5 ways to jumpstart your professional development as a property manager

Linda Day Harrison
Linda Day Harrison | 6 min. read

Published on January 14, 2015

Do you feel that you’re overlooked for promotions or other opportunities, or that you could be making more money as a property manager? A sure-fire way to reinvigorate your property management career in 2015 is to vow to learn more about your field. In this article, I talk about five ways you can jumpstart your professional development.

Reflect on What You Need to Learn, Then Prioritize It

In which areas do you need to grow to make yourself a more effective property manager? For example, could you win more clients if you were a more persuasive presenter? Or would learning advanced Excel techniques or an online organizational system like Evernote or Trello make you more efficient in tackling your daily challenges?

For example, I spend a lot of time with technology, so I‘ve invested time in learning the blogging platform WordPress, search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, and online marketing principles. To learn about these subjects and stay on top of the latest trends, I attend a lot for webinars and do a lot of online research.

When I first starting blogging years ago, I didn’t know much about SEO. I wrote hundreds of blog posts before I took the time to really learn about it. Looking back, if I had taken time to focus on SEO at the beginning of my journey, I would have grown my audience and influence that much faster.

Here are a few companies that offer a wealth of free and very useful resources:

Another discipline that’s always worth exploring is managing people. If I were on the frontlines as a property manager today, I would take courses, workshops, or seminars on people management because it’s one of the toughest parts of a property manager’s job.

For example, the American Management Association offers both online and in-person seminars and classes and some free online webinars, too. Additionally, check with local universities or community colleges to see what management courses they offer.

Start by identifying your knowledge gaps, and you can turn weaknesses into new sources of strength in your career.

Figure Out What Kind of Learner You Are

Are you hands-on, a video learner, or are you the type who can you pick up a manual for HTML or an application like Excel and learn something new? Or do you like to attend webinars or watch educational YouTube videos? How about reading industry blogs and professional association websites?

With the internet and today’s technology, you can learn whatever you want, whenever you want, in the format you want. Reading blogs, watching videos, attending webinars, either live or later on-demand, at your convenience — all of these can be excellent learning opportunities.

Additionally, many real estate organizations have online courses. Two organizations immediately come to mind that offer a variety of online webinars and courses:

There are so many excellent resources online you can tap to boost your knowledge. And best of all, many, are free!

Make Educating Yourself a Habit

In 2015, make it your goal to learn something new and on a regular schedule. For example, if you’re thinking about a once-a-month pace, that’s great. To stay on track, you could sign up for an IREM webinar every other month, and take online BOMI courses the other months.

For me, learning is a daily task. I’m constantly pushing my brain to learn something new, even to the point where it hurts. Yes, I’m extreme, but I’ve found the effort I put into educating myself is well worth it and that I’m much more efficient in handling my daily tasks.

To keep yourself honest, schedule your learning opportunities in Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar or an online system like Evernote or Trello. Do whatever you think will keep you sharp, and make it a habit. You’re much more likely to succeed that way.

Take Advantage of Vendors’ Knowledge

Vendors and professional service providers can act as teachers, too. Some offer workshops and can recommend how you can immerse yourself in a topic, from roofing and insurance to accounting principles and maintenance best practices.

If you’re a team leader, try this: One of my favorite things is coordinating a monthly Education Day. At the beginning of each year, my team and I identify 12 topics and 12 vendors that serve our company to come in and teach us something new. It’s educational, fun, and very beneficial.

These workshops aren’t sales pitches. Instead, vendors focus on a specific topic in their area of expertise. This approach is free and easy and lets your team learn something new together. The world today is extremely complicated, so we have to keep the saw sharp. Once-a-month vendor workshops can help reinforce your team’s learning habits, too.

Get the Biggest Bang for Your CE Buck

Many of us also hold a real estate license of some sort. Some of you may have a broker license, or maybe a property management license. No matter the license, make the most of your recurring CE. Do the research to find out which courses give you CE credit but look beyond the basics because more organizations are starting to offer courses on a wider range of subjects that also count toward your license renewal.

For example, the National Association of REALTORS® now offers courses on topics like real estate marketing, greening your business, and investing in vacation properties.

Not surprisingly, many CE opportunities today can be performed online, too.

The bottom line is this, though: Learning is your responsibility, not your employer’s. I encourage team leaders to invest in their employees’ professional growth, but ultimately you are the one in charge of making deposits into your brain bank. Take advantage of all the on-the-job training opportunities available, but make your own opportunities, too.

Good luck, and happy learning!

Read more on Team
Linda Day Harrison

Linda Day Harrison works for The Broker List in Chicago, Illinois, an online platform for finding brokers, deals, services, and vendors.

Be a more productive
property manager