Ways to Prepare in College for a Successful Career in Residential Property Management
I recently came across a news article about the dwindling demand for certain jobs, such as postal service workers and data processors. That’s not the case for the residential property management industry, which is seeing demand grow for skilled applicants to fill industry jobs.
College students interested in a residential property management career have many options. We have seen an increase in the number of universities offering courses—even programs of study—in property management. However, while a property management degree can certainly help, it’s not a must-have to qualify for industry jobs.
In her role as recruiting manager for Gables Residential, Carolyn Lewis often represents her company at job fairs, interviews applicants for job openings and advises others on how to best prepare themselves for careers in residential property management.
She says students interested in property management might want to consider studies in the following areas:
- Hospitality – Students benefit from skills gained in customer service and also tend to work in the hospitality industry while still in school, gaining valuable on-the-job experience.
- Marketing – Students obtain a solid background in sales and marketing and know how to define their customers and attract them using a variety of tools, such as social media and advertising.
- Business – Studies often focus on sales and management and teach students how to shop the competition and differentiate their products from others. Business students also often take other types of courses, such as accounting or finance, which are helpful.
- Housing/Real Estate/Residential Property Management – Students with this background know how to analyze the market and use research to relate to customers and what they are looking for in a home.
In fact, Lewis graduated with a degree in housing from the University of Georgia. She chose the degree because it did not limit her to one geographic area and because she knew the industry offered a wide variety of opportunities, such as in human resources, marketing, accounting, etc. Having the degree also gave her an edge in job interviews because she could speak the same language as her interviewers and already had a good foundation of industry knowledge.
“As a recruiter, I don’t feel that a residential property management degree is necessary for landing a job in the industry, but it does set you apart from others,” she says. “If I’m looking at two candidates for a job—one with a residential property management degree and one without–-the person with the degree will have the benefit of getting their foot in the door.”
She advises students interested in residential property management to pursue internships or part-time jobs in the industry or one related to it, such as hospitality or retail. Students also need to know how to translate that experience to the residential property management industry when they apply for jobs.
You can learn more about studying residential property management in college by taking a look at these undergraduate and graduate programs:
- Ball State (undergraduate and graduate)
- Drexel University (undergraduate and graduate)
- University of Alaska-Anchorage (undergraduate)
- University of Georgia (undergraduate)
- University of North Texas (undergraduate)
- University of Wisconsin-Stout (undergraduate)
- Virginia Tech (undergraduate)
Follow NAAEI on Twitter @NAAEI.