Getting Your Start in the Apartment Industry

This month, NAAEI has been busy attending The Ultimate DECA Power Trip in Boston, Mass., and the DECA Western Region Leadership Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., to let DECA members and advisors know about the many career opportunities to be found in our industry. A lot of DECA members we spoke to wanted to know how someone gets their start in the industry and why someone would choose an apartment career.

The truth is that people come to our industry from a variety of backgrounds and work experiences. Some come to our industry with marketing or hospitality backgrounds or after successful careers serving in our nation’s military. Others may have worked as resident assistants in college, realized how much they enjoyed it and decided to pursue an apartment career after graduation. We even have former teachers and airline employees who work for us.

In the case of Erica Frempong, she graduated in 2011 from Virginia Tech with a degree in biology and now manages all of the leasing for WinnResidential’s Diego Beekman Apartments, which is a 1,200-unit property made up of 38 buildings across six blocks in Bronx, New York.

Erica started in the apartment industry in college when she worked as a leasing consultant. At the time, Erica said she had plans to pursue a real estate license and was taking property management courses to prepare. Through those classes, she learned of Virginia Tech’s Residential Property Management program.

At a career fair organized by the program, Erica met the vice president of marketing for WinnResidential, who encouraged her to apply for the company’s management trainee program. A week later, she was in New York City interviewing for the program and touring WinnResidential properties.

Soon after graduating from Virginia Tech in June 2011, Erica started her new job at WinnResidential. She spent her first months in Connecticut rotating around Winn properties, shadowing people in different roles to learn all aspects of managing an apartment community. She was eventually assigned to her current property, Diego Beekman Apartments.

“The New York City market is very different from the other regions in Winn’s portfolio,” Erica said. “Being here has shown me what I can and cannot handle. I have learned that can definitely handle more than I ever thought I could.”

Erica said she enjoys the challenge of her job and she is constantly growing her skills. She encourages anyone who is curious about an apartment career to apply for a job as a leasing consultant, to get their foot in the door. Many companies provide training to help new employees better learn the industry and build a successful apartment industry career.

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Categories: Career Advice, College Career Advice, Hospitality, Job Advice, Marketing, Tips For Finding A Job