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Hire Me: Getting Hired for that NEXT LEVEL Position!

As an approachable leader and champion for both multifamily and my company, I’m asked almost daily how to get to the next level. They’ve taken classes, have a degree, a designation or two and yet their career with their current company is at a standstill. Professionals want to grow, to make more money, to be challenged, to feel like they’re making a contribution, to make their mark… but they’re often unsure about how to find a new position. You might be thinking this is a no-brainer; you’ll just head to an internet job board, type in the type of position you want, and search through the hundreds or thousands of results. Maybe you’ll apply to all of them, I mean… the more you apply to the better your chances, right? To quote one of my favorite plays, Death of a Salesman, “It’s who you know, and the smile on your face! It’s contacts, Ben, contacts!” Sure, applying to any and every position that even slightly resembles what you’re hoping to do, does seem to make sense, statistically. But, you’re going to burn through a lot of energy sending dozens of resumes and cover letters, why not put your time to a little better use and start networking, instead? NETWORK The multifamily housing industry affords us so many places to connect with likeminded professionals. From peers to potential supervisors, interacting has never been easier. Have great ideas? Share them… people will take notice.  Super smart firecracker? Let your personality & knowledge ......
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Team Building; The Apartment Developer's Dilemma

One of the great challenges in development team building comes down to composition. We ask ourselves; What are my immediate and long-term needs? What skills are important in my new hire? How do I find and choose the best candidate for my organization? The reason that these questions are more daunting in development than other careers is because of the vastly diverse set of skills that must be present in order to create a ‘successful’ developer. It’s not like hiring an accountant. At first blush, we might say that hiring for a new team is very different than hiring for an existing one. The reason being that with a new team, we know that need a comprehensive skill-set (an A to Z guy), whereas with an already operating team, we might feel that we can simply hire to address our immediate need- what I call a ‘fill the hole’ mentality. For those of you familiar with my blog and the School for Development concept, you already know that this is the exact wrong solution. We cannot continue to make tactical hiring decisions for development roles because a developer is always a strategic position. When we don’t approach our strategic positions strategically, we increase our turn-over and consequently add chaos to our organizations.  So what should we look for when evaluating a candidate? In my experience, there are three primary qualities that are essential predictors of success for anyone who embarks on the developer’s path. And I choose these three because being......
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The ROI of an MBA; The Apartment Developers Dilemma

Our conversation following my most recent blog, To MBA or Not To MBA went down some very interesting paths (although for some reason, the comments on ULI did not aggregate on MFI); so much so that I believe that it might be useful to further flesh-out some of the thoughts. The most remarkable to me, was the concept of ‘the ROI of the MBA.’ It has been asserted that the only way in business to evaluate a decision or an investment is based on its ROI. As my view of real estate development and the developers’ role in society is more holistic, my natural reaction is to reject the relevance of this singular point of view. In fact, anyone who has read my blogs probably already knows that I would argue that the sole pursuit of ROI maximization is destroying our urban fabric because it leads to a myopic view of the world. Suburban sprawl for instance is ROI maximization run amuck. I would suggest that we have a higher responsibility as creators and visionaries than can be calculated on a spreadsheet. After all what is the ROI of donating time or money to philanthropic organizations? Or being kind to others? Or traveling the world? Or reading voraciously? Each of these inputs informs our decisions as individuals and professionals, but none have predetermined effect on our salary or future promote.  There are a few other challenges with the ROI metric as related to the viability of the MBA: The MBA is......
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Computer Illiterate? Seek Help!

