Networking and support amongst mortgage professionals can help you get a job
Damn — that layoff has finally come. All that time networking for new clients has meant nil as the unemployment office beckons. Yet, it may not be too late. There is hope. You don’t need to start flipping burgers to keep the family afloat.
Networking is a key aspect of any job search, and the mortgage industry is no exception. Building connections and relationships within the industry can open doors for new job opportunities. LinkedIn’s Open-to-Work button is a safe haven for those looking to continue on the path of mortgage originating. Many turned to their contacts and networking connections to sniff out job opportunities.
Here are stories from those who used networking to find work and one who networks to find new employees.
After Nicole Mattiello got laid off from Certified Credit, she did everything but panic. She hopped on LinkedIn and made a post, not just about her layoff, but about others experiencing being laid off, too.
Mattiello wrote, “Well, at least I’m in great company by adding that little green Open to Work filter to my profile. There are some pretty incredible people rocking that semicircle right now … but every day I see celebration posts of someone starting a new opportunity. Regardless of the Great Right-Sizing, budget cuts, and closures our industry is facing during this season of our careers, it doesn’t diminish my love for it.”
That post was months ago. Within one month, Mattiello accepted a new role at Chicago-based TransUnion as a client executive — and didn’t even find the position via a traditional job board. “A previous coworker reached out to me since they knew the quality of my work. I’ve known 18 members of the [TransUnion] team for years upon years,” she said. “The industry is like a merry-go-round. You’re going to bump into the same people again at some point. The quality of your relationships is so important, and often people hunt for those passive candidates for work.”
Mattiello says her new position — which entails support for TransUnion’s customer base — opened her eyes to the network that allowed her to be accessible.
Watch The Interest
“I’ve seen a lot of conversations about whether to use the open-to-work button because a lot of people feel ashamed or there’s some level of fear about saying, ‘Hey, I’m looking for a job’ or ‘I got laid off,’” she said. “With the support of your network, thankfully there are opportunities out there, especially if you’ve cultivated a network where you have friendships and personal relationships.
“People are welcoming [in this industry],” Mattiello said. “Nobody really goes to college for mortgage lending, so we all in some respect landed here by accident, and I think that makes us willing to kind of take the next group of people under our wing. I was able to land another job because of the people who took me under their wing.”
“The industry is like a merry-go-round. You’re going to bump into the same people again at some point. The quality of your relationships is so important.”
> Nicole Mattiello, client executive, TransUnion
Steve Frankiewicz learned the mortgage business from his father who took him to sales calls and client meetings back in the 1980s. However, his father deterred him from following in his footsteps.
“He told me not to chase being a part of the mortgage industry right out of high school. He told me I was too young, so I decided to get a job at Ford Motors,” Frankiewicz said with a chuckle. “But as it turns out, I was getting my father leads from the guys I worked with at Ford. I figured to myself that if I could get my father 2-3 deals a month, then I ought to try my luck at the industry.”
At age 24, Frankiewicz got laid off from Ford. “That was in 2004. I decided to try my luck at the industry as a loan originator, which proved to be mediocre at best given the market at that time,” he said. “I managed to stay in the industry the whole time, which was scary because I saw people falling out of it left and right.”
Frankiewicz said that he and his father, Larry, worked as a team from company to company. After working together at Simple Mortgage for seven years, Frankiewicz decided to take the plunge and start his own path in 2019. Today, he operates Frankiewicz Home Mortgage, a division of Kaye Financial Corporation based in Farmington Hills, Mich. His father— who still originates at 80 — is on the staff roster.
As the president of a mortgage division, Frankiewicz has a different perspective about support in the industry since he only had his father take him under his wing. However, as a boss, Frankiewicz said that he tries to give back by considering his network in times of need.
“I always go after people [for jobs] in the industry that I know from the past or through social networking,” he said. “It’s hard to go out there and hire when I’m still a loan originator because I want business to be the best it can be, which is why I’m looking for people in my network before advertising a position outside of that network.”
“It’s hard to network virtually — you don’t just run into people online and you can’t strike up a conversation as casually.”
> Mary Kay Scully, director of customer education at Enact
After Michele Kryczkowski got laid off from Planet Home Lending, she decided to embrace LinkedIn — not just for the open-to-work button, but for social outreach.
“I’ve been laid off before and at times when I didn’t have a strong network, it was devastating,” she said. “Now, I’m taking everything that I’ve learned from being laid off and putting out videos to help others navigate being laid off.”
Kryczkowski, who has been in the industry for 21 years, got her start as a processor at a brokerage out of Omaha, Neb. From there, she worked in several different industry positions: loan officer assistant, account executive, senior loan processor, mortgage operations manager, and vice president of national wholesale.
“I only ever panicked when I got laid off right after 2008,” she said. “I was unable to find work where I lived in Michigan, and I was considering waiting tables again because I was worried that I would need food stamps.”
After relocating to Texas, Kryczkowski found a job at Nationstar Mortgage as a mortgage operations team manager. As her network began to grow and she grew into a managerial role, Kryczkowski found that other doors kept opening.
“I had clients that tried to recruit me to work for them,” she said. “And after I got laid off from a place, I would have clients and friends from the old workplace offering to put my resume out there for me.”
Now, Kryczkowski said that she’s using this time after getting the pink slip in January to focus on helping her network accept that being laid off is not the end of the world. She knows from prior experience that job searches can trigger self-doubt and discouragement.
“I wanted to start the dialogue of what being laid off is like and where to go from there,” she said. “It’s been remarkable to see how many people have reached out, even if they have a job, to connect with me or offer to help. Job searching can get discouraging quickly, and I didn’t expect this outpour of support.”
Although Kryczkowski’s videos focus on embracing a strong network, elevator pitch tips, and career optimism, she says that her top, realistic recommendation for others going through layoffs is to not feel guilty for pausing your job search and enjoying free time.
The feedback to Kryczkowski’s videos has been positive.
“I’ve been invited to speak on podcasts about how to broaden your network and stay positive after being laid off,” she said. “I also get tons of messages from people also in the industry going through layoffs who remind me that layoffs are just a result of poor planning, not a reflection of your capabilities.”
When The Layoff Notice Comes
The experience of Frankiewicz and Mattiello finding support in the industry is proof that today’s networking isn’t strictly in-person. And, networking is what will save you if you get laid off.
With today’s networking being predominantly digital — such as during virtual events or over social media — it’s even more important to skillfully make strong connections.
Mary Kay Scully, director of customer education at Enact, says that networking has to be “intentional,” meaning networking is something to be prioritized.
Scully recently wrote for NMP, “It’s so easy to opt for the choice to stay home, be comfortable and multitask — but that’s the very issue. It’s hard to network virtually — you don’t just run into people online and you can’t strike up a conversation as casually.”
Scully said that carving out time to network might be tough, but the results of honing in on personal relationships makes it worthwhile.
“Be deliberate and purposeful in your communication. This not only goes for business partners, but customers, too — you never know who you may be talking to,” Scully continued. “Connect with a broad array of people, and you’ll be surprised at how things line up.”
This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine May 2023 issue.