Blending family, work and study
Real estate agent, Barfoot & Thompson
Auckland-based Jennifer Caulfield had always been attracted to the real estate industry. With a background in sales and administration and a qualification in travel and tourism, she decided to retrain for a career in real estate.
Jennifer enrolled in the New Zealand Certificate in Real Estate (Salesperson) at Open Polytechnic so she could study on her own terms.
As a mother-of-three, Jennifer wanted a flexible study option that she could fit around family life.
“I always wanted to do real estate and having children was part of what motivated me to start studying. I like the flexibility of learning online because there’s no set time for classes, so I liked that it was flexible for me and my children.”
Jennifer says the support she received from Open Polytechnic throughout her studies helped grow her confidence and capability.
“My tutors were really good and supportive – I could give them a call whenever and they were always so helpful.”
“It was so easy to do my courses because of how they set out and explained the material. The material was really easy to follow and it didn’t mash up my brain while studying. Personally, I preferred study online compared to a campus because you don’t feel as rushed and you can focus easily in your own space.”
Jennifer landed a position at real estate agency just two months into her qualification, after following up a job listing on TradeMe.
She didn’t have a salesperson qualification yet, but her determination and passion was obvious and Jennifer was quickly hired.
“Part way through my study, I got a job at an agency in Pukekohe. They were really supportive of me, and it was great working in the industry each day with other professionals because it gave me motivation to finish quickly so I could get straight into it.”
A combination of full-time and part-time study saw Jennifer complete the certificate in four months. She was hired almost immediately by Ray White, Australasia’s biggest real estate company.
“I started working at Ray White after I finished study. I didn’t have to wait long - they snatched me up pretty quickly and I’m now a licensed salesperson.”
Jennifer says studying has paid dividends as she’s now in a profession she loves with a prosperous career path ahead of her.
“Studying has bettered my life. It’s nice knowing I have a qualification and a career path ahead of me. It made me feel proud that I can do something if I put my mind to it,” she says.
In her position as a licensed salesperson, she enjoys that she can work flexibly on her terms.
“I love the sales aspect of real estate and the challenge that comes with it. It’s a good feeling being able to help people buy and sell their homes. I’ve had four listings in my first four months, so that has been amazing.”
“I love that I don’t have to work set hours, especially with having children. I drop the kids off at school, I’ll go into the office for a couple of hours to do paper work, then I’ll do some door knocking, flyer delivery, and other activities to market myself,” she says.
Jennifer plans to continue her career in real estate and may work towards gaining a branch managers licence.
For others considering a profession in the industry, Jennifer says, “Get into a real estate office or company that will support you while you learn, especially because it will give you that professional outlook. Working in industry gave me the motivation I needed to finish my study.”
“If you have motivation and purpose for what you love, don’t give up because it’s brighter on the other side.”
I always wanted to do real estate and having children was part of what motivated me to start studying. I like the flexibility of learning online because there’s no set time for classes, so I liked that it was flexible for me and my children.