Last month CAS Student Central hosted a webinar entitled, “Your Actuarial Job Search – Guidance on Resumes, Interviews, and Networking.”
The webinar featured presentations from three actuaries, Wesley Griffiths, Regina Kintana, and Mark Maenche, who each spoke about a different aspect of the job search. We have highlighted some of the tips they shared during the webinar! For the full presentation, you can view the webinar recording within the online community.
Wesley Griffiths, FCAS, 2nd VP & Actuary at Travelers Insurance, on Networking:
Wesley covered a range of topics to help prepare you to network successfully; from where to network, to how to start a conversation, to following up. Here are a few highlights from the tips he shared:
How to start a conversation: Having the confidence and initiative to approach someone and begin a conversation is important in networking. Prepare by having some conversation starters ready. At an in-person event, open with something shared, from the weather that day, to commentary about the event (the keynote speaker, the food, etc.). People like to talk about themselves. Lead with a question, for example: “I’m new to this event, what did you think about it?” While initiating conversations with new people can be intimidating, take every opportunity you can to practice this skill, as this will help you become more comfortable over time.
The importance of preparation: Approach your next career fair, informational interview, or other targeted networking opportunity, with a plan. Take time to think through what you are hoping to accomplish, do research on who you will be talking to, and be intentional about what you would like to talk about. Have your elevator speech prepared and practiced. And finally, do your best to be relaxed, confident, and genuine.
The art of the follow up: Building your network and cultivating lasting relationships requires that you follow up with your new contacts soon after meeting. Connect with them on LinkedIn. Leave a lasting impression by sending a note. Be specific in your note, referencing what you talked about, for example, “I really appreciated you recommending that article, I’ve shared it with my peers,” or “I enjoyed meeting you and hearing your perspective on X topic.” Be sure to thank them for their time!
Regina Kintana ACAS, Assistant Director at Liberty Mutual Insurance, on Resumes:
Regina outlined several tips to help actuarial students develop an effective resume, from making it visually appealing to what information to include. We’ve featured some of her advice below:
Make a good first impression: Construct your resume in a way that will be easy for a recruiter or hiring manager to read. You can do this in a few simple ways: have your content go down rather than across, make the formatting consistent, and only include relevant information (some white space on the page is okay). Before sending your resume over, convert it to a pdf to maintain the formatting and personalize the file name to include your first and last name, making the file easily identifiable to a recruiter.
Include relevant information: Though one size does not fit all, keep in mind the essential information to include:
Contact info – phone number and email address (your physical address is not recommended)
Education – school, degree, major, (expected) graduation date, and your GPA if it’s close to 3.0 or higher
VEEs and Exams – completed VEE’s and actuarial exams passed along with dates, as well as exams you will take in the (near) future
Applicable Work Experience – dedicated section for actuarial or insurance work experience entitled “Actuarial (or Insurance) Work Experience”
Relevant Projects – class projects or case competitions that highlight analytical, technical or insurance related skills and experience gained
Other Work Experience – jobs held during and after college
Leadership Experience – club participation and volunteer opportunities
Skills – technical skills and language fluency
Mark A. Maenche, CIC, CRM, Senior Actuarial Analyst at Risk International Actuarial Consulting, on Interviewing:
Mark discussed tips, advice and ways to prepare for an interview. Here are a few highlights from his discussion.
How to Prepare: Be mindful of social media and the access employers have to the information you’ve posted online. Employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring. Do your research. Learn whatever you can about the position and company, so you can ask intelligent questions and demonstrate your competence and interest in their firm. Smile! The interview offers you a short window to make a good impression; be prepared to smile, as this goes a long way! Dress the part, potentially leveraging your network for guidance on what to wear. Consider your responses, practicing routine interview questions ahead of time, and have examples prepared that will highlight your skills. Evaluate your technical skills, and be ready to communicate the value that you can offer with your skills.
During and after the interview: Plan to arrive early, taking into account potential issues that may delay your arrival. During the interview, ask questions that will allow you to evaluate if the organization is a good fit for you (exam support provided, work/life balance, etc.). After the interview, send a thank you note to each interviewer, an email is fine. This is the last chance you have to make a good impression! Make sure you proofread your thank you notes carefully, as they demonstrate your written communication skills.