If you think you might be interested in a career in insurance, the best thing you can do is start exploring the industry while you’re still a student through research, networking and work experience, such as co-ops, internships, summer jobs and part-time jobs.
“This is a great way to build knowledge, skills and experience which will serve as a great foundation for starting your career in the industry,” says Trevor Buttrum, Career Connections Program Manager at the Insurance Institute.
Trevor knows everything there is to know about insurance careers, so we asked him to help us map out a strategy to help you start your career and get a job in the insurance industry.
Want to know more about insurance careers before you start? Check out Insurance 101: Introduction To Entry Level Careers In The Insurance Industry.
1. Identify a clear career goal within the insurance sector
There are nine entry level “gateway” roles in the insurance sector and they’re all different, so it’s important to know where you want to go as early as possible. According to Trevor, “this will help you to target your job search documents, choose which employers to target and plot out your career path.”
2. Transfer your existing skills and experience to insurance
From there, you can figure out how your skills and experience might transfer to that type of role.
Worried that your work and volunteer experiences in retail, food service or camp counselling aren’t applicable to the insurance industry? “Believe it or not, they are,” says Trevor. “The customer service and problem solving involved in each of these is definitely something you will use in the insurance sector.”
In addition, think about how your experience with shoplifting prevention programs (fraud/theft prevention), responsibility for bank deposits (ethics), health and safety regulations (compliance), incident management and documentation can apply to what you might be doing in insurance.
3. Build your network
There’s a good chance you’re already connected to at least one insurance professional through your car insurance, tenant or home insurance, or through your parents, Trevor says, so you won’t have to start from scratch. “Ask questions and indicate your interest in the industry – you never know who they know and can connect you to.”
From there, you can branch out and develop new connections by attending professional and social events in the industry and on your campus. “Though it may not net a job that day, it plants seeds and introduces you to people who you can follow-up with later on.”
Conferences and conventions can be pricey, so check in with organizers to see if there are opportunities for students to work or volunteer at the event.
4. Work toward a professional designation
Although certifications and licenses are really dependent on the role you are interested in, Trevor says students should consider taking a course or two toward the Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) designation – “the industry standard for excellence, education and ethics within the industry.”
Starting your designation as a student will allow you to complete it earlier in your career and may also make you more attractive to potential employers.
Once you’re hired, Trevor says, “Many employers support their workforce in completing the professional education required to excel in their career. This can be in the form of tuition assistance, salary bonuses or paid time off.”
5. Research and target insurance employers
There are many different types of insurance companies, so take some time to research each one and find out which of the nine “gateway” roles they have for students and recent grads.
When you apply for a job, make sure you clearly identify your goals, and position your education and experience to be relevant to insurance. “If you read a job description and say, ‘Yeah, I could do that!’ it is really important to demonstrate to a potential insurance employer the why and how do you know you can do that in terms and a context they can understand,” Trevor says. “Essentially, connect your career dots – don’t leave anything to their imagination.”
Trevor’s top application tips:
- Demonstrate how you can add value to the organization and meet the needs of the employer
- Prepare a short summary of yourself, including:
- your education
- key experiences, attributes and skills
- what you’re looking for
- If an employer you’re interested in isn’t hiring, contact them using open-ended phrases such as, “Would your company ever have a need for individuals with skills and experience like mine?”
- Avoid phrases such as, “Do you have any openings right now?” or “Can I forward you my resume for any opportunities you have available?”
6. Prepare for the job interview
Preparing for a job interview in the insurance industry is all about research, says Trevor. “You will find that a little preparation for the interview will go a long way! Research the role, the company and the industry.”
- What are some of the current trends for the industry as a whole?
- What role would the position you’re applying for play in the organization?
- How is this company structured?
- What are its areas of specialty?
Familiarizing yourself with insurance terminology is also a good idea. All of this information is available in industry publications, on company websites and, of course, right here on TalentEgg.
Insurance is already part of everything you do.
Why not find your career in it? To learn more, visit www.career-connections.info.