For actuarial students new to the workforce, we are presented with a variety of opportunities to begin a career. Even though this can be exciting, it certainly also brings some anxiety. Students must consider differences between CAS and SOA career paths, consulting and insurance companies, residential areas, and company cultures. It is important that students take advantage of their learning opportunities so that they are prepared to make these decisions.
I have completed a couple internships and accepted a full time offer in the midst of interviews and a good number of outgoing resumes and now realize how important these opportunities were for my development. Sometimes we overlook “failed” interviews because we do not get the outcome we are looking for, but they are excellent opportunities to network and gain insight into the actuarial profession. Similarly, without being open to a variety of projects and people during internships, we miss out on learning more about things that were once unfamiliar to us. I encourage everyone to take both interviews and internships as essential opportunities to expand their knowledge and professional networks. Treating yourself like a full time actuary during an internship will give you the best understanding of what to expect.
Although building this knowledge takes significant effort, it can sometimes be even more challenging to make a decision on a full time offer. When considering different job opportunities, professionals told me to focus on a few things: predicted job responsibilities for no further than five years in the future, professional development support provided by companies, and personal attitude toward different career paths. Trying to predict job responsibilities for further than three to five years is nearly an impossible task. However a company’s commitment to assisting in exam progress and providing opportunities for growth can serve as a good indicator of future job satisfaction. The company’s values are more likely to endure than day-to-day responsibilities.
Perhaps most importantly, choose an industry where you feel motivated and can carry your work with a sense of purpose. This will help you feel that you are making an impact and inspire you to grow.