Resume Show and Tell: How To Present Yourself Through Your Resume 

So you’ve gone through the on-campus recruiting events and you’re preparing to either write your resume if you haven’t yet, or to tweak what you’ve already written so that you present your best self, even if you haven’t had an actuarial internship yet. 

Destination of this Journey 

The key points of how to best present yourself through your resume are: 

  • Incorporating key Personal Brand attributes into your resume.
  • Translating past experiences to Actuarial World.
  • Designing your resume to support your personal story and brand; in other words, creating your resume so that it forms that cohesive story you want to tell about yourself.
  • Removing elements that are inconsistent with your personal brand. 

Nina’s Story

Through this post, we’ll be telling the story of Nina, a fictional person who’s like you: she has a goal to be an actuary, but she’s not sure how to go about it, exactly. 

It’s her senior year of college, and she’s passed 1/P of her actuarial exams, doesn’t have an actuarial internship or a strong actuarial network. Yet she knows hard work and she welcomes the challenge of achieving her goal. 

Her Personal Brand 

First off, when it comes to identifying her personal brand, imagine you are someone looking at her resume who might potentially call her up for an interview. In the actuarial lesson, you might want to download and/or print off Nina’s resume. Once you’ve done that, have a really good look at how she’s got her information all lined out, bullet-ed, and certain words and phrases in specific margins. 

What’s the first word, or what are the first words that come to mind?

Yes, she’s definitely organized and detail-oriented. This is the first part of her personal brand—the kind of actuary she wants to be, and how she sets herself apart from the others. Secondly, she has her exams all in bold type, which tells a potential employer that she’s only passed one exam so far, she’s dedicated to the exam process and is willing to work hard. 

Translating Past Experiences 

Now, take a look at the education section just a moment.

There’s only one non-mathematical course listed in her group of course titles: Oral Communication. This says that she’s an excellent communicator, and she’s thinking seriously about consultation work. Here’s another interesting point: she makes up for the fact she doesn’t have an actuarial internship or an actuarial network by highlighting all the courses and school activities she participated in that would allow her to translate her personal experiences into the actuarial world. 

She also highlights her work in the A Cappella group and her sorority as a capable leader, with a strong ability to work well with a team, demonstrating that she would be an excellent cultural fit in an actuarial position.

Design The Resume According to Personal Brand and Story 

Nina’s created her resume this way because she does have concerns that she’s only passed one actuarial exam (she heard that you have at least two passed by the time you graduate), doesn’t have an internship, or any actuarial statistics software, or SAS, background. 

Despite all this, she’s tailored her resume—aligning and organizing every word to match her personal brand of attention to detail and organization, which fully allows her to put her “best foot forward,” as the old saying goes. Another part of this tailoring was also the mention of her job as an underwriting intern with “Reliable Company Insurance” where she “assessed, priced, and placed risk of Connecticut Commercial Auto Applications,” along with “being exposed to many facets of insurance with a focus in the Actuarial Dept.” Those phrases right there would capture the attention of a potential employer, right along with various activities such as Toastmasters and the oral communication class. 

Removing Inconsistent Elements 

If we look at Nina’s resume again, we’re going to be looking for inconsistent elements that really don’t have anything to do with her personal brand. The only things that really stand out as inconsistent and having no real connection to her personal brand is the fact she mentions the Actuarial Curriculum phrase twice in her “Exams” section. Anyone who’s hiring in the actuarial field will know what she’s referring to. Otherwise, close to 100% of the material she’s outlined fits well into her personal story and brand. 

You’ve Reached Your Destination 

So, let’s review the destination points when it comes to writing and tailoring your resume to your story and brand: 

  • Incorporate key personal brand attributes, such as organization or effective oral communication.
  • Translate Past experiences to the Actuarial World.Even if you’re like Nina and don’t have much in the way of actual actuarial experience, you can still pick the past experiences you do have that would relate well, and put them in.
  • Design resume to support your story and Personal Brand. If you’re super-organized and detail-oriented like Nina, you can format your resume with specific fonts, underlining, margin widths and so on to display that attention to detail.
  • Remove inconsistent elements. While there didn’t seem too much to remove in Nina’s resume, that doesn’t mean your resume will be the same way. Create, identify and solidify your personal brand and whatever you have in your current resume that doesn’t match with the personal brand you’ve developed, you’ll want to take those items out. 

Once you have your resume tweaked, rewritten and designed according to your personal brand to the best of your ability, it’s time for the next step: preparing for your interview. 

Want more help with your journey?

  1. Actuarial Community: Feeling alone on your journey? Become a part of the Actuarial Journey Community!
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Let us know in the comments below – Which one of these principles do you think would be the best for you to focus on for the next month?