Written by Matthew Iles - Managing Consultant, The Ambitious Group
I don’t think many people intend to become an Estate Agent! I certainly didn’t.
And after 14 years of working within the property sector and recruiting for the property sector, I can safely say hardly anyone I have worked with or spoken with intended to get into Estate Agency…but I absolutely loved it!
I was 19 years old and needed a job after college as I had decided more time in a classroom was not for me! I dropped my CV into every business on the local high street and one business offered me an interview, this was to be the start of my career in property.
No basic salary, commission only and working with some very experienced Estate Agents was certainly very daunting but gave me an amazing first few months in the industry.
Over the next 9 years, I worked my way up from a trainee sales negotiator to a senior branch manager within a corporate Estate Agency in West Yorkshire.
In 2017 I left the corporate world and unfortunately didn’t really settle. I spent some time with an online agent, went back into corporates and in my final year as an agent, I worked for a small independent.
I had just lost the love for it, I lost my passion for selling homes and needed a change!
With no real professional qualifications and no degree to fall back on it was actually quite a scary time trying to work out what to do. I knew I wanted to make some serious money, and I knew I didn’t want to be an estate agent anymore, apart from that I was totally lost.
In September 2019 I started speaking with some recruitment agencies and to be honest it really helped. They helped me think in a different way and got to know me, what my skills were and what my motivation was.
Building rapport, hunting for business, negotiating deals and being a good judge of character were the main skills I had so one of the recruiters I was speaking with suggested recruitment! My immediate reaction was no! This was simply due to what I had heard and not what I knew. My impression of recruitment was quite negative, I thought they worked all the hours under the sun and were beaten with a stick to make more calls.
I think that is the case in some places but certainly not all. I managed to secure a role with a large Recruitment Agency and was put in a team who recruited for the shipping and cruise industries. Unfortunately, this opportunity was cut short by COVID, I was placed on furlough which ended up being made into redundancy.
Back to the drawing board for me! I was very confident about getting a job back in Estate Agency (even though I didn’t want to, we all have bills to pay) so approached Ambitious Group to see what they could suggest for me. After a conversation with the Sales Manager, I realised I could be a recruiter for the property sector! I hadn’t even thought about this and the more we spoke about it the more it made sense!
I could use all my previous experience which made me a great communicator, rapport builder and judge of character which are all really important to be a good recruiter. I knew my work ethic and attitude would be suitable and most importantly I knew loads about the sector I was going to be recruiting for.
In August 2020 I started my new journey as a property sector recruiter and unknown to me at the time, this was to be the best professional decision I had ever made!
The change from Estate Agency was tough, extremely tough! I basically had to start from scratch in a new industry. I had gone from being an expert in my field to being a complete beginner.
At the age of 31, this was terrifying, and I had no idea if it was going to work out.
I believed in myself, I was a great student and above all else I put the work in! The first three months were a total head blag, the next three months I considered packing it in most days….the next 12 months were to be the best year in my working life! This is from a work satisfaction point of view, a financial point of view and from a career progression point of view!
I can see the next ten years clearly in front of me, with a clear structure laid out regarding how to progress and what I had to achieve and display, and I love that!
My top tips for changing careers:
- Be a student – you are no longer an expert, but no one is expecting you to be. Listen to everything, ask loads of questions, and always try to understand why something is being done.
- Work ethic – if you don’t have a huge work ethic then recruitment is not for you.
- Trust the process – you will not be a high-performing recruiter overnight, in six months or even twelve months. It takes time to understand how to be, then to actually be a great recruiter. But your time and efforts will be repaid in your second year and beyond.
Changing careers at 30 years old was scary. Some people said I was mad, my parents thought I was ruining my life, and to be honest, I had no idea if I was going to be successful or not, how could I?
What I can be sure of is with the right work ethic and attitude, and the patience to learn again is that this is a very rewarding job! Rewarding financially yes of course, but more rewarding in terms of making a difference to people like me and having a clear route to get to where I want to be!
I would encourage anyone to talk to me about my journey and I will answer any questions with absolute honesty!
If you are Ambitious in your career, we want to talk to you. Whether you have recruitment experience or from a property background we could have the role for you! Find out more about joining Team Ambitious here.