For most people, searching for an internship or job can be a daunting task. At the beginning of my junior year I began preparing for my internship search and there were a few key things that I did to help myself obtain the offer that I truly wanted.
1. Get your Resume Critiqued
At UConn, I had multiple opportunities to perfect my resume. In the first few weeks of the semester an insurance company came by and told us what they look for in a resume. Certain techniques and visual elements might help your resume stand out and it’s important to know what companies want. I also had a one-on-one critique where I was told what should and should not be included in my resume. Even though these opportunities might not be available to all, I believe it is vital that you find someone to read over your resume before you start sending in applications.
2. Make a List of Companies you’re Interested in
This one is mostly a personal preference and isn’t something you necessarily have to do. When I began my search, I decided that I wanted to look at Property & Casualty insurance companies in the Northeast. I used this information to create a list of companies that I was interested in and the list gave me a place to start when it came to applying. This became extremely helpful as I used it as a way to keep track of the companies I had already spoken with and those I hadn’t heard back from.
3. Go to a Career Fair if Possible
There are many different Actuarial Career Fairs across the country and they can be a perfect opportunity to get your name out to companies. Every year at UConn, the Actuarial Science department holds a career fair for its students and over 30 insurance companies from around the country attend. Many of the internships that I applied for were with companies that I came in contact with at the career fair. Career fairs can also be a good way to prepare for interviews, especially for those who get nervous in an interview setting.
4. Be Confident & Prepared for On-Site Interviews
The area that I struggled with the most when it came to interviewing was confidence. I doubted myself during my first few interviews and they didn’t go as well as I had hoped. Needless to say I didn’t hear back from those companies. However, I was able to reach out to the people who interviewed and ask them where I could improve. For the most part they were willing to help. As I got further into the interview process my confidence level grew and my interviewing skills improved. I also made sure that I set aside time to prepare for each interview. It is important that you know a lot about the company you are interviewing with and that you are able to tell them what will make you a good candidate for the position.
5. Be Polite When Accepting & Declining
After you finish an interview, it is important to make sure that you thank the people you interviewed with for taking the time out of their day to talk with you. In some cases it can help you in the long run and it most certainly won’t hurt you. There might also come a point when you have to decline an offer and you should do this in the most professional and polite way. You will constantly hear how small the actuarial field is and you definitely don’t want to burn any bridges.
Following these 5 basic criteria I was able to secure an internship at the beginning of my junior year and that internship turned into a full-time offer upon graduation.