Last month was a large milestone in my life. I graduated college with a degree in Mathematical Sciences concentrating in Actuarial Science and Finance, and I passed my first actuarial exam. It was definitely a month of achievements. However, now, I am graduated and still do not have a job in my future profession.
For a majority of us, and when I say “us” I mean other college students, we are constantly daydreaming about our futures: our lives without school, projects, and homework. In this naive daydream, we always assume right out of college we will have our dream job lined up or numerous job offers to pick from. Realistically, that’s not always the case.
Actually, for many people including myself, the reality is that after college we’ll still be applying and trying to find the right position for us. Now I am not saying to go and apply to every single position you believe you will qualify for while you’re still in school to avoid this harsh reality. Instead, I want everyone to learn from my mistake and know while you’re in school there are some important things you should be doing.
Realize that taking college classes in Probability or Finance are good opportunities to help you with actuarial exams. If you use your college courses and extra study materials, you might as well take the actuarial exam when the course finishes instead of waiting to take it later on. In most cases, if you do end up waiting, you will forget some of the material and have to restudy it, or you will lose your notebooks or, even worse, you might have thrown your notes out. Take the exams with the material fresh in your mind, to prohibit these concerns. I’m sure that if you tell your professor you’re studying for an actuarial exam on the material they will be more than willing to help you (which is an added bonus!). Also, take every advantage to network.
It’s important to find people who are in the business already. By building relationships with them, while you are still in school, come time to graduate, they might know of a company that is hiring and they might be able to even give you a recommendation. Relationships go a long way, especially in the finance industry. People rather hire someone that is recommended by an employee or another colleague than just some random application.
My last tip is to be realistic with your future. Yes, daydreaming is nice. We all love to imagine the perfect life, perfect job, perfect salary, but life isn’t always perfect, and that’s okay! When you do graduate, it’s okay if you are not in the position you want to be in forever, or if the company that you’re in isn’t some big name company. Find a position that you see yourself wanting to wake up every morning and go to spend eight hours doing. Find a company that you support and believe in their motive. You as an employee can grow to become the actuary you always wanted to become; it just takes getting your foot in the door and showing your true abilities.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog post is the sole opinion of the author and is not associated with Coaching Actuaries, its team members or its brand. Coaching Actuaries provides an opportunity for actuaries to share their ideas, but does not claim any responsibility for the content provided.