Don’t Get a Job, Get a Career
Students graduating year 12 have more career paths to choose from than ever before. Between university, TAFE, trade apprenticeships, start-ups and more, there’s no shortage of options. Most, however, come with some sort of low-income learning period. The alternative for those who want to earn a respectable wage right away is to jump into full-time employment. Where possible, this is usually done at the same place they worked casually during high school. The downside is it may come with limited potential for career advancement. Real estate, however, offers Queensland’s high school graduates earning potential, career prospects and relative immediacy.
Hitting the ground running
Kym Cheney was a high school graduate who took up that offer. Now, 12 years later, she’s the Building Manager at ARIA Living. Cheney didn’t want to go straight to university, so she took a gap year to work. She opened a newspaper and saw an ad for a position at a real estate agency – a traineeship that would see her working while studying for her registration certificate. “I did legal studies in school and we covered some general real estate and tenancy legislation,” she says. “And my hospitality background meant I had the skills for communicating with people, so I gave it a try.”
Straight out of school without experience, Cheney offered her services for a free week-long trial. By the Wednesday, she’d been offered the position. The main advantage of starting right out of school, she says, is having not picked up any bad habits. “I was a fresh, clean slate,” says Cheney. “And I was able to absorb everything because I was straight out of school and my brain was still used to learning.” That isn’t to say it was a walk in the park, of course. In fact, Cheney describes the two and a half years she spent with the agency as a “baptism by fire”.
Advice for newcomers
“It’s a hard job, but you just need to persevere,” says Cheney. “Be open, be approachable and be a part of the team, because they’re always there to support you.” She says it’s so important for new agents to learn to ask for help when it’s needed. “It’s okay to put your hand up because you don’t understand how to do something,” continues Cheney. “People want you to succeed, so as long as you’re open, willing, receptive and approachable, you’ll do fine.”
By starting right out of high school, Cheney’s already had a prolific career, despite being just 30 years old. “It’s a really good space because there are so many opportunities,” she explains. “You can branch off into sales, property management, marketing, business development, etc. Real estate is a wide network of opportunities for people, and I don’t think a lot of people realise that. The skillset you learn as a property manager or salesperson can really progress you into other areas.”
Important information: A registration certificate is the entry-level qualification you need to start a real estate career in Queensland. This qualification will enable you to apply for a real estate registration certificate through the Office of Fair Trading to work as a salesperson, property manager or in corporate support. The REIQ’s courses are self-paced, and you will have up to 6 months to complete the course.