The Insurance industry is a fantastic place for students and grads to start their careers.
This dynamic business offers a wide range of career opportunities for young professionals – from Brokering to Underwriting, there’s sure to be a role that suits your interests.
However, navigating this industry can be challenging if you’re unfamiliar with how it works. With so many entry-level career options available, it can be difficult to know where to start looking for that career-hatching opportunity.
One of the best ways to get your start in this business is to network with industry professionals. In fact, a whopping 43% of people working in Insurance landed their current jobs through a referral. Even if you’re not sure about pursuing a career in this field networking is still highly useful – after all, nothing is more valuable than getting career advice from someone with real-world experience.
Ready to begin? These tips from Career Connections will make your next meet-and-greet a success!
Step 1: Find next-level networking events
Often, companies and organizations like the Insurance Institute of Canada will host networking opportunities to engage new grads – you just need to know where to find them. Luckily for you, TalentEgg and Career Connections have pages dedicated to this information.
Your university or college may also host Q&A events or panel discussions with past alumni who are working in your field; you can visit your registrar or academic advisor to learn more. Finally, don’t forget to follow potential employers on social media. Often, their Facebook and Twitter platforms are one of the first places where they announce events!
Step 2: Do your homework
If you’re new to networking and aren’t sure what to expect, start by finding out what type of format the event is (networking, panel discussion) and if possible, who will be attending. While the event formats may vary, there are standard guidelines that typically apply – dress professionally, bring resumes and have questions prepared in advance.
Successful networking begins with strong research, so do some investigating a few days before the event. If you know the companies attending in advance, take a look at their websites. Career Connections, for example, has video profiles of different Insurance roles, such as Underwriters or Brokers. This background knowledge can help you identify potential employers and emphasize how your strengths align with their company values. As an added bonus, industry professionals will be impressed that you’ve taken the initiative to learn about their organization.
You should also be prepared to network with people that you didn’t expect to meet. Make sure that you have a general knowledge of the field and the line of work you’re pursuing as well as some current industry trends that you can discuss. Staying up-to-date on recent developments can help you spark insightful conversations with leaders in your field.
Next, focus your efforts by setting specific goals to achieve during the event. Think about who you want to network with, or specific roles you’d like to target. Finally, ask yourself these three essential networking questions! Keeping these points in mind can help you maintain focus and make the most of your evening.
- What skills or experiences will insurance employers be seeking in future hires?
- What characteristics do I want to convey that will distinguish me as a promising employee?
- Is it appropriate to bring resumes and business cards to this gathering?
Step 3: Make an amazing first impression
Now it’s time to put your networking skills into action! If you’re feeling nervous, try focusing on little details that will make a strong impact, such as a strong handshake and a warm smile. If you act confident, you’ll start to feel confident too!
A great way to make a positive first impression is to prepare an “elevator pitch,” which is a quick introduction of who you are, what you do well, and the skills you can offer an employer. Try to incorporate this information into a conversation naturally, rather than launching into it right away. Also, keep your pitch to around 30 seconds – a potential employer is far more likely to remember your discussion about Insurance trends than the minute details of your work history. Finally, make sure you ask the person you’re talking to about themselves and how they got into their line of work. Ask questions like “Are you in personal or commercial insurance?” or “How did you get your start in the field?” Remember, networking is a two-way street – these events are all about connecting with people and building a rapport.
If you are having a great conversation with a professional, be sure to ask for their business card or e-mail address. This way, you’ll have a direct way to follow up with your new contact after the event. It can seem awkward to ask for someone’s information at first, but you can lead into it by saying something simple, such as: “I’ve really enjoyed speaking with you today, and I’d love to continue our discussion in the future. Could I get your business card so we can talk sometime next week?”
Step 4: The day after the event
A day or two after the event, build on the connections you made by reaching out to your new contacts via e-mail. You can keep these communications short and sweet; a thank-you for their advice or a note that you enjoyed meeting them will go a long way to solidify that relationship. If you didn’t take note of their e-mail address or business card, you can also send them an invitation to connect on Linkedin.
While networking may seem like unfamiliar territory to you now, this is one of the best ways to find long-term employment with people who inspire you. Furthermore, the Insurance Industry is all about working closely with people to ensure their interests are protected. Whether you’re helping existing clients through difficult times, or collaborating with colleagues, the ability to form strong relationships is a key part of this field.