Going Up? Career Strategy in a Recovering Housing Market

By now you’ve heard the good news: February housing prices nationwide increased 9.3 percent year-over-year – their sharpest jump since May of 2006. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported the inventory of new homes stands near a record low, and some of the largest publicly traded homebuilding companies have watched their stock prices more than double in the previous two years. At long last, the labor market for highly skilled people in real estate appears poised for a comeback. Here are three career tips to make the most of it:

Keep networking: You’ve heard this advice over and over again, but there’s a good reason for it: Most hiring happens through professional and online networks. At Christopher Frederick, for example, we now have nearly 200,000 highly skilled real estate professionals in our digital network who benefit from targeted job announcements when our clients are searching for talent. Likewise, you can expand your range of potential jobs by maintaining your own professional and personal contacts. Just as the career moves of past colleagues, bosses and clients can open unseen opportunities in a tough job market, staying in touch with the same people advancing during a rebound can put your name top-of-mind as companies prepare to compete for talent.

Don’t live in the past: What we’ve emerged from was not a normal downturn. The lion’s share of real estate professionals in most of the country experienced at least one pay cut, a layoff or the shrinking of the operations they oversaw. With more high-level positions now opening up, it’s tempting to focus heavily on accomplishments from the boom years, when the numbers were more impressive and the salaries were higher. Overemphasizing accomplishments from five years ago, though, can be a mistake. Even if the sales figures are smaller in your current job, employers still want to know what you’ve done lately. Emphasize the steps you took in your career to adapt, to look to the future, and to capture market share in a challenging environment. Remember, the people hiring you experienced the same market. They’ve evolved to work within it, and they’ll want to know how you’ve done the same.

Be patient: In construction, for example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the number of jobs has increased by more than 300,000 in 22 of the last 24 months. Companies are growing and positions are opening up, but as analysts at the National Association of Homebuilders observed, the hiring numbers are still well below where they would normally be given the sector’s robust expansion. Overtime and worker productivity can only go so far, and eventually hiring will have to accelerate to catch up. Therein lies the challenge for ambitious real estate professionals. You might soon have the chance to leave an unsatisfying position or pursue a larger paycheck somewhere else. But don’t jump ship just for the sake of leaving your current job. It’s important to think strategically and consider the new opening’s potential relative to other jobs that might open up in the next year. Optimism and growth are finally seeping back into the job market. More than ever, it’s time to evaluate career goals and take the steps necessary to achieve them during the market’s recovery.

Over more than two decades, Christopher Frederick has helped connect real estate executives with companies seeking talent for some of the industry’s leading roles. To learn more about how we can enhance your next executive search using our extensive digital network of professionals, contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com.