3 Networking Hacks For Real Estate Professionals

As the real estate business grows and continues to become more popular among recent college graduates who may have traditionally gone the investment banking or consulting route, it’s getting harder and harder to stand out for jobs just through submitting an online application.

And to differentiate yourself from the sea of resumes that might be hitting a recruiter or hiring manager’s inbox, an existing relationship you’ve built with someone at a company beforehand can give you a huge advantage over your competition when applying for open roles.

So to help make what can be a very challenging process a little bit easier, this article walks through my three biggest hacks to build a real estate network, and the actions you can take to build relationships (fast).

If video is more your thing, you can watch the video version of this article here:

Reach Out To University Alumni

The first networking strategy on this list is to focus your outreach efforts on alumni of your university that are currently working in real estate, ideally those who are located your target city.

Cold outreach tends to have a pretty low success rate, but connecting over a shared college or graduate school experience can significantly improve your odds of getting a response.

This is especially true if you’re currently in school, since many of these people will remember being in your shoes and what it was like trying to get started in the commercial real estate industry.

LinkedIn’s advanced search feature is a great tool to find these people, allowing you to filter search results by university, industry, location, and even a specific company you might want to work for.

Many universities also have a dedicated center for real estate or real estate organization which will often keep internal alumni databases, including email addresses, phone numbers, and the companies where these people currently work.

The primary goal of an initial message is set up a quick, informational interview (either in person or on the phone), where you can learn more about what each person does, how they got to this point in their career, and any advice they have for someone coming up in the business.

Join Local Industry Organizations

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) is one of the largest and most well-known commercial real estate organizations across the entire United States, and if you want to get plugged into the industry quickly, a ULI membership can be a great place to start.

ULI members come from all different parts of the business, including development, investment, finance, architecture, law, consulting, engineering, and many other real estate-related professions, so even if you’re not working in real estate private equity or brokerage, there’s still likely a place for you within ULI.

ULI and similar organizations also tend to have local chapters in most major cities that hold regular, in-person networking events, and these are some of the best places to connect with a large number of industry professionals in a very short period of time.

Real estate industry organizations also usually offer subsidized memberships for students and young professionals under the ages of 30 or 35, and as an added bonus, many organizations will also have a dedicated Young Professionals Group that takes members through a structured training program alongside their peers.

Leverage Your Network’s Network

Strategy number three on this list is a way to turn these initial conversations into even more relationships in the industry, and this is to leverage the networks of the new contacts you make.

One of the best ways to grow your network quickly is to ask the question at the end of a meeting, “Based on what we talked about today, is there anyone else in your network you think I’d benefit from talking to?”

If you make a good impression during the conversation and include this question before you wrap up, this opens the door for someone to make an introduction for you, or just point you in the direction of a person, company, or another resource that can help you get where you want to go.

When I was first starting my own career, asking this question was one of the most helpful things I did during informational interviews.

Sometimes this would lead to email introductions with people that I otherwise wouldn’t have had access to, and other times this would just lead to someone telling me to join a group like ULI or NAIOP, or to look into a new certification or training program that could improve my chances of landing a job.

If you ask this question, the worst thing that could happen is that someone says no, or you may just hear a lot of people say, “I’ll think about it and get back to you.” However, by bringing this up, you’re opening the door for people to make introductions on your behalf, or recommend helpful next steps that you can take on your own.

How To Learn More About The Real Estate Job Search

If you focus on connecting with university alumni, getting involved with industry organizations, and leveraging the power of your network’s network, these things should all help you start to see much more traction in the networking process.

And if you’re trying to break into the commercial real estate industry and want to make sure you have everything it takes to land an analyst or associate role at a top real estate firm, make sure to check out our all-in-one membership training platform, Break Into CRE Academy.

A membership to the Academy will give you instant access to over 120 hours of video training on real estate financial modeling and analysis, you’ll get access to hundreds of practice Excel interview exam questions, sample acquisition case studies, and you’ll also get access to the Break Into CRE Analyst Certification Exam. This exam covers topics like real estate pro forma and development modeling, commercial real estate lease modeling, equity waterfall modeling, and many other real estate financial analysis concepts that will help you prove to employers that you have what it takes to tackle the responsibilities of an analyst or associate at a top real estate firm.

As always, thanks so much for reading, and make sure to check out the Break Into CRE YouTube channel for more content that can help you take the next step in your real estate career.

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