How To Put Personal Branding At The Forefront When Applying For CRE Jobs
The commercial real estate industry has bounced back from the pandemic and is steadily growing. The CRE employment rate increased by 2.6% in 2022, according to IBIS World. As CRE companies continue to ramp up hiring, it’s a key time for employees to focus on how to present themselves in an authentic and professional manner and bring forth the skills and experiences needed to land their dream role.
On Sept. 29, SelectLeaders hosted a webinar titled Personal Brand Building: How To Market Yourself To Potential Employees. The panel of CRE hiring experts was led by SelectLeaders Senior Corporate Recruiter Katie Hart and featured CrowdStreet Talent Acquisition Partner Dakota Sherman, NAI Hiffman Talent Acquisition Coordinator Molly Barbino, Marcus & Millichap Talent Acquisition Manager Brian Evans and SelectLeaders Senior Corporate Recruiter Kristin Brown. The panelists discussed strategies for candidates starting or transitioning into a CRE career to stand out to recruiters.
Hart described personal branding as “creating an image of the public’s perception of you and what you stand for professionally” and opened up the discussion by asking what aspects of personal branding applicants can showcase when corresponding with recruiters.
Barbino said candidates should focus on their personal story, which consists of who they are, the values they hold and what drives their enthusiasm. Clearly defining these points gains the attention of hiring managers and helps job seekers differentiate themselves from other applicants.
“If you’re driven by top sales metrics or quality customer service, or maybe it’s analytical values or how you volunteer at a local pet shelter, show me that on your résumé, your LinkedIn,” Barbino said. “I want to look at more than just your skills on a page. I want to be able to see the entire person and how our company is going to fit with your brand, just as much as we’re going to fit with yours.”
Brown added that through social media, and especially LinkedIn, people have the opportunity to display information about their brand and interact with their network by posting resources and keeping their followers informed about what CRE deals they’ve completed.
“I notice when candidates are really involved on LinkedIn,” Brown said. “I think it says a lot about you as a professional. It really helps to tell your story and have you come across as an expert and that you’re passionate about what you do.”
During the webinar, hiring experts provided insight on how to craft a résumé to include the right keywords and clarify what candidates are looking for. Marcus & Millichap's Evans said that people should be honest while also presenting the most pertinent information.
“When you’ve been in the job market for a while, say two years, and you still have things like internships, volunteer experience, and hobbies and interests, it’s really just too much, and you want to be really direct and concrete about what you want,” Evans said.
When recruiters search for applicants via SelectLeaders, LinkedIn or other job boards, they are specifically looking for someone whose qualities and skills are a good match for the company. Even if applicants don’t check every box on the job description, they can detail transferable skills and any past experience that shows that they can fulfill the responsibilities of the role.
Sherman said that while people who are newer to the field can mention project participation and leadership experiences and explain how it can fit into a CRE role, seasoned CRE professionals should highlight acquisitions or deals closed.
“For any person who wants to be in real estate, if you have deal experience, highlight it,” Sherman said. “Give me direct examples, like sizes of deals and transaction volume. The more you can provide there, the better, because that’s what deal operations people, capital markets teams look for. Hiring managers want to see transactional experience that matches up and translates into their roles.”
The panel discussed how cover letters give candidates an opportunity to provide more detail about particular experiences. Barbino said that for people applying for entry-level positions in a new industry, forgoing the cover letter is a missed opportunity.
“You can use a cover letter or mission statement to capture more personalization, express your interest in the role, or highlight transferable skills,” Barbino said. “For example, you were in retail and you moved into recruiting, your cover letter really could have explained how these skills got me over to this next step.”
While salary is of course a key driving factor for candidates when choosing positions to apply for, panelists pointed out the importance of approaching this topic with direct and professional language.
“If you have an honest conversation, and you say, ‘hey, I’m really hoping to get $10K more because this is what I bring to the role, this is what I’m expecting at my current role, these are the opportunities I’m considering and in order for me to move, this is where my head is at’, that conversation comes across a lot more palatable to a recruiter than ‘I need $20K if you want me,’” Sherman said.
Hart gave a piece of advice for candidates who are new to the workforce: While compensation is important, they should also prioritize their happiness.
“Really figure out what is the company culture, what does the growth path look like and when was the last time someone got promoted?” Hart said. “Ask all those questions because the worst thing you can do is take something for a lot of money and then you’re burnt out and not happy. You have to be happy at work and factor those things in as well.”
No matter which avenues a candidate decides to pursue, panelists said the key is authenticity. This is why people need to carefully analyze their online presence and work to put their most authentic selves forward on their résumés, LinkedIn or the SelectLeaders job board.
Learn more here.
Studio B is Bisnow’s in-house content and design studio. To learn more about how Studio B can help your team, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.