Wondering how to make a marked investment in your industry’s future?
Ensure young people have an interest in your business and give them early access to keys for success.
It is my experience most college students interested in real estate want to be developers. After all, developers are the driving force for the industry. But few really understand what the development business entails, and they know little about other wonderful opportunities the real estate industry offers.
Colleges are not fully preparing these aspiring real estate professionals for this industry. While many graduate with adequate subject knowledge, they’re unsure which discipline to pursue or for which niche they are best suited.
Mentoring 101: Start with Coffee
That’s where we—established industry players—need to step in and help out. Helping these young people start on the right foot can be as simple as meeting for coffee and asking the following questions:
- Why do you want to pursue a career in real estate?
- What education, goal or experience has influenced your decision?
- What aspects of the business align with your skill sets, personality or preferences?
- Can you support yourself during the time needed to learn the business?
- Do you need structure in your daily routine?
- What is your tolerance for risk?
Asking these questions in your first encounter encourages the potential mentee to really hone his or her focus and intent in future industry pursuits.
Talking With Real People
A few years ago, I organized a panel at Georgia State University to address these issues. On the panel were a leasing broker, mortgage broker, investment sales professional and property manager. Each professional told students exactly what they did, why they did it and what they liked about it. My intent was for students to understand why each professional chose his or her specific line of work. I wanted the students to start processing which role best fit their skill sets and professional desires.
Industry positions range from consistent high-risk decision making to day-to-day task-oriented management. After a few coffees, I frequently have a good sense in which role the young professional can succeed or whether he or she should be in the business at all.
The ongoing relationship between mentor and mentee is a win-win-win situation since it benefits both parties as well as ensures a higher degree of professionalism in the industry. Therefore, educate the up-and-comers to find their place and to excel in our industry.
Don’t we owe it to the continued success of our industry to help the younger generation succeed? I think so. So start mentoring—with a simple cup of coffee.
Coming Up Next…
Mentoring 102: On-the-Job Mentoring
Once young people take their first steps, the mentoring process shifts. Mentors need to help them learn the ropes and to advise them on handling internal company challenges, relationships with other professionals, and effective job performance.