Tag: management

New Skills for a New Year

New Skills for a New Year

The past year was a strong one for real estate, and that momentum seems likely to carry into 2015 and beyond. With business on the upswing, this is the time to bring your career strategy to life. An expanding business often provides avenues to gain new experience or advance into more challenging roles as competition builds for talent. At the same time, it’s important not to overlook the importance of education in making the most of career opportunities that emerge in the new year.

Always Ask

Even in favorable business conditions, it’s easy for employee development to go overlooked by executives managing more immediate concerns. Don’t assume someone else will find time to advance your professional priorities, even if it’s part of his or her job. At the same time, you also shouldn’t assume your superiors aren’t interested in building your knowledge just because they haven’t dropped an educational opportunity on your desk recently. Keep an eye out for classes, conferences and seminars relevant to your job and the position you want to earn down the line. As budgets improve, it becomes easier to ask for the time and money required to pursue additional education. Doing so shows initiative and can also offer a gentle reminder of where you’d like your career to move in the future.


Spend much time on airplanes? Commute by rail? Have a few spare hours in your week to commit to personal and professional improvement? It’s never been easier to access a staggering array of classes online. Massive open online courses have made many classrooms at the nation’s top universities available to anyone who wants to log in. While programming and other technology courses tend to draw the most attention, there’s also a surprising range of free courses in management, finance and other fields relevant to a career in real estate.

Want to know more about the basics of corporate finance, marketing or even architectural photography to fill a soft spot on your resume? You might just find an appropriate video course at a modest cost on Lynda.com. Or, for more advanced learning, consider the career potential of online coursework or credentials from a relevant professional organization. A membership with the Project Management Institute, for example, costs less than $200 yearly and offers access to networking opportunities and educational resources that include dozens of webinars that can be used to help earn certifications.

Be the Person Who Knows the Software

Occasionally, picking from among well-qualified candidates comes down to which one can start the job familiar with that company’s systems. Likewise, team members who can troubleshoot a critical program or train others to use it can quickly become indispensable. While I’ve met few professionals in sales eager to spend a Saturday afternoon exploring their customer relationship management software, showing an interest in it can be an easy way to set yourself apart. If an employer isn’t footing the bill, remote training can be pricey for software like JD Edwards, Yardi or RealPage. But it’s worth considering whether the long-term earnings potential makes it worthwhile if knowledge of a specific system can make jobs available that were previously out of reach.

In the end, outlining educational priorities comes back to setting professional goals and putting in place concrete steps to make them happen. I’m optimistic that 2015 will see a continued recovery that buoys all of us in real estate. The professionals who benefit the most, though, will still be those willing to build their knowledge to match their ambition.

Over more than two decades, Christopher Frederick has helped match the talents of executives with leading companies in real estate. Visit our website at www.chrisfred.com where you can find exclusive job listings for real estate professionals and read more about our one-of-a-kind approach to executive recruitment.

Stress or Success? Outlook makes all the difference

Stress or Success? Outlook makes all the difference

Consider these two descriptions of real estate professionals in management: One relishes the responsibility of brokering deals with millions of dollars at stake. She untangles each snag in the process like a puzzle waiting to be solved. She’s sacrificed and worked hard for years to earn a position of trust, and she arrives at the office each morning ready to take on the challenges that brings. The other executive, meanwhile, has a tense meeting on the calendar with higher-ups who might disagree with her approach. She’s facing some tough calls that will affect real people she knows personally. Every day she’s aware that the risks involved in her decisions could derail not only a big deal, but the reputation she’s worked toward for years. As she watches the sun go down from her office window, she realizes she’s spent the last eight Saturdays at work.

It’s easy to consider the work experience of the first executive as the definition of success. Likewise, the second person comes off as struggling with a stress-filled position taking its toll. But really, these examples could describe the exact same person. In any career, and particularly in real estate, stress and success are two sides of the same coin.

Perspective counts a great deal in the development of a career and in how it affects your life. Leaders know that anything worth doing comes with a degree of uncertainty, setbacks and struggle. Becoming successful in the long run involves all of these things. The most satisfied professionals, though, use them as a source of motivation. Even when a given situation looks bad, it’s important to consider the circumstances in the broader context of your years-long effort to achieve career goals. It’s tough to remain confident all the time, but consciously managing pressure in the workplace has a significant impact on personal and professional growth.

Everyone does this differently, whether by surrounding themselves with people they trust, escaping into a hobby after hours, or volunteering to help people facing greater challenges. Regardless, successful professionals usually develop a healthy relationship with the demands of a high-stakes job and, above all, refuse to give up, even when the outlook is daunting. Most people in our industry have experienced this first hand in the last five years. As the market collapsed, staying in the game required commitment, faith in the industry, hard work and the right attitude over the long term. In my practice, for example, the challenges of this period led me to branch out into a new approach to executive recruitment as the demand for traditional headhunting dipped. With real estate finally in recovery, we’re now reaping the gains of that positive outlook and perseverance. And I’ve realized that one of the best ways to move forward is crossing the line mentally between feeling pressured at work and feeling successful when diving into the challenges at hand.

For more than two decades, Christopher Frederick has helped place leaders with some of the largest companies in real estate. To learn more about how we can enhance your next executive search, contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com where you can also find exclusive job listings for real estate executives.

