What does your resume say about you?

Congratulations! A preliminary assessment of your college credits shows that you’ve met all the academic requirements needed to graduate. You are now a graduate of XYZ college. The entire XYZ college family wishes you all the best in your life after college. George

To most new graduates, this is a season of celebration. This means a lot of of good things. First no more staying up late trying to study for tests/exams. Second, remember those research papers you had to write over and over the course of four years? You get to enjoy a break from doing that. Now, give me five… there you go!  Oh and before this one escapes my memory, now you get to go out with your friends every Friday night…good deal huh!? Life is good!. But before I let you go, I have two questions for you:

  1. Do  you have resume ready to go?

  2. What is your resume saying about you?

Let me start by mentioning that ninety percent of the time, your resume gets to your potential employers before you personally get a chance to meet with them. That being said, your resume has to be more than perfect. You have worked so hard during your years in school that you don’t want to miss any employment opportunity. Don’t forget  that your resume acts as your personal “salesman”. Below are a some useful tips to remember as you go about putting together your resume.

Personal Details

Please do not make this section a paragraph of it’s own. It should be brief, sufficient and well displayed at the top of your page. Spell out all of your name. Indicate your physical address (avoid p.o box addresses), telephone number and a valid email. Most employers these days prefer an electronic form of communication.

Personal Summary/Career Objective

Under this category provide a brief summary of who you really are, your most recent accomplishment and what you are looking for in your next career. Avoid common adjectives that everyone uses such as hardworking, optimistic, team-player, etc. Refuse to be average. Get a hold of a good dictionary and research some strong and catchy phrases that will make your resume stand out. You want anyone that reads your resume to be left with some memory. Hopefully, you’ll leave them wanting to see the face behind that great resume.

Education

List all the colleges that you have attended and earned a degree/diploma/college credit from. Start with the most recent one. State clearly when you joined and left each particular institution. Indicate the type of degree/certificate awarded. If you haven’t graduated yet, please indicate your anticipated graduation month and year.

This is also the section where you can list out any professional license that you may have or in particular any SOA/CAS exam passed. If you have registered  to sit for  any exams in the near future feel free to list those out too. They show progress towards a goal.

Professional Experience

Let me tell you a secret, THIS section is YOUR resume. How you perform in this section will determine whether you get a call or not. Please take it with utmost seriousness. Employers could care less about your hobbies and interests, they are interested in knowing what you have done and what you can do for them based on your experience. Also, start with the most recent working experience – paid or unpaid, it should all be represented.

For every employer you have worked for in the past you should mention your duties and really highlight your achievements there. Hiring managers are interested in knowing that you can perform, otherwise they wouldn’t be hiring.

Community Service

Highlight any community service work. List the dates clearly. Indicate precisely what your duties were/are and bring out your achievements.

Technical and Business Skills

As a reminder, an actuary is a business professional. Being good in Math is one of the obvious reason why anyone would even consider becoming an actuary. With that in mind, focus on the other skill sets that you think make a good actuary. Excellent customer service skills and soft skills win big here. Convince the hiring manager that you are the best candidate for the job by enumerating your skills in a clear manner. Please be honest here. If you do not have a particular skill do not list it.

References

This section is optional. If you choose to include it on your resume, provide a complete name of two to three references. Include their professional titles, their street address, phone number and email.

Make sure each and every one of your references know that you have used them as a reference and give/send them a copy of your resume.

Do’s

  • Have different people read and critique your resume.
  • Update your resume regularly with new skills, certifications, and experiences.
  • Update your resume to fit the job description of the position you are applying for.

After you do all of these, sit down, relax, breathe easy and wait for that phone call. Good luck with your interview!!