How to Make Your Insurance Industry Resume Powerful So You Get the Job You Really Want in 2018!
Published: Oct 11, 2017 By Roger Lear
For the last 25 years I have been honored to make a career out of working exclusively with insurance professionals and their careers. It is a great industry with fantastic jobs. But it also is an industry where many of you apply to excellent insurance jobs but never get called for the interview.
“Your resume NEVER gets to the HIRING AUTHORITY even when you are qualified.”
I call this the silent career killer. A great job search strategy all starts with the resume and if you are like most insurance professionals, you think your resume is awesome. I review insurance resumes (claims, underwriting, risk managers, account managers, etc.) at all levels every day and I can tell you without hesitation that over 70% of these resumes need a ton of work to be optimized. On top of that, many don’t realize that their professional online presence must be optimized as well. To make all this work, you need a solid foundation and that is a well-done resume.
I just finished a job search for over 10 homeowner property adjusters. I posted the jobs and received 56 applications with 43 at least having claims experience. The other 13 applicants were people who wanted to get into a claims career but didn’t have experience. I'm the middle man so I'm willing to really “dig” into a resume to determine if I should reach out for an interview. I know many of you may not have resumes that really tell your story, and you think that's okay. Unfortunately, companies may not think the same way. Usually, if they can’t immediately figure out that you can do the job you are applying for, they will move on.
Out of the 43 resumes, only 7 were excellent and I knew immediately I would want to schedule an interview. 26 of the resumes required me to ask questions to make sure they qualify, which is a lot of work. The remaining 10 resumes were so bad that I didn’t need to call them. At this point, I already had 33 obvious candidates so I had no need to uncover diamonds in the bad resumes; which I am sure there were a couple.
The bottom line is insurance employers are not in the “I hope they have the right experience” game. They want to see a resume that yells “I can do the job!”.
Here is the deal. If I only had one job to fill, I would be concentrating entirely on the 7 optimized resumes. Nobody else be considered. Four hires came the group of 33. The top candidate came from the group of 26 okay resumes. Again, if I had one job to fill, this would have never happened. Smart companies with internal recruiters get this; but many don’t have this manpower. On top of that, technology and applicant tracking systems eliminates poorly done resumes before they even get to a human.
I hope this makes sense because this claims search is not the exception, it is the norm. If you don’t make changes, how are you going to get the job you really want? How can you make sure your insurance resume is optimized so you can be in the group of 7 and not the group of 26?
This is a list of all the mistakes made in the 56 resumes sent to me for the property claims search. Again, this isn’t limited to claims jobs. I see the same thing with underwriters, risk managers, loss control, account managers, nurse case managers and the list go on!
Big mistakes you make on your insurance resume:
- No Address. Please add at least the city you currently reside. I don’t want to chase you down to find out you live in Hawaii when I have a job in Florida. If I have people I know are from Florida, that is where most recruiters will start.
- No resume title at the top of the resume. If you are a property claims adjuster, that should be the title of your resume. It is that simple. Too often these resumes have summaries and objectives that are paragraphs of words like “proven”, “hard worker”, “ethical”, “dedicated”, “detailed oriented” and other filler words. An optimized resume should start with your name, address, email and title that is exact or very close to the job you are applying for. In this case, the title would be “Property Claims Adjuster”. It is that simple.
- Summary and objective must be replaced with “Core Competencies”. Optimized resumes let anyone reviewing it know exactly what you do in six seconds. Prominently displayed at the top, include "keywords" for the computer (applicant tracking system, ATS) relevant to the job. Core competencies are bullet point keywords that let both know that you have the actual skills the job requires. For the property claims adjuster, great keywords would be Xactimate, Mitchell Ultra Mate, homeowner claims (not just property claims), CAT Claims Team, Florida/Texas Adjuster License, Claims Subrogation, 98% claims resolution, inside homeowners’ adjuster, field claims adjuster, CAT duty for Katrina, Harvey, outstanding customer service, $500,000 claims authority, depreciation expert, SIU and many more.
- Resume has three different fonts and fancy graphics. You resume should be all in the same font and same size. It also should be all words. No borders, pictures, graphs, lines or anything else that takes away from your words. Black type on white background. Many people don’t realize that some ATS systems have a hard time deciphering your resume if you upload in a wacky format.
- Do not highlight in yellow any part of your resume. I saw five resumes that highlighted certain sentences. While it did draw my eye to this area, I was surprised that the highlighted area really didn’t highlight the skills like Xactimate. If you follow this format we are discussing, you will never need a highlighter because your core competencies will be your claims DNA and the employer will know exactly what you do.
- Leave references off the resume. For one, they take up too much space. Secondly, if you use a co-worker, the employer may hire them, not you. Most importantly, you just don’t need them at this point. Spend more time optimizing the top of your resume.
- Cover letter needs A LOT of work. It is true, most employers don’t read a cover letter UNLESS your resume is optimized. If they look at your resume and say I have to talk to this person, only then will they read your cover letter. This is where so many of you also screw up. A good number of the cover letters I received were generic and didn’t include basic, customized sayings like “I saw your posting for a property claims adjuster in Texas”. Some cover letters even mentioned the wrong positions, obviously they used a template and forgot to change it for this job. The cover letter should say you have a great interest in the property claims position in Texas and can be reached at your phone number or email address. This is followed by ONE more sentence highlighting your background. “I have 12 years of CAT experience adjusting homeowners claims in major storms and floods and would be very interested in finding out more about your opportunity”.
Many of you have awesome experience. The main reason you optimize your resume is because usually people and computers (not hiring authorities) are only looking for certain key words and if they can’t tell you have them, they move to the next resume. Remember, 26 of the resumes I received were not optimized and many still got a good job because I was able to spend the time to “dig” into their backgrounds to qualify them. Optimized resumes don’t require digging, just interview setting!