Motivation or Qualifications? How Passion is Often More Important Than Credentials

Motivation or Qualifications? How Passion is Often More Important Than Credentials

We’ve all worked with “that guy.” The one with the impressive degree. The one with a long list of respected companies in his past. The employee who looks fantastic on paper, yet underperforms the minute that sterling resume gets tucked into the drawer of his new desk. As seasoned recruiters and personnel departments can attest, credentials and motivation don’t always move in unison. Likewise, many job hunters who endured unexpected career shifts during the recession possess valuable knowledge and dedication in spades, but that might not be immediately evident in their job history.

Employers: Focus on commitment

When business was slow, hiring managers could simply skim the most experienced people from a consistent pool of available talent. A brutal job market all but ensured new hires would work hard, if only for fear of being replaced. Thankfully, business has improved. Highly skilled workers – for example, seasoned purchasing and residential land acquisition experts – are again in short supply, and firms must adapt to attract the best talent. That means committing to the employee. Recruitment efforts should demonstrate an eagerness to fill the position with the right person. Companies should be responsive to candidate inquiries whenever possible. They should also communicate their workplace culture and potential advancement opportunities to show they’re committed to hiring good people for the long haul. In the same vein, hiring managers need to look for motivation on the part of candidates to perform the job at hand. Beyond their qualifications, do they seem excited about the specific opportunities of the position? Are they hungry for a step up in their career? Did something draw them to your company over your competitors? Most of all, companies will need to adapt their thinking to the realities of the post-recession labor market. What did applicants do during the downturn to adapt and add value when business was tough across the board? Highly motivated, well-suited candidates may not necessarily have the traditional resume bullet points associated with the position.

Job Candidates: Show, Don’t Tell

It’s meaningless for a candidate to simply list traits like passion, commitment and drive in a cover letter. After all, anyone can say that. Instead, job seekers need to sell the specifics of their skill sets and experience to employers. Examples of past projects turned in before deadline and exceeding goals show passion. Past loyalty and the sacrifice of time and compensation during lean years show commitment. Consistent follow-ups and non-stop networking show drive. Highlight strengths that are as relevant to the day-to-day needs of the employer as possible. One particularly effective way to demonstrate motivation is learning as much as possible about a hiring company. For example, I recently placed a candidate who at first appeared over-qualified for the job. He did his homework, researching everything he could about the company, good and bad. He approached the interview with the attitude that he could make the job opening an even better opportunity for the employer. By sharing his accomplishments and skills gained during the recession, then making a detailed case for how he could improve his new employer’s business, they ended up creating a new opportunity even more attractive than the original job. Both sides demonstrated how motivated they were, and both came out winners.

At Christopher Frederick, we’ve spent more than two decades helping some of the biggest names in real estate hire motivated executives that lead their businesses to growth. To learn more about how we leverage our digital network with our extensive recruitment experience, contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com where you can find exclusive job listings for real estate executives.

Step Back to Move Forward – Taking Time to Think Strategically at the Beginning of a Recovery

Step Back to Move Forward – Taking Time to Think Strategically at the Beginning of a Recovery

Have you heard the news? May’s construction spending was up 5.4 percent in the trailing twelve months, driven by the strongest residential numbers in more than four years. Bidding wars on scarce properties have reemerged in once-stagnant markets. The Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index has jumped 75 percent in the last two years, and some builders are even having difficulty finding enough qualified tradesman to handle all of their projects.

Yet despite the headlines, caution remains the watchword for real estate companies expanding their professional ranks. The beginning of a recovery comes with as many risks as opportunities. Rebounding interest rates, for example, could dampen housing demand. Many effects of the deep federal budget cuts from sequestration won’t kick in until next year. The eurozone, which collectively represents America’s largest trading partner, reached a record-breaking 12.1 percent unemployment rate in May. To the east, concerns about China’s murky banking system and slowing growth offer another potential shock to U.S. markets, job growth and, ultimately, real estate. At the same time, those who fail to act at all risk missing another long climb for U.S. GDP growth and economic expansion. One thing is certain: The decisions of real estate professionals laying out their career plans now will affect their livelihoods for years to come.

Plan, Plan and Plan Some More

Even though we face unknowns in the economy, a well-thought-out career strategy is valuable no matter what direction the market takes. How long has it been since you considered what position you want to hold in five, ten or 15 years? What doors do you see opening as your skills advance, and what opportunities do you see expiring as you move further into a single specialty? Are there things you know you will regret missing if you don’t act, such as starting a business of your own? The simple act of thinking through questions like this, sharing them with your family and discussing them with your mentors can put you in a position to act with confidence when a new job or business opportunity emerges unexpectedly. Build your professional network accordingly. Once sales pick up, new positions will emerge quickly as firms position themselves to expand. Be ready.

Patience Pays

Optimism about the economy and confidence in your career should help you work harder to reach your goals. Just don’t let anticipation built over a long recession push you into rash decisions. Even if you’re dissatisfied with your current work, take a hard look at all the options available before you make overtures to your contacts about jumping ship. Even if an exciting new opportunity emerges, carefully study the company’s prospects and business plan to ensure the position has a high likelihood of getting you where you want to be. Finally, don’t settle. If a position with a moderately better paycheck comes along – even if it’s been a long time since you’ve had a job offer – go back to your long-term plan and ensure the move is worth the risk of missing a better opportunity next month. Those who plan with patience today will find themselves at the top tomorrow.

For more than two decades, Christopher Frederick has used its deep recruiting experience and digital network to help connect the leading people and companies in real estate. To learn more about how we can enhance your next executive search using our unique method of digital recruitment, contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com.

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