I have 30 years of progressive success in the retail and parking industries. I’d like to move into residential or commercial property management. How do you suggest getting started in the market? As a leasing agent, assistant property manager?
Advice from Dana
Bravo to you and other career-changers who aspire to move from one industry or function into another. Unfortunately, I don’t think you’ll find one person who knows how to enter every industry, and I certainly don’t! However, I can give you three steps to figure it out yourself.
Step 1: Separate your target industries from your target functional roles. In your case, you want to get into property management. However, within that industry, you need to determine the type of role you want to play. Industries and functions are apples and oranges, and many job seekers mush the two together, which equals, well, mush.
Step 2: Do hours of online research. Then double the hours and do more. Collect and save the following in a paper or digital folder:
- Basics of your target industry, websites to read, blogs of experts to follow, anything you can find providing industry details.
- Identify local leaders in the industry you want to join and who are performing your target function. You can find these people in your local Business Journals “People on the Move” section and by searching LinkedIn.
- Go to the big job boards such as Indeed, Monster, etc. Search for job descriptions for the types of jobs you “would” apply to. “Would” is the key word since you are just doing research. Do NOT apply yet! Find at least 10, print them out, and spread them all out on a table to find the common requirements, skills sets they are looking for, consistent key words, and more.
- And, don’t forget “offline” books on the industry, too!
Step 3: Meet with people in the field you want to enter. Meet with leaders who are in the industry but who may not be in the exact job. Ideally, find people who are doing what you would like to do, now that you have the knowledge from your research. Not only will these people share their knowledge, they may know about open positions. This is called “tapping into the hidden job market.”
Making a complete career change will add time to the already-long job search, but it is worth every step to do it the right way.