3 Tips To Fast Track Your Commercial Real Estate Job Search

We’ve had tens of thousands of students go through our individual courses and the Break Into CRE Academy membership platform over the years, and I’ve seen some very clear patterns among the people who tend to be the most successful within the job search process.

And to share some of these patterns with you, this article walks three three of the most impactful action items I’ve seen our students and members take to land jobs at their target companies, and what you can do to stand out from the pack.

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

Push Past The Fear of “No”

Some of the people I’ve seen experience the most success in the commercial real estate job search process over the years are the people who aggressively pursue relationship-building and networking, despite any fears of hearing the word “no”.

Having a pre-existing relationship with a company can give you a huge advantage over other candidates, but in order to have that relationship in the first place, this usually requires dealing with the discomfort that comes along with contacting strangers and asking for help.

Regardless of how confident or experienced someone is, most people have at least some fear around reaching out and making requests for introductions or informational interviews, but the people who tend to be most successful in the job search are the ones that feel that fear and do this anyway.

The vast majority of people I’ve seen who have quickly landed internships or full-time roles in the real estate industry are the ones that didn’t hesitate to do things like send out LinkedIn messages, contact their university’s alumni office, or reach out to friends and family that are currently working in the industry. In all cases, these people took these actions knowing that any short-term discomfort around making these requests would be well worth the potential upside associated with these conversations.

These people also didn’t take things personally if they didn’t get the types of responses they wanted from an initial round of messages or emails, and instead, they looked at this process as a numbers game and kept pushing forward until something stuck.

Now, this doesn’t mean being overly persistent with one specific person or company, especially if someone has explicitly told you they’re not interested in connecting. However, this does mean continuing to take shots on goal regardless of the outcome of any individual outreach effort you make, and having faith that an opportunity will eventually come up as a result of these actions.

Don’t Overcomplicate Things

The people who tend to be the most successful in the commercial real estate job search are the ones that take the time and effort to master the technical skills necessary to become a qualified real estate analyst or associate candidate, but they don’t make things more complicated than they need to be before landing an offer.

It’s very true that having specific skills on your resume related to acquisition and development modeling, equity waterfall modeling, and a knowledge of (or certification in) ARGUS can all be helpful in getting noticed by a recruiter or hiring manager. It’s also true that most commercial real estate firms will give analyst and associate candidates an Excel exam or modeling case study that you’ll need to be prepared for when interviewing for roles.

However, in the vast majority of situations where a case study or modeling exam is given, the employer is going to structure that exam to test a candidate’s understanding of the fundamentals, rather than their knowledge of complex deal structures or intricate (and rarely used) Excel functions.

In my experience, most case studies will focus primarily on assessing a candidate’s knowledge of foundational concepts like the cap rate, IRR, equity multiple, cash-on-cash return, DSCR, debt yield, and other core real estate finance calculations. This is why I generally recommend our students and members work through the foundational Break Into CRE coursework multiple times until they fully understand the concepts, rather than rushing into more advanced modeling topics without feeling like they’ve mastered the fundamentals first.

Real estate firms are looking for candidates that understand the basic formulas behind core investment metrics, but also expect candidates to understand why each metric matters and how each can impact the decision-making process.

Because of this, staying focused on foundational real estate finance frameworks, rather than spending time on very advanced modeling training, makes sure you’ll be prepared to take on the vast majority of case study prompts and questions that might come up on interview day.

Customize Your Resume & Cover Letters

It’s not uncommon to see hundreds of applicants for a single open real estate analyst or associate role in a major market, and because of this level of demand, companies have to find a way to quickly filter out qualified candidates.

And because of this, the people who tend to see the most traction in the application process are the ones that study the specific qualifications and responsibilities listed in each job posting, and take the time and effort necessary to customize their application materials for each job they apply for.

You may have impressive experience or certifications in other industries outside of commercial real estate, but unless these things can be directly connected to what you’d be doing in a real estate analyst or associate role, these may not belong within your application materials.

Your job as an applicant for CRE analyst and associate roles is to make the connection between your skills/experience and the required skills/experience included within the job posting, and your resume and cover letter are direct opportunities to make that happen.

Taking the time to put together a cover letter that clearly articulates who you are as a professional and how your skills and experience can be applied to the role also shows that you’re being intentional about the job search, rather than just firing off your resume for any open position.

How To Break Into Commercial Real Estate

If you want to make sure you have everything you need to take on the application and interview process for commercial real estate analyst and associate roles at top firms in the industry, 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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