Grider pic 0809Designations—or as I sometimes refer to them, the alphabet soup behind your name—have nothing to do with having more things to place on your business card,  but everything to do with growing your real estate career.

As the daughter of a school administrator (my junior high principal), the importance of education was stressed to me. Much to my parents’ disappointment, I only went to college for one year and graduated with a Secretarial Science Certificate. That choice, however, led me to my first involvement with real estate as a real estate secretary. I worked for a small office and got hooked on real estate. I took my salesperson test soon after my 21st birthday and never stopped taking classes. First I obtained my broker’s license. From there I earned the GRI designation from the Illinois Association of REALTORS® Graduate REALTOR® Institute.

It was during those GRI courses that I met a great mentor, REALTOR® Tom Dasso. I had been offered a position in management and Tom told me that if I was going to manage I needed to do it right and get my Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB) designation. CRB is earned by a point system giving the broker credits for experience plus educational courses.

My next designation was ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative). Early on in my real estate career I never understood why we always had to represent the seller. I had the good fortune to serve as chair of the IAR committee that worked on the introduction of buyer agency in Illinois. It only seemed appropriate to obtain the designation that focuses on buyer representation. My most recent designation is e-Pro. The course is taken completely online and is geared towards effective communication with the growing population of Internet buyers.

I credit much of my professional and personal growth to applying the lessons learned in my designation courses to my day-to-day real estate business.

November is REALTOR® Designation Awareness Month. Take advantage of all the opportunities that are offered you to increase your knowledge, skills and relevance to customers. After each class make an action plan of ideas, then start applying one at a time. Too often we get overwhelmed with ideas—which freezes our brains! Master one new thing then add another. You will reap the rewards!