Insurance Careers – Take a Closer Look at this Rapidly Growing Industry

Can you name one of the fastest growing industries for new college graduates to begin a professional career? Did you say insurance? If not, perhaps you should consider taking a closer look at this job sector.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook Survey for 2013, the insurance industry is projected to grow by nearly 13%. While this projected growth has made jobs in the insurance industry one of the hottest categories in the finance sector, insurance companies offer a wide variety of jobs and recruit students from all academic majors – both business majors and non-business majors alike.

Money and Magnifying Glass

Here is a sample of the types of careers available in the insurance industry and some of the required skills for each position:

  • Underwriting – Insurance underwriters review and evaluate insurance applications to assess the degree of risk involved. They also help to determine coverage amounts and premiums. Underwriters need to have solid communication skills, critical thinking abilities, and problem-solving skills.
  • Claims Adjuster Appraiser – Claims adjusters investigate, analyze, and evaluate insurance claims. They help to determine whether an insurance company must pay a claim and, if so, how much. Claims adjusters must have the ability to think critically, utilize complex problem solving skills, and demonstrate solid judgment and decision making.
  • Personal Financial Advisors – Some insurance companies also offer clients a variety of investment tools and resources. Financial advisors work with clients to assess financial objectives, insurance coverage, risk tolerance, and income to establish personalized investment strategies. They must have the ability to communicate effectively, analyze complex data, and actively listen to the needs of their clients.
  • Broker/Agent – Insurance agents and brokers sell life, property, casualty, health, automotive, or other types of insurance. They explain various policy options to customers and help them choose the products that are right for them. Agents must have excellent communication skills, the ability to build relationships, and negotiate a sale with clients.
  • Actuarial – Actuaries analyze statistical data, construct probability studies, forecast risk and liability. They work with clients to develop strategies and policies that minimize the cost of that risk. Actuaries need to have strong technical skills and the ability to analyze and solve complex problems.

For more information about careers in the insurance industry, I encourage you to utilize these resources:

Photo by Images Money.

The Benefits of Attending the Hawk Career Fair

A new school year has just begun and while you are starting to get acclimated to your class schedule and back into the school routine, it is also time to start thinking about your career or internship search. Now is the time to mark your calendar for an event on the very near horizon that is of great importance to all students looking for full-time jobs or internships. 

The 2012 Hawk Career Fair is scheduled for Wednesday, September 26 from 12:00 – 4:00pm in the Williams Center – Gym 1. The event will feature over 100 employers looking to talk to students from all academic disciplines.

So I am sure a few of you are asking yourself…why should I attend the career fair? With this question in mind, I present three key reasons why you – yes, you – should attend the Hawk Career Fair:

  1. Learn about specific industries, organizations, and careers – With over 100 employers registered for the event, there is a wide variety of full-time job opportunities and internships to explore. Visit the Career Fairs tab in Hawk Jobs to view the current list of employers and the job opportunities they are looking to hire for. 
  2. Networking – The career fair gives you the opportunity to meet with employer representatives face-to-face. You can talk about your resume and sell your skills and experiences to employers while getting your questions answered. Where else will you have an opportunity to meet with over 100 employers in one room, at one time?          
  3. Find a job! – Granted, you will not actually get hired at the career fair itself, but this is one of the first steps in the interviewing and hiring process for most employers. Employers will be attending the Hawk Career Fair looking to talk to you! They are eager to discuss their career opportunities and are seeking new talent to hire into their organizations – and they are looking to hire now. That’s right – employers will be looking for candidates for full-time jobs and for internships for the summer of 2013 at the Hawk Career Fair. 

The time to begin your search for full-time jobs and internships is now. Take advantage of the opportunity to meet with the over 100 employers that are coming to campus to meet and hire UW-Whitewater students! Between now and September 26, take the time to review the list of participating employers and the jobs they have to offer and polish your resume and personal branding statements.

If you need assistance, schedule a meeting with a member of the Career & Leadership Development team. For a quick resume review, you can also stop by the “Resume Doctor” events at Andersen Library on September 18, 19, and 20 from 1:00 – 4:00pm.

See you at the 2012 Hawk Career Fair!

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A student talking to a First Business Bank representative at last year’s Hawk Career Fair.

It’s All About the Benefits

Congratulations! All of the hard work you have put into your job search has paid off and you have received a job offer – or better yet, multiple job offers. Before you accept an offer and begin your career, there are a few important items to consider. While the starting salary in the job offer tends to get the most attention, don’t overlook the benefits package being offered by the employer.

