Going After Your Next Self-Storage Management Position: A 4-Step Plan to Reach the Brass Ring

If you’re ready to seek a new position within the self-storage industry, you need a plan so you don’t waste time chasing employment for which you aren’t qualified or that doesn’t fit your goals. Consider the following four steps to help you find and land the ideal job.

Lisa Pyle, Partner

April 4, 2024

5 Min Read

Deciding to find a new job in self-storage can be thrilling and scary. It might be that you’re new to the industry, relocating, looking to advance your career or simply ready for a change from your current role. Well, I have good news for you: Companies in this business are always looking for great employees! The following four-step plan will help you find and acquire your next position.

Step 1: Define What You Want

Before you get into the job search itself, it’s crucial to define your “target,” aka the ideal self-storage position. What’s your vision? There are a range of options:

  • Property manager

  • Regional or area manager

  • Part-time assistant

  • Call-center representative

  • Maintenance expert

  • Corporate-level support

Once you know the type of position you desire, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What kind of self-storage company interests you? Do you prefer to work with a large operator that has dozens or hundreds of sites or a smaller independent?

  • How far are you willing to travel for work?

  • What kind of work culture attracts you? It’s important to find one that fits your own style.

  • What are your salary expectations?

  • What kinds of benefits do you expect?

Finally, where do you want to be in five or 10 years? Consider your long-term career goals. Make a list, establish a few non-negotiables, and include additional preferences to help you determine the perfect position.

Step 2: Craft an Effective Résumé

Now that you have a better idea of what you’re looking for in a self-storage job, it’s time to promote your professional experience. The first step is a well-written résumé. It should include the work history, skills and accomplishments that are relevant to your desired position.

List each company you’ve worked for, your title and dates of tenure. Then add the duties and responsibilities you’ve held with each, highlighting significant achievements. Include your educational background, industry certifications and skills.

While it’s important to note your hard skills, such as any computer programs or technology platforms you know, you should also highlight your soft skills. I’m talking about things such as strong work ethic, initiative, accountability, willingness, the ability to learn, etc. Have you displayed these characteristics in past jobs? Do you have examples that would demonstrate them? Add them!

There are also several things to avoid when writing a résumé, like dishonesty. If you went to college but didn’t earn a degree, clearly state “coursework,” don’t insinuate that you graduated. Keep it factual and avoid introduction summaries and objectives. When a hiring manager is sorting through dozens of files, they won’t read these types of comments anyway. Rather, save them for a more personalized email or cover letter.

Step 3: Uncover Your Options

There are two primary ways to approach your job search. The first is to respond to ads. Keep in mind that when a company posts one, they typically get hundreds of résumés from qualified and often unqualified candidates. Pay attention to the stated requirements, and make sure your résumé shows that you meet them. For example, if marketing experience is necessary, clearly list your skills in this area.

When responding to an ad, wait a few days after applying, and then send a personalized email to the hiring manager. Thank them in advance for reviewing your information, express your interest in the role, and let them know that you’re available for a conversation or to answer any questions they may have. Very few people take the time to send a follow-up email, which will help you stand out from the rest.

The other way to find a job is to be proactive and investigate potential openings. Is there a particular self-storage company or facility you’d like to join? Do some research and find out who the supervisor would be. For example, if you’re interested in a property-manager position, find out who the district manager is. Call the company and ask for that person’s email address, and then send a note introducing yourself and expressing an interest in working for them. Attach a copy of your résumé, and submit your information to human resources.

In addition, bookmark the company or facility website and follow them on LinkedIn so you can watch for new job postings. The goal is to get your foot in the door. This approach may take some time, but if it’s your ideal position or employer, you’re better off waiting.

Step 4: Ace the Interview

Hopefully, you’ve done a good job of presenting your self-storage background and skills. You’ve applied and actively sought out opportunities. Now, you begin to receive invitations for interviews. First impressions really are lasting, and you’re likely to compete with other applicants; so, you want to present yourself well.

When preparing for interviews, thorough research is key. Learn about the company and the role for which you’ve applied as well as the individuals you’ll be meeting. This information is often available on the business’ website or LinkedIn page.

Whether your interview is online or in person, have a copy of your résumé in front of you and a list of relevant questions about the position and company. Dress professionally and maintain good eye contact. If it’s a video interview, look at the camera when speaking.

During the session, it’s important to listen. Ask questions about the job requirements, and share your skills and accomplishments that align with them. Don’t bring up compensation unless asked.

When the interview concludes, express your genuine interest—if it’s still there—and ask what the next step will be or when you can expect to hear back. Lastly, send an email or text thanking the interviewer for their time and confirming your desire to work for their company.

As you conduct your self-storage job search, be consistent and patient. Refer to the list you created when you began your journey and your long-term career plans. It may take time to find the perfect fit. However, if you can wait, you’ll avoid short tenures and bad choices.

Lisa Pyle is a founding partner at Real8 Group, a national executive-search firm specializing in real estate. She has established a prominent niche in the self-storage industry, positioning Real8 as a leader in recruiting. For more information, call 724.835.4200.

About the Author(s)

Lisa Pyle

Partner, Real8 Group LLC

Lisa Pyle, a partner at Real8 Group LLC, has more than 20 years of experience in executive search within the real estate industry. She’s been working with self-storage clients for several years, placing talented mid- and senior-level executives in the areas of property and asset management, development, construction, and finance and accounting. To reach her, call 865.224.8900, ext. 103; e-mail [email protected]; visit www.real8group.com.

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