The CAS University Engagement Committee contacted Ezra Penland Actuarial Recruitment, and invited them to write a blog post to provide you with information and tips to help you with your search for an actuarial position. We thank Ezra Penland’s Matthew Optiz, Actuarial Recruiter and Margi Patel, Actuarial Recruiter, for writing this post to share with members of CAS Student Central.
Ezra Penland recruiters review a variety of resumes ranging from someone who is looking to get into the actuarial field to seasoned veterans with decades of experience. With our own experience and feedback from hiring managers, we have learned to recognize what makes a resume stand out in a large pile.
Starting simply, every resume should have your contact information at the very top! This includes your full name, your address, best phone number at which to reach you, and a professional sounding email address you check consistently.
Education Details and Exam Status
Your education details and exam status at this point should be first and foremost. This allows hiring managers to understand your commitment to the actuarial field, and that you’ve invested time into this profession.
Relevant Work Experience
Another major heading should be your relevant work experience, which should include any internship experience you have ongoing or completed. It is best to tailor your resumes to the job description to include specific keywords mentioned, preferably with strong examples from your experience.
Technical and Analytical Skills
A resume that stands out includes a section that highlights your technical and analytical skills. Any programming experience with SAS, R, Python, SQL or VBA should be mentioned in this section. You should make sure to include how you utilized these skills in your work experience in bullet format. In the event that you didn’t get to use these in an internship, aim to get a certification or experience in these to bolster your resume, especially with SAS and SQL as they are the most in-demand in the actuarial field.
Order of Importance
There is an order of importance that should be followed. Generally, at the student entry level, your education and exams passed should be at the forefront of the resume. Highlight your strongest section at the top. For example, if you have several internships at prestigious companies then prioritize that section over your technical skills if your experience with programming is limited. Also, make sure to follow chronological order with your most recent position first.
These are some of the basic items to always have in your resume, but equally important, there are some things you should avoid.
Ezra Penland sees entry level student resumes that are 2-3 pages long or include information that is not relevant to the position. Keep your resume to one page if it can be helped. For example, there is no need to include your summer job as a barista at Starbucks; rather only include internships in the actuarial or analytics field.
Objective Statements and Summaries of Qualifications
These are often too general and redundant, so instead consider adding relevant coursework or details of projects for which you used actuarial concepts or programs in your education section.
Unusual Formatting Styles
There are some formatting styles that should always remain consistent for everyone. Always use 9-12 point traditional fonts (Times New Roman, Helvetica, Calibri). It is vital to include proper titles and dates in month and year format. Simple is best. The average resume is reviewed in ten seconds, so use very specific detailed bullet points rather than paragraphs to convey your experience.
Forgetting to Proofread
Resumes are the most vital part of getting a new job because a small error on your resume can lead to being passed over. Be sure to proofread and have others proofread for you. Typos and spelling errors are the biggest red flag for a potential employer. Make sure you are putting in the best effort to tell your story on paper.
MATTHEW OPTIZ, Actuarial Recruiter
Matthew is an outgoing and positive recruiter that seeks to develop a lasting rapport with companies and candidates a like. His background in the arts and his love of travel has taken him all over the US as well as the world. He prides himself on making sure all parties involved are happy with the outcome of any placement or job search. Contact Matthew at firstname.lastname@example.org or (773) 598-4738.
MARGI PATEL, Actuarial Recruiter
Margi comes from a digital advertising and management background with experience in recruiting for account management and sales. Margi genuinely enjoys connecting a brilliant candidate with a great company so everyone wins! Contact Margi at email@example.com or (773) 598-4752.