DW Simpson power point slides - Clubs at PSU

Securing Your First Actuarial Position
Presented By: Caitlin Cunningham & Adam Noreen
Penn State University
January 22, 2014
Discussion Overview
 About DW Simpson
 Being an Actuary
 Preparing your resume and cover letter
 Interviewing tips and scenarios
 Job offers and your long-term career
 Market overview
 Industry resources
Introducing DW Simpson
 DW Simpson specializes in the placement of Actuaries
and Analytics professionals.
 We work at all experience levels, globally and across all
industries (Life, Health, Pension, P&C), including in
nontraditional areas (Risk Management, CAT Modeling,
Predictive Modeling, etc.).
 We are the largest firm of our kind, and our objective is
to be the foremost resource for Actuarial and Analytics
Our Team
Who Employs Actuaries?
 Insurance companies
 Reinsurers
 Consulting firms
 Brokerages
 Hedge funds
 Risk modeling software groups
 Analytics Groups
 Managing General Underwriters/Agents (MGAs and MGUs)
Who Qualifies as Entry-Level?
 Soon-to-be and recent college graduates
 Career changers
 Those with less than six months of full-time
experience in the actuarial profession
Preparing Your Resume
Employers are looking for:
 Exams/Designations
 Academic background (areas of study, GPA,
extracurricular activities, awards and honors)
 Technical skills
 Actuarial experience (internships, co-ops)
 Additional work experience
 “Soft skills” (communication, time management,
leadership, etc.)
Formatting Your Resume
 Follow this order-of-information guide:
Actuarial exams/designations
Actuarial experience
Additional work experience
Computer skills
 Use a simple, consistent font.
 Use consistent margins and punctuation.
 Proofread, proofread, proofread!
Sample: Heading
John J. Smith
100 S Burrowes St, State College, PA 16801
814.555.1212 ∙ [email protected]
Sample: Actuarial Exams/Designations
Actuarial Exams & Credits
Successfully completed Exams P/1 and FM/2
Sitting for Exam MFE/3F (April 2014)
Fulfilled VEEs in Economics and Corporate Finance
Actuarial Designations
Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, 2013
Sample: Education
Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
B.S. in Mathematics
Graduation expected May 2014
Minors in Statistics and Economics
GPA: 3.7/4.0
Sample: Actuarial Experience
Actuarial Experience
Company Name, City, State/Province
P&C Actuarial Intern
Summer 2013
Applied Excel to...
Priced products X, Y, Z...
Analyzed data...
Presented findings...
Sample: Additional Work Experience
Additional Work Experience
Company Name, City, State/Province
Administrative Assistant
July 2012 – Present
Answer phone calls...
Greet visitors...
Filing Clerk
Filed documents...
Collaborated with...
Jan 2012 – June 2012
Sample: Technical Skills
Technical Skills
Proficient in Excel, Access
Basic working knowledge of VBA, SAS, SQL, C++
Sample: Other
Actuarial Science Club, Secretary, May 2012 – Present
DW Simpson Actuarial Scholarship, 2013
Language Skills
Fluent in Spanish
Preparing Your Cover Letter
 Tailor each specifically to the specific company, role and
location, demonstrating specific interest.
 Add information not found in your resume.
 Explain any ties to the geographical area.
 Proofread, proofread, proofread!
Preparing for an Interview: Research
What you should know before you interview:
 Company history, lines of business, news, etc.
 Type of company (e.g., insurer vs. consulting firm)
 Actuarial disciplines: Life, Health, Pension, P&C
 Actuarial functions: Pricing/Ratemaking, Reserving,
Financial Reporting, Product Development, etc.
 Industry news and trends
 Exam syllabus
 Functions of the SOA/CAS
Preparing for an Interview: Dress
 Dress to impress.
 Even if the company’s dress code
is business casual, wear a suit.
 MEN: Dark suit, white shirt, understated tie, dress shoes
 WOMEN: Dark suit, white shirt, conservative dress shoes,
conservative makeup and jewelry
Preparing for an Interview: Social Media
 Make all your personal accounts private, so that
they are not fully visible to potential
 Choose professional public profile photos.
 Update and maintain your LinkedIn profile.
Behavior During an Interview
 Be conscious of your behavior throughout the entire
interview process, including times when you may not be
directly in front of your interviewers.
 Don’t worry about sounding repetitious/redundant.
Each interviewer is a new audience. Keep your answers
 Maintain a high enthusiasm level.
 Be an active participant in the interview dialogue.
Common Interview Questions
 Why are you interested in the actuarial profession?
 What do you know about our company?
 Why does our company appeal to you?
 What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?
 Where do you see yourself in five years?
 What are your long-term career goals?
Questions for Your Interviewer(s) – Part 1
 Always prepare questions to ask. Lack of questions
indicates disinterest/lack of an independent thought
 Some of your questions may be answered during the
course of the interview. It is OK to acknowledge this and
ask follow-up questions/for clarification.
 Do not ask questions that are easily researched on your
 Never initiate conversation about personal matters such
as compensation and vacation time.
Questions for Your Interviewer(s) – Part 2
 How is your organization/department structured?
 What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this job? The
bigger-picture goals?
 What skills/characteristics do you deem most important
for this position?
 What computer programs/languages are important to
this role?
 What has been your experience with the company? What
do you like about working for the group?
Interview Scenario No. 1
You have an initial interview with an HR
representative at XYZ Company. He calls you and is
not very talkative, asking short questions. He does
not seem to be paying attention to your answers, and
you can hear typing in the background. He does not
give you any indication of what he is thinking, so it is
hard to get a sense of how the conversation is going.
How do you react?
Interview Scenario No. 2
An interviewer asks you to describe a weakness of yours,
or a time you have failed and how you responded. You
feel unprepared for this type of question.
What type of answer do you provide?
The Offer Stage
 Negotiation?
Rule of thumb: Never negotiate for the sake of negotiation.
Poor negotiations can mean offer withdrawal.
 Be familiar with average base salaries based on
exams/experience level.
Sign-on bonus?
 Have at least three references lined up, ready to go.
Market Overview
 Society of Actuaries (SOA)
Encompasses Life, Health, Pension
Approximately 23,000 members worldwide
 Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS)
Affiliated with P&C
Approximately 5,500 members worldwide
Actuarial Profession Resources
Website: www.soa.org
Phone: 847.706.3500
Website: www.casact.org
Phone: 703.276.3100
Jointly sponsored website: www.beanactuary.org
Exams Resources
 www.dwsimpson.com/actuaryexams.html
 www.dwsimpson.com/actuarialseminars.html
 www.actuarialoutpost.com
 www.bpptraining.com
 www.actuarialseminars.com
 www.neas-seminars.com
 www.sambroverman.com
Insurance Industry Resources
 www.actuary.net
 www.businessinsurance.com
 www.insurancenewsnet.com
 www.benefitslink.com
Our Contact Information
Caitlin Cunningham
Email: [email protected]; Direct line: 312.867.2331
Adam Noreen
Email: [email protected]; Direct line: 312.867.2370