I may be biased, but personally I think that commercial real estate is one of the most interesting, rewarding professions out there. From my time as an agency and tenant rep broker, to my current role as CEO of a real estate technology company, it’s been my experience that a career in real estate exposes you to some of the smartest people you’ll ever meet across a vast array of industries. No two days, at least in my experience, are ever the same and the rewards can be vast – both from a career satisfaction and financial standpoint.

Quick note from Spencer: This is a guest post written by Nick Romito, CEO & Co-Founder, VTS. A big thanks to Nick for taking time out of his busy schedule to write a post for our young readers looking to start a career in real estate.

But there’s no denying it – the competition in this industry is fierce. Regardless of which area of specialization you’re looking to get into, getting your foot in the door at an organization that will promote your career development is key.

Here are a few learnings about how you can position yourself to beat out your competition and lock down your first role in commercial real estate:

I. Think of the practical skills you didn’t learn at college

Employers won’t expect you to have prior experience that’s specifically related to real estate but they will be impressed by the steps you’ve taken to prepare yourself for the role at hand. For me – it was public speaking. I realized that much of my role as a broker would require me to present to larger groups in pitches and other meetings. To enhance my performance, I took a public speaking course on my own time.

There are a variety of other skills you’re going to need in a career in real estate – whether it’s negotiating, marketing, financial modelling or more. And with all the online resources available, further education doesn’t have to be expensive. By showing initiative and training yourself up on your own time, you’ll immediately be more attractive to a potential employer.

II. Understand the technology you’ll need on the job

There has been an explosion of technology solutions that have become available over the last three to five years – each that have been developed with the specific pain points of different areas of commercial real estate in mind.

a screenshot of the VTS commercial real estate

Learn as much as you can about the technologies that are used within the specific area you’re looking to get into – whether it be leasing and asset management technology like VTS for brokerage or property investment firms, the latest in 3D graphics software for real estate marketing like Floored, property management software like Yardi, or valuation and cashflow analysis software such as Argus. The list goes on!

III. Read the news

The best commercial real estate professionals are fully in the know about the latest happenings and trends. Not only does this knowledge allow you to give clients the best advice, it also is critical for uncovering new business opportunities. By appearing knowledgeable as you interview and speak with potential employers, you’ll stand out from the pack.

But who has time to read through every newspaper and online news resource every day? Resources like The News Funnel can help with this information overload. It’s a free app that aggregates news 24/7, allowing you to create a customized feed and get instant access to the news that’s most relevant for you and the role you seek.  

IV. Network intelligently

The best job opportunities aren’t necessarily posted online. Particularly with real estate, being the relationship business that it is. Networking and talking to people in the business is key in your efforts to finding a new role faster. There are some fantastic, well-attended industry events across every specialization of real estate – check out the schedules of organizations like Bisnow to see what’s going on in your area.

Whenever you’re networking, it’s important to have a plan. If you’re at an event, don’t try to meet everyone but be targeted in your approach and seek out quality interactions over quantity. Most importantly, always follow up and ensure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date (people are trying to find you too!).

Commercial real estate has been very good to me over the course of my career – I wish you the best of luck as you get started on your own path.

About the Guest Author: Nick Romito is the founder and CEO of VTS, the commercial real estate industry’s leading leasing and asset management platform. He started his career as a tenant rep and landlord broker before becoming founder and CEO of Titan Advisors in 2009. While leading the full-service commercial real estate firm, Nick realized the need for a technology platform to help centralize leasing activity, analytics, and marketing. With that, VTS was born in 2012.