Let’s face it… the internet is NOT a fad (sorry Al Gore) and the role both the internet and computers play in our business is vast and ever growing. Let’s take a look at what parts of our business are computer and/or internet based:    Communication (with Colleagues & Prospects)- Email, usually Outlook is used in our business Learning Management Systems- Does your company offer online learning? Property Management Software- On our computers and generally on the internet Social Media  Rent Payments- A good portion of us allow residents to pay online Advertising- Our biggest source of traffic, in a lot of instances is apartments.com Weekly/Monthly Reports- Excel and Word play a big role in how we relay information Performance Appraisals- Many are integrated into our HRIS systems, which are internet based Payroll Time Tracking- Does anyone use a manual system anymore? New Colleague Orientation- Unless your company is 100% local, the internet is often used Accounting- Most accounting departments use our property management software in conjunction with computer and/or internet based financial software Payroll- The majority of us rely on Direct Deposit, which uses a computer to transmit. I could go on and on… I think the writing on the wall is pretty clear, to be successful in our business you MUST have some sort of computer know-how. I’m not talking learning HTML here… I’m talking the VERY BASICS of computer understanding! Frankly, I’m blown away, nearly on a daily basis; at the lack of computer knowledge so many ......
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Top Websites for Job Postings, Career Searches and Resume Postings!

For those looking for a new career in the Apartment Industry, or Property Management Companies needing to post job openings, I have created a list of websites I have been using. Americasjobexchange.com AAGDallas.com (Apartment Association of Greater Dallas) Apartmentcareers.com Apartmentcareerhq.org Apartmentjobs.org Apartmentjobz.com Backpage.com Bright.com Careerbuilder.com Careerfield.org Craigslist.com         Getpropertymanagementjobs.com Getthejob.com Ihirerealestate.com Indeed.com Job.com Jobfox.com Job-search-engine.com Jobster.com Locljobboard.com Monster.com  (AKA – hotjobs.com)    Oodle.com (AKA – facebook.com) Pmjobs.com  (AKA – apartmentjobs.com) Propertymanagerjobs.com Resumebucket.com        Salesgravy.com Simplyhired.com  ...
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When I Was a Little Girl I Dreamt of Being in Multifamily Housing

When I was a little girl, I would stay up all night and dream of one day being in the multifamily housing industry? Okay, well... not exactly.  Just like the majority of us in "the industry," (as we so lovingly call it) I stumbled upon it by sheer accident. It started with "The Honeymoon Phase."  How does one know when they are in this phase? Well for me, the symptoms were quite obvious.  In fact, they were easily diagnosable to even the common eye.   They included: excitement, eagerness to get to work, overflowing creativity, boundless energy, and enthusiasm for miles.  Just like in the early stages of any courtship, I gave careful thought and consideration to what I would wear the next day.  In fact my wardrobe prep mirrored that of an elaborate Celine Dion concert.  I visualized myself leasing one apartment after another.  All the while thinking how lucky I was to have stumbled into this beautiful relationship.  I prayed that we would have a lifetime of happiness together.Fast forward three years.    I was the same girl but now I was terribly ill.  A new set of symptoms had presented themselves.  They included: inside the box thinking, tardiness, grogginess between the hours of 9-5, and really boring outfits.  The situation was really dire.  What was wrong with me? After careful thought and self examination, it become obvious.  I had been bit with a career killing bug--"The Over-It Phase." I had lost my will to be fabulous at my ......
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Property Management Career Building

One of the most commonly touted reasons property management professionals provide for working in this industry is diversity. Not only is each and every day different from the one before but, also, property managers have the unique opportunity to put a wide range of different skills and talents into practice. With this in mind, there are several different avenues that may lead one to a property management career. Perhaps your background is in real estate, finance, law, or marketing. You may apply any of the professional skills learned in these areas to property management. Or you may simply find yourself wanting to utilize certain qualities or characteristics, such as dealing with people on a consistent basis, problem solving, or multi-tasking. In the property management field elements of all of these professional areas and personal skill sets will come into play. While you don’t have to be a master of all of them (or any of them, for that matter), you do have to possess the willingness to learn certain specific tasks. For example, you don’t have to be a finance whiz to be a property manager, but you do have to perform accounting functions; likewise, you don’t have to have a law degree, but you must have a solid grasp on local, state, and federal laws and regulations to ensure your property is always in compliance. Do you know you want to get into property management but don’t know what your options are? Property management positions come in all shapes ......
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Apartment Jobs: From Resume to Job Offer: How to get the CALL! by Daisy Nguyen

