Q: I graduated with an associated degree in real estate, but I haven’t taken the big test, yet.

I would love to work with a broker or a salesperson and see what it’s like to work in a residential brokerage company. That would be the best experience. How can I make that happen? Please let me know.

A: You do not need a real estate license to do some jobs in a real estate office. For instance, you could be a receptionist, work as part of the staff that helps get paperwork and documents ready for closing, or be an assistant to a top-selling real estate agent with limited ability to deal with buyers and sellers and probably without showing properties.

But having your salesperson’s license will be a huge asset because it will tell everyone that you’re serious about pursuing a career in real estate. It will also allow you to do things like show property (which you typically cannot do if you don’t have a salesperson’s license) which will make you more valuable to a top agent.

The big problem is that times are tough for real estate agents, and many firms have cut the number of people who were doing jobs like these. They simply don’t have enough business to pay for them.

You should make an appointment to talk to the hiring manager at some of the bigger firms in your area and see if there are any openings that will at least help you get your foot in the door, and hopefully pay you while you’re taking the salesperson’s license.

Even if you can’t get a paying job, you should offer to intern with an agent for free, just for the experience.