Many start their journey of becoming an associate of the Society of Actuaries (SOA) or the Casualty Actuary Society (CAS) in college. While there are some nontraditional starts, a very large majority start in their first year of college at age 18. By talking to some of our new actuarial students here at Carroll University, I have generally seen two different mindsets. One is that they don’t have to do anything but pass exams, with the other as the typical college student.
When I first started college, I had the mindset that I didn’t have to do anything involving volunteering, clubs, activities, and other extracurricular activities to receive an internship with any company. I believed that as long as I passed exams, since that’s all companies care about, I would be fine with the minimum. Now I’m still not sure if that’s exactly true, but I’ve learned from multiple companies and recruiters that even though exams are needed for internships, all applicants are going to have them, regardless of the amount passed. So, how can you stand out from all of the other applicants and stand out to whomever is reviewing resumes of those who applied?
When talking to my friends who aren’t in the actuarial major, they are always concerned about activities that can build their resume. Since the job market for other careers is much more competitive and tight than actuaries, I wasn’t worried at all. While my friends were out joining clubs, volunteering, and worrying about every action they did, I was relaxed. All I cared about was GPA and exams. But, after applying for my first internship (unrelated to actuarial science) I learned much more about not only how companies look for qualified candidates, but also how competitive any job is. Even though there is a better job market for actuaries, it is still competitive.
After coming to this realization, I started getting more involved in school and the community, as well as anything that could buff my resume. I joined Carroll’s Actuarial Science Club, ran for and received an officer position, started volunteering more in the community, and reaching out to companies that would hire me in the future. By getting more involved, I have buffed my resume, which means that I am a more attractive candidate for companies. So, don’t just sit back and let the internships come to you, get out there, get involved, and stand out so you not only get just an internship, but one that you will thrive in.