I LOVE American Idol. At the audition stage in the game, when the judges are trying to find the best talent in each city, in 10 seonds or less, they can tell whether someone MIGHT have what it takes to "Be The NEXT American Idol."In some ways, American Idol is very similar to the resume-interview-callback-job offer process. The end result is the same: Every company is looking for their NEXT rockstar. Are you IT?(Picture provided by nickel.media on Flickr through creative commons license.)Not feeling so much like a rockstar? For every apartment jobs listing I post, I receive somewhere between 100- 250 resumes. How do you stand out in the sea of paper, shine at your interview, get called back for a 2nd interview and land that job?YOUR Resume = The AuditionReceiving over 100 resumes is not fun. I've got it down, much like the American Idol judges, in 10 seconds or less, I determine if the candidate is "qualified" enough to get to the next stage. How do you stand out in 10 seconds or less?Less is more. Don't send in a 3 page resume. I'll never read the entire thing in 10 seconds. With over 100 resumes, my job is to screen candidates OUT. Don't risk getting screened out too soon by providing me all that information - and much of it being irrelevant to the job I have to offer. Shorten it up. Focus on the relevant points, and shorten up the rest. Oh, and follow directions folks! If the job......
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2010 Trend: IN-Clearly Defined Job Descriptions; OUT-Jack-of-All-Trades

Lately, much of my work has been very operations oriented. In this time of economic turmoil, companies are returning to the basics. Companies that are still alive today are going back to the drawing board and spending some time to clearly define job descriptions & responsibilities.(picture provided by KateL366 on Flickr through Creative Commons license.)Why spend time on something so basic? In the apartment industry, more so than many industries, we have many people classified as a "Jack-of-All-Trades." I hear this term used so much in our apartment industry. But consider for a moment, the translations of "Jack of All Trades" into other languages:Cantonese: Surrounded by knives, none are sharp.Spanish: Knows about everything but understands nothingGerman: Wise guy in all alleysTurkish: One who knows everything cannot do anything(Translations found on Wikipedia.) I don't know about you, but a "dull knife" sounds like another way of saying, "not the brightest bulb in the pack." Why classify a position as a "jack of all trades," or worse, hire a "jack of all trades" or even worse, classify yourself as such? When I hear someone tell me they need to hire a "Jack of all Trades," I think, this guy has NO IDEA what he needs. When I hear someone say, "I am a Jack of All Trades," I think, this gal has no idea what interests her/what she is good at.Each month of 2010 I will outline a trend that I see based on the conversations I have, questions that are asked of me, and trends......
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Mid-Life Crisises don't just happen at MID-LIFE anymore...bring back Mary POPPINS! by Daisy Nguyen

Do you feel the need to get more done? Do you have long to-do lists? Are you doing "stuff" but still can't get "anything" done?If you answered "yes," you could be headed to a mid-life crisis. These things start small, and then they snowball....take for example:I had a conversation with a woman yesterday that BLEW my mind. She's young, beautiful, smart (she's my "go-to" person when I need info), socially connected, socially conscious, and someone who gets STUFF done. I'm talking A LOT of stuff. She juggles a demanding job, participates in the local apartment association, fun/loving family woman, successful - one word AMAZING. (Let's call her Mary Poppins going forward.)Mary Poppins said to me, "I need to find a way to get more done. I want to take a class on prioritizing and how to get more done." WHAT? I was so surprised. Get MORE done? MARY freaking POPPINS? WOW.I recently took a class on MOLD. The one thing I learned in this class,  was this: Address the problem, not the symptom. So, in the mold case, the problem was moisture, and the symptom was mold. Treat the moisture problem and the mold will disappear.For Mary, her sypmtoms included keeping long lists and feeling dissatisfied with all that she had done. As we talked more, I was able to uncover the real problem - lack of motivation.We're not talking about the momentary lack of motivation where a simple PEP talk would cure you. We're talking about a full-blown lack of motivation. The kind that if left unaddressed, leads to a MID-LIFE......
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