Advice from Krzys' Ostaszewski for actuarial students preparing a resume
This represents ONLY Krzys' personal opinion
- Your objective is to
convince employers to spend valuable resources to hire and train you.
Make the case for this being an investment. Show them that hiring you
will bring your employer valuable benefits. Tell them what you can do,
and prove your point by telling them what you have done.
- Past employment
history is one way of showing what you can do, and it should be listed
in your resume, providing dates and responsibilities of the jobs.
- But if you did not have a job, did you do any volunteer activities? If you did not, start doing them now. You want to show the world that you can do things, right? Start doing them now. And then put that story in your resume.
of other areas in which you showed your talents and abilities. What do
you know about insurance and risk management? Can you write some
programs? Can you do tricks with Excel? Can you write macros in Excel?
Can you make effective presentations of quantitative ideas? Have you
made any business decisions? Have you made any other important
decisions -- and how did you manage making those decisions? Have you
worked on a large project by yourself? Have you worked on a large
project in a team?
- You want an actuarial
job. This means that you want to become an actuary. Only 17% of people
who start taking actuarial examinations eventually complete them. Can
you think of ways to indicate to your prospective employer that you are
a part of that 17% and not a part of the 83%?
- Marketing is
important, but marketing is not everything. You are attempting to enter a very difficult
field, and unless you have reasons to be audacious, don't be. If you do
not have any actuarial examinations passed, do not state when you will
pass them, but rather when you plan to take them (and even that is usually unnecessary -- plan to announce your exams when you pass them). You do not know when
you will pass them. I have passed all exams, and I know that people who
passed them all find such statements of certainty of passing from
candiates who never took exams not just annoying, but clearly
indicating that the candidate does not understand how difficult these
exams are. Speak softly, and when you pass exams, that success will be your big stick.
not reveal your
exam scores in your resume (unless you got a 10 on every one you took,
or almost a 10). This invites comparisons, analysis, etc. If
you had a bad day and barely passed by getting a 6, this is a sign of
maturity, character, and determination. But nobody is going to know
that from the
score. Your exam scores are not public. You can and should keep it that
way. There are certain things that a gentlelady or a gentleman does
not reveal, at least not unless those things are revealed otherwise.
Also, those times when you failed actuarial exams are not published, so
do not advertise them either. On the other hand, the dates when you
passed actuarial examinations are public, posted at the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society
web sites, and it does not make any sense to hide them. Yes, some employers perceive it as a negative if there is a long gap between the date when you
passed the first exam and the time you passed the second exam. If this
happens to you, make up for it with positives in other areas. You are not
perfect. Neither are other job candidates. Strive to be the best person
for the job. Seek excellence, not some unattainable perfection.
- My opinion concerning
being discreet with your personal information also includes your salary
expectations. This is not to be revealed in your resume. In fact, I do
not believe in revealing it ever. If your employer asks for salary
expectations, find a polite way of not revealing them. If the employer
insists, tell them that they put you in the position of having to name
an unreasonably high figure and since they must have an acceptable
range of salaries in their budget, such revelation would be
counterproductive. If they still insist, your probably will not enjoy
working there, but then name an unreasonably high figure, at least 50%
more than what you are willing to accept. If they accept your offer,
you will have at least one reason to enjoy your employment with that
All information contained here is, to our best knowledge,
correct, but it is merely a representation, and should not be considered
to be any form of professional advice. This electronic publication should
not be misconstrued as the official position of Illinois State University,
or its Department of Mathematics.
We are glad to provide as much information as possible here, but
we kindly ask that in any decision related to matters listed here you
seek additional counsel and information. Comments on this page are welcome
and should be sent to Dr.
at his e-mail address: