A Tale of How a Visit to Renew a Student Apartment Lease Turned into a Career with a Purpose

In the few years I have been working in the industry, I have found that few people set out for a career in Residential Property Management (RPM).

They happen upon it by talking with others, walking into their own apartment community’s main office, reading about the industry’s growing demand for employees or hearing about the industry in any other countless number of ways. Once they start in the industry, they often can’t imagine doing anything else.

Take Julie Chu, for example.

As a sophomore college student, Julie lived in an apartment community (as many college students do).  She stopped by the front office one day to renew her lease and found herself waiting for a while because the office was short-staffed. The property manager asked her if she might be interested in a job. Julie had grown tired of the late-night shifts she had been working in the retail and food service industries for five years, so she took the manager up on the job offer.

She started her RPM career as a part-time leasing and marketing specialist and quickly transitioned to a full-time assistant manager in less than a year. Fast-forward 10 years, and she now serves as property manager at Ashborough Apartments in Raleigh, N.C., for Gingko Residential.

As property manager, she oversees all aspects of successfully managing a multimillion-dollar community:

  • Leasing and marketing to potential residents
  • Creating a strong community to retain current residents
  • Leading and training her RPM team
  • Inspecting the property
  • Working with vendors on various repairs and projects
  • Analyzing financial data

“I think that it’s fate that I got into RPM,” she said. “I would never have thought to look for a career in the industry. I truly feel that I have a strong career path, and I’m developing new skills. I’m making a difference by helping people find quality housing, providing an excellent working environment and growing the value of a community.”

An RPM career is extremely diverse, allowing people to develop important skills such as communication, problem solving, customer service, critical thinking, financial analysis, market analysis and so much more, she said. This industry is constantly growing, and it needs new talent to fill these opportunities.

Julie serves as an ambassador in our RPM Careers Ambassador Program in which we feature young professionals who are relatively new to the industry on our RPM Careers website.

You can read about others like her by visiting this site or by stopping by the National Apartment Association’s APTly Spoken Blog and looking for entries tagged with “My RPM Story.” These entries feature RPM ambassadors telling their own stories about how they found their place in the industry.

Follow NAAEI on Twitter @NAAEI.

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