more stressed. If you do not have a job offer in hand after your summer internships, expect to have weekly coffee meetings, show up to all club/networking events, take extracurricular training, like the Accelerator (hyperlink Accelerator), and do everything in your power to meet with real estate folks.
This is a hard process many people do not want to put themselves through.
Accepting a job due to the “Stress of the CRE Recruitment Process” is a Risk Mitigation Strategy:
You are thinking to yourself, “I have a full-time job offer in front of me, Tucker, you don’t understand my situation.”
Be it student loans, credit card debt, being an introvert, a fear of 1v1 interviews or of reaching out to people on your own, this job offer can seem very appealing.
If you do not accept this job offer at the end of summer, don’t worry, you have nine months until graduation. What you need to do is take the consistent actions necessary to end up in a place where employers are throwing offers your way because you have done such a great job. Wouldn’t it be nice to get to a point where you can make a few calls then receive a few job offers?
That is where you will find yourself when you utilize these next nine months of recruiting you have in front of you wisely. Embrace it. Yes, the CRE job search process is stressful, so is life. Lean into it.
Be prepared for the hand-to-hand combat process of networking, putting yourself out there, reaching out to people on LinkedIn, cold emailing alumni, cold calling hiring managers, passing out your resume in person, etc.
On the other hand, be prepared to meet new people, have new opportunities in front of you, find new interests, and find new mentors. I would hate for you to accept this position merely due to stress, only to find out that you prefer to be in an entirely different sector of the CRE industry!
You really like the company, team, and the day-to-day responsibilities
This is a great reason to accept the position.
During your summer internship, did you feel at home, happy to show up to work each day, excited to do your job, challenged, and trusted?
Those are all signs that this would be a good opportunity for you.
I would recommend that you reach out to the company and ask to work with them during the school year, even if just for 5-15 hours per week. This will allow you to continue building relationships at the company, stay integrated in the culture, learn the companies’ best practices, and maintain momentum before starting full-time after you graduate.
Recommendations for finding a job like this: The Gut Feeling
I find it extremely rare to find a job like this-where you enjoy the company, team, and day-to-day responsibilities.
Thankfully, I have found that with A.CRE. But it did not come easily.
I had 4 different jobs in the real estate business, ranging from brokerage, investments, acquisitions, and banking. Not once did I have the gut feeling that this is what I want to do 20 years from now. Then came recruiting.
Recruiting was the one place where I felt “called.” It felt right. It was fun. It was challenging. I felt excited to wake up each day and build relationships with CRE professionals. I strategized, built a business plan, made goals for myself, and each day I woke up with a sense of “I love this!” When you feel like that, you will most likely find yourself giving up your spare time to learn more about the industry.
My recommendation is to not stop searching until you find that for yourself.
“If only I could have this company on my resume”
This is not a good reason to accept the position.
I spoke with a recent grad who accepted his job due to the prestige of this company. A few months later they quit. If you find yourself wanting to accept a job only due to the prestige of the firm and seeing its name on your resume then you will need a bigger reason to get through the hard times.
Some common phrases we hear from people who find themselves in these positions are:
“They worked me 100+ hours.”
“I couldn’t prioritize my health.”
“My relationships suffered.”
“I’m just tired.”
“I feel taken advantage of and resent my employer.”
- Check out a few indispensable CRE resume tips
Recommendations if you find yourself in this position: Negotiate
If a company is trying to recruit you and sign you 9 months early, this is a perfect opportunity for you to practice negotiating.
Here are some valid points to negotiate:
- Signing bonus for having you commit 9 months early.
- Relocation fee if you are moving
- 4 all-expense-paid trips to the office to shadow different people and departments
- Paid supplemental training courses to come into the job with better skills
- Working 5-15 hours/week during the school year to get a better feel for company, policies, and culture, even if it is just admin work.
If a company is willing to give you something like this, that is a nice gesture. It builds goodwill and trust. When the hard times do come (and they will), you will find yourself thankful for what they have done for you, which will combat negative feelings about your employer.
When companies invest something like that into their recruits, it shows they will invest in you when you come on board. If companies are NOT willing to do much in the negotiation process, that shows they will not invest in you when you start.
Be willing to let one door close for another to open.
Parting Thoughts on the Subject
I hope these tips and recommendations will help you with these decisions. In these next 9 months, be intentional in gaining knowledge, building skills, and growing relationships. Remember, different areas of the CRE industry hire at different times! Don’t get down on yourself if your peers accept job offers before you.
I wish all y’all out there an enjoyable senior year and recruitment process!
About the Author: Tucker is currently the Head of Training and Career Services at A.CRE where he is responsible for talking with universities, companies, and candidates about our training and career opportunities. Prior to A.CRE, Tucker spent 2 years at the 9th largest executive recruitment firm, where he focused on recruiting professionals in Commercial Real Estate with a focus on Multifamily, Office, Industrial and Single-Family Development, Acquisition, and Asset Management roles. Tucker holds a BBA in Real Estate Finance from Southern Methodist University. During his time there, Tucker became President of the Real Estate Club. This role was instrumental in providing guidance and connecting students with careers in CRE. In doing this, Tucker discovered a passion for connecting companies and candidates. Tucker currently resides in Dallas, TX.