Over the last twenty-five years, so much has changed in the way people get jobs. One question I get from insurance underwriters, claims adjusters, and risk managers at conferences is how do they develop a resume that stands out. I tell them all the same thing; get a professional certified resume writer. If my house burn downs, I get an adjuster even though I know how to use Xactimate and may be able to do the claim myself. However, not being an industry expert, I most likely will do a horrible job of adjusting the claim which will cause me stress, time, and a lot of money.
This is what happens with your resume. You decide that it's a good idea to write it yourself and while you do a great job, it isn’t a 2016 resume. On top of that, you ask advice from your spouse, neighbors, or co-workers. With the average age in the insurance industry at 59 (with 25% retiring by 2018-McKinsey), all of this advice you are getting is also incorrect. Career experts (not Google searches) are like masters of Xactimate, they know what your resume really needs for 2017 and beyond. As an insurance professional, your paper resume and digital presence plays a huge role in your job search. The good news is that you have full control over this.
Take a look at your current resume.
If you want a great resume, here are four ways to make it really stand out:
Must have keywords at the top of the resume that are relevant to the job you are applying to. This is critical so the applicant tracking systems used by most insurance employers get a match when you apply. I like a special area at the top of the resume (under your name and title) called “competencies”. List out 7 to 10 keywords that relate to the job you are applying to. Examples would include things like: Xactimate, homeowners claim, negotiation, construction defect, contractual liability, and litigation.
- GREAT RESUME TITLE
Target your resume with a great title. A lot of the resumes I see have an objective that talks about the candidate as a hard worker, team player, and goal achiever. While this is true, it is a waste of words on the 2017 resume. Target a resume title with one or two sentences of something great you have done that would match extremely well to the job you are applying for. For example, if you are a worker’s compensation underwriter, and applying to this job at another company, the title of your resume should be “Workers Compensation Underwriter”. This is followed by a sentence like, "Workers' Compensation professional with track record of working with accounts over $1,000,000 and managing a 30-million-dollar annual book of business. Large broker relationship in the state of New York."
- HIGHLIGHT YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Highlight the accomplishments in your work history that are relevant to the job you are applying to. The job description is your friend. If they are looking for a litigation specialist but you do so many other things well, steer your resume to everything litigation. Computers and humans scan your resume for what they need, nothing else initially. I see too many resume hoarders who think they have to add in everything they have ever done in their insurance career.
- INCLUDE A RESULT HIGHLIGHT AREA
These two or three major accomplishments (as long as they are relevant to the position you are applying to) that can be placed right under the competencies. (You may expand on these in your job history). By making them stand out, the employer can quickly see you are qualified for their job.
If you follow these four tips, your resume should be able to be ripped in half and I should be able to tell what you do, your key strengths, some great achievements and your contact information. Yes, for some of you will have a two-page resume which is fine. However, for 2017 and beyond, your half page resume is the employer’s cliff notes and is the most important part of the resume.
One last thing. Since the average age is 59, if you still have an AOL email address, please change it to a Gmail address ASAP. So many insurance job seekers are worried about age and believe it or not, and AOL address to a millennial HR person adds to the age myth. If you follow these four steps, your background will be judged by your competencies, not by your age. (If you need any help or have questions, drop me an email at email@example.com)