In March 2020, Mary Ishida was told she'd be working from home for two weeks. Two weeks turned into two months. Nearly a year later, her employer put her on furlough.
The former sales manager collected unemployment and spent time with her 5-year-old daughter and husband. They managed to make ends meet.
But Ishida learned quickly the skills she honed in sales could be applied to other occupations. She got a job at a real estate company helping homeowners who live in communities with homeowner's associations.
"I don't have a certification; I don't have a real estate license," Ishida said. "Just being able to talk to people, customer service and communicating with people on email and Zoom; all of that really helped the transition."
And now, with home prices reaching new heights, there's a lot of money to be made in this sector.
Whether you want to become a realtor, a leasing agent, a property manager or something else, you may eventually need to get licensed. The rules vary by state, but ultimately these are occupations that many people transfer into, and the bar for entry is not too high.
Here are four jobs to consider as your path into real estate.
4 real estate jobs women can get now
- Real estate agent. Real estate agents and brokers help clients buy, sell, and rent properties. They are often self-employed and work irregular hours. Good agents must be persuasive, honest, and possess great negotiating skills. You must also have knowledge of the purchasing process, which is why you must get a real estate license. Most states require state-accredited pre-licensing courses, while others will let you take the exam if you've completed a few college courses in real estate. Agents make a median annual salary of about $50,000 a year.
- Assistant property manager. Assistant property managers oversee the day-to-day aspects of customer service in property management. From scheduling showings to managing the maintenance and custodial staff, this group must possess a range of management skills. You can get an entry-level position in maintenance or at a front desk before, down the line, becoming a certified property manager.
- Leasing agent. Leasing agents offer customer service to existing tenants, seek out new ones, and facilitate the signing of leases. This job requires a lot of one-on-one interaction and, therefore, is best for job seekers who like working closely with other people. Education requirements vary from a high school diploma to a post-secondary degree. Some states require you to get a license to work as an agent.
- Leasing consultant. This job title is often used interchangeably with a leasing agent. Either way, make sure to read the job description closely to make sure you understand the responsibilities and requirements for the role.
How to write a real estate resume
Now you're ready to write your resume. There are three different resume formats you'll want to consider:
Functional resume format: Best when you're new to the industry or have significant gaps in employment
If you're breaking into real estate for the first time, you'll want to use a functional resume format. This format foregrounds your transferable skills. Skills like customer service, property purchasing, administrative tasks, scheduling, and more show employers that you have the relevant experience to do the job.
Here's an example of what a functional construction resume might look like:
Combination resume format: Perfect when you want to put equal emphasis on your skills and work experience
The combination resume format puts your skills and accomplishments on the same level as your work history. This is beneficial if you have a few years of experience working in real estate. You can showcase these jobs alongside the skills section, where you can highlight your transferable skills in negotiation, communication, and active listening.
Chronological resume format: Great when you can show solid career progression and clear achievements
The chronological resume format (also known as reverse chronological) is for job seekers who can show a clear career progression and achievements. If you've worked consistently in real estate and been given an increasing amount of responsibility, you should put your work history at the top of your resume.
Here's an example of what a chronological resume might look like:
How to explain employment gaps on a real estate resume
The real estate market goes up and down over time, so employment gaps are an inevitable part of the business. Especially now, as the pandemic begins to subside in the U.S., employers will expect some candidates to have employment gaps on their resumes.
That said, extended or repeated breaks will always beg questions from hiring managers, so you should have some answers handy in case it comes up. Setting aside familial obligations, here are a few ways to spend your downtime between jobs that employers will find impressive:
- Preparing for a real estate licensing exam is easier than ever now that you can take classes online. You should also investigate certification in apartment or property management.
- Highlight any volunteer work you did involving basic maintenance, customer service, or other skills relevant to real estate.
- Many real estate agents work for themselves. Side gigs that showcase your self-motivation, even if they're unpaid, should be flagged on your resume or in the job interview.
Real estate agents and property managers frequently have long workdays and demanding schedules. Many people in real estate work full-time, 40-hour weeks. Some live in the apartment complexes in which they work. You often have to attend meetings with residents, prospective tenants, property owners, or association board members.
They often have to accommodate their client's schedules and spend a lot of time networking outside of the standard hours. The only upside is that you may have the power to set your own schedule if you're financially stable.
In the end, a career in real estate can be fulfilling and well paid, but it comes with a host of challenges. You need to find a job that's right for you and your schedule. If you decide to seek a job in real estate, begin by putting together a top-notch resume that will give you an advantage over similarly qualified candidates.