Do you like solving problems where there are no written rules?
Having a positive impact on the environment?
Working with a wide range of people—from engineers to executives—in a role that’s a lot like being the mayor of a small city?
If so, there’s a good chance you’re perfect for a career in corporate real estate management.
It’s a career path that tends to look more like a winding road than a straight line, but the trajectory is certainly headed upward, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Whether you’re just starting out in the field or have been working in corporate real estate management for many years, there are always opportunities for advancement if you have the right attitude and a willingness to learn.
Here are five ways to take your corporate real estate career to the next level.
1. Get CertifiedIf you haven’t already, get familiar with CoreNet Global, a leading professional association. CoreNet offers outstanding designation programs for corporate real estate professionals, including:
- Qualified Professional of Corporate Real Estate (QPCR)
- Master of Corporate Real Estate (MCR)
- Senior Leader of Corporate Real Estate (SLCR)
- Asset management
- Energy efficiency and sustainability (BEEP)
- Foundations and real estate management
- Industrial real estate
BOMI International, an independent institute for property management and facility management education, also offers a variety of designations and certifications, including:
- Real Property Administrator (RPA)
- Facilities Management Administrator (FMA)
- System Maintenance Administrator (SMA)
- Property Administrator (PAC)
- Property Management Financial Proficiency (PMFP)
While many of the skills you need to succeed are learned on the job, these certifications will give you the foundational knowledge you need to speak intelligently to your colleagues and think critically.
2. Find a Mentor
When it comes to advancing any career, there’s no substitute for working closely with someone more experienced—especially if it’s someone who has your best interests at heart. Corporate real estate leaders often report directly to other executives, so you will likely need to expand your definition of a mentor. It may not be someone directly above you but someone in a related role, such as corporate finance or facilities management.
Joining a professional organization is also a great way to build relationships with peers. CoreNet Global even offers a Mentor Match program.
3. Take On Stretch Assignments
Don’t know much about negotiating contracts with energy providers? All the more reason to get involved. Taking on new projects or responsibilities that stretch your skill set is the only way you’ll grow. If you’re not sure where to get involved, listen closely during meetings or lunch breaks with other executives to hear what they’re complaining about most. Or just ask what you can do to help research a solution to a problem that’s been bothering everyone for weeks. If you can learn something no one else knows or get really good at something no one else can do, it will be much easier to argue for that promotion or pay raise later.
4. Look For Ways to Add Value
As you take on additional responsibilities, look for ways to add value by recommending cost savings or process improvements.
For instance, you might be tasked with replacing an aging roof and discover a huge federal rebate is available if your new roof includes solar panels. Yes, the panels will be more expensive than a standard roof initially, but if you can demonstrate the ROI in energy savings, you’ll be seen as forward-thinking and cost-conscious.
5. Keep Learning
Just when you think you know all there is to know about corporate real estate management, something changes. Your industry faces disruption from the Internet of Things, new lease accounting standards, Blockchain or the next big game-changer.
That’s why it’s so important to keep learning. Professional associations like CoreNet, IFMA and BOMA all have local chapters, regular conferences and webinars where you can learn more about the latest trends in corporate real estate. There are plenty of great workplace blogs you can follow and podcasts you can listen to.
(We strongly recommend the Workplace Innovator Podcast, where our own Mike Petrusky interviews a well-known workplace leader every week.)
With all these great resources, there’s no excuse not to be in the loop!
Blazing Your Own Trail In Corporate Real Estate Management
Corporate real estate management is a multi-billion dollar global business with huge potential. The path to success in this industry is more open today than it’s ever been before.
As engineering manager Tim Danz put it in this BOMA video about careers in real estate management, it’s a never-ending yet rewarding quest for continual improvement.
“I’m always looking for a way to optimize and improve our carbon footprint,” he said. “There is a science to it; a beautiful confluence...of working with your brain, working with your hands, and trying to step ahead.”