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Thread: Passed FM; help me with my job search

  1. #1
    Actuary.com - Level II Poster
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    Passed FM; help me with my job search

    Fortunately, I passed FM, as I just found out last weekend. So, I now have two exams passed and am planning to throw my hat in the ring for an actuarial position. I am content with my engineering job for the time being, but I see no reason to delay the switch as long as I am able to find a decent actuarial job now. Now, I just need to write a decent résumé and figure out the best way to go about finding potential hirers. And that's where I hope people can help me.

    Here are the things working for and against me:

    Pros:
    - Passed P and FM. Passed both within half a year of deciding to pursue an actuarial career.
    - Have VEE Econ completed (by AP exams) although I will still need to get official recognition of this by SOA.
    - 6 years as a submarine officer and 2 as a mechanical engineer. So, I've been in positions of responsibility, I have experience with public speaking, I feel very competent with PowerPoint, Excel, and Word, I have experience learning new software in a reasonable amount of time (CAD software as an engineer), and I have experience passing professional exams both as a naval officer and as an engineer. I've written technical papers for my current employer.
    - Reasonably decent GPA (3.3) from a well-regarded university in a major (mechanical engineering) where grade inflation isn't so common (at least it wasn't where I went to school)
    - Open to pretty much any actuarial area; open to work for any type of employer (i.e., consulting or insurance or whatever)

    Cons:
    - No actuarial internship
    - No math, stats, or actuarial science degree
    - No real experience with Access or similar software
    - Passed P and FM with less than stellar scores
    - Not willing to relocate out of Twin Cities; not willing to commute to eastern half of Twin Cities (however, most TC jobs are in west metro)

    Anyway, how should I go about a job search, given all these facts? Should I be working through a recruiter, especially given that I'm looking for an entry-level job and only see listings for jobs requiring experience? Will a recruiter be willing to work with what I'm looking for (Twin Cities west metro, but open to any employer in that area) without trying to convince me I need to drive 1.5 hours each way to work or that I should relocate to Chicago? Does it ever work to just send in a résumé and cover letter to various targeted employers even if the employer has no entry-level job listings? And what should I bring out in my résumé? Thanks.
    Last edited by mcgruff; July 23rd 2008 at 08:35 AM. Reason: Add content

  2. #2
    Actuary.com - Level IV Poster binky_4me's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcgruff View Post
    Cons:
    - No actuarial internship
    - No math, stats, or actuarial science degree
    - No real experience with Access or similar software
    - Passed P and FM with less than stellar scores
    - Not willing to relocate out of Twin Cities; not willing to commute to eastern half of Twin Cities (however, most TC jobs are in west metro)
    -not having an actuarial internship doesn't cut you out; i didn't have one and neither did most of the people i work with or my friends
    -as long as you have a degree, the major itself isn't as important as you having some classes in programming and math/stat
    -i had no experience with access and my job requirements include it, most of my dept doesn't use it, i think it depends on the position, but not knowing it doesn't cut you out
    -as long as you passed that's stellar enough, most places don't care or ask about your score, don't even put a score on the resume, just say you passed
    -the relocation issue might get you, i'm unaware of the actuarial market there, for that you may need to work with a recruiter because they can uncover positions that don't always pop up on regular career websites; fyi: i commute 2 hrs one-way because there weren't any actuarial positions at the time i was looking and atlanta has tons of different actuarial jobs
    binky

  3. #3
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    I'm an entry level job seeker like you, looking for that first actuarial job, so take this with a grain of salt.

    I think you are really hurting your chances with such a specific geographic limitation. But if you absolutely cannot leave that area, I would make a complete list of every possible employer you would consider, and send your resume and an excellent, tailored cover letter to each one. Even that might not work, in which case you might consider looking for related positions at those same employers in the hopes of making an internal transfer.

    You can use a recruiter but I don't think it would help much in your case. If you follow my advice above you will already be contacting each potential employer directly.

  4. #4
    Actuary.com - Level II Poster
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    Well, there are a lot of actuary employers within my target area. There are some actuary employers in the eastern metro (i.e., not my area), but I think most Twin Cities employers are in my ideal zone. And I just think that in these days of $4 gas (and conserving natural resources is important to me even if I make tons of money), it really should not be considered unreasonable to insist on working within 30 miles of home.

    I can accept the fact that it may take longer for a recruiter to find me a job if I say "St. Paul is too far" and "No, I won't move to Chicago." But is a recruiter going to reject me if I make geographic demands (limiting myself to an area that actually does include many actuary employers)?

  5. #5
    Actuary.com - Level I Poster
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    I don't think a recruiter is going to actually reject you, but you might just never hear from them again after the initial setup conversations.

  6. #6
    Actuary.com - Level I Poster
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    FYI, many employers in Twin Cities areas are consulting and brokerage firms and have no students in the departments. I was like you, less than stellar in the candidate pool living in MN, now I'm in west coast and it was the best decision I've ever made, getting a foot in the door.

    I still plan to come back to Midwest but for now I'm enjoying where I live, if you still can't find work 2 years later perhaps it will change your mind.
    Last edited by neofan; July 23rd 2008 at 02:39 PM.

  7. #7
    Actuary.com - Level IV Poster binky_4me's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neofan View Post
    getting a foot in the door. I still plan to come back to Midwest
    this was a good point. everybody keeps asking me (still) why i work in columbus and commute from atlanta...it's all about getting the valuable experience needed for the resume. if you could consider even relocating to another city/state for a couple of years (or more if you actually are happy), then you can get the experience and then move back or at least closer to the part you were willing to drive to.
    binky

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