Cat accountants

The exact benefits package included with your job offer will tend to vary from employer to employer, but there are a few “typical” categories of benefits that should be carefully reviewed:

Insurance Coverages

Most employers still offer employees a range of insurance coverages. These may include medical, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance plans. It is important to carefully review these plans, to inform yourself about the costs associated with each plan, and to ask some detailed questions. This includes:

  • What is your cost for the insurance plans?
  • What are the annual deductibles and your co-payments to use each insurance offering?
  • When do the insurance benefits begin? Are you eligible to receive benefits right away or is there a waiting period?
  • You should also educate yourself about items that the insurance plans may not cover

Retirement Savings and Investments

It is never too early to think about setting some money aside for retirement. Some employers will offer you options for retirement savings or even investment opportunities, including:

  • 401(k) – If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, ask if the program includes an employer match to the contributions you make.
  • Profit Sharing Plans
  • Stock Options
  • Pension Plans

Vacation and Sick Time

The amount of vacation and sick time allotted to employees will vary from employer to employer. Traditional plans will range from 2-4 weeks of vacation per year and one week of sick time. Some employers may even offer employees an allotment of personal days to use on an annual basis.

Additional Employer Perks

Even in today’s job market, some employers are enhancing their “traditional” benefit plans with additional employee perks. These perks may include:

  • Relocation Assistance
  • Gym Memberships
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Child Care

As you begin to receive and evaluate your job offers, there are many items to consider. A great deal of your attention will undoubtedly be focused on the actual job you will be doing, the company you will be working for, and of course the salary that you will be paid.

While thinking about employee benefit plans may not be the most exciting or the most glamorous topic, these are crucial elements to helping you choose the right opportunity to launch your career. Be thorough and review every detail of the employer benefits plans that are being presented to you.

If you have questions about any element of the benefits package, make sure that you seek clarification from a human resources representative at the employer.

As important as salary is, having an understanding of the “total compensation” (including benefits and perks) that is being offered to you will help you make a more informed decision about your job offer.

Photo by Jon Ross.

Let’s Talk Money!

At some point during your job search process, you will likely run into a question related to your salary expectations. You may see it on a job application where an organization may ask, “What salary range are you looking for?” Or you may be asked during an interview, “What are your salary expectations?”

Money

No matter where you encounter this question, it often poses a challenge for job seekers. What do you say? If you quote a figure that is too high, will you price yourself out of a job? If you quote a figure too low, will you be selling yourself short?

One of the keys to successfully handing this question is to do your research during your job search process. Career & Leadership Development has several resources available to assist you:

As you review the salary information, keep a few things in mind. First, some employers offer very little room to negotiate salaries for entry-level positions. Be sure to set realistic expectations for yourself and establish a budget to determine what you need to make.

Second, when considering your future earnings, remember to account for other variables including the benefits that may be offered by the employer and the cost of living associated with the geographic location of the job.

By utilizing this information, you will be better prepared to handle the salary question. You may choose to tell the employer that your salary expectations are negotiable or that you are interested in learning more about the benefits program to get a complete picture on the total compensation offered by the organization.

If you do quote a salary figure, be sure to justify your response based on the research you have conducted, and cite your sources!

If you would like additional assistance regarding how to handle salary questions, or assistance with job searching and interviewing in general, schedule an appointment with a member of the Career & Leadership Development team.

Photo by Andrew Magill.

You’ve Received a Job Offer! Now What?

Congratulations! After weeks or months of writing resumes, applying for jobs, and going on interviews, your hard work has paid off – you have received a job offer (or better yet, multiple offers!). Time to celebrate, right? Almost…

Oh Boy ...

The next critical step in the job search process is taking the time to fully evaluate the job offer you have just received. Taking time to complete this step will help you determine if the job offer in front of you is truly the right opportunity for you.

Here are a few items to consider and a few questions to ask yourself as you evaluate your job offers:

Compensation and Benefits: This means more than simply looking at the base salary you are offered. Take the time to examine the insurance benefits, the vacation allowances, and any potential perks the employer is offering to get a feel for total compensation (salary + benefits). Don’t forget to take the cost of living into consideration either. If the job will involve relocating to a new city, remember to factor in the costs associated with moving and living in your new location.

The Company/Organization: Sure you have reviewed the company website and toured the facilities during your interview, but don’t forget to get a feel for the company culture and the work environment you will be operating in. Does the organization foster an environment that will help you succeed? Are there opportunities for on-going training and professional development?

The Job Itself: Think about the nature of the work you will be doing and who you will be working with. Does your immediate supervisor offer a leadership or management style that meshes with your style of work? How will your performance be evaluated and how often will you receive feedback? Is there a good work/life balance?

In the end, only you can make the decision as to which job offer to accept, but if you need some additional help, make an appointment with a career advisor or career counselor in Career & Leadership Development.

Once you have made your decision, notify the employer of your intentions, verify your start date, and yes…remember to finally take some time to celebrate!

Photo by Emily Jones.

“Tricks and Treats” of the Interview Process

In honor of Halloween, I thought that it would be nice to do a little “trick or treating”. Instead of candy, I decided to reach out to a few of the employers who actively recruit at UW-Whitewater and solicit their single best piece of advice to pass along to students as they prepare and proceed through the job search and interview process. Let’s check our trick-or-treat bag to see what we came up with.


As you begin the process of researching and exploring different employers and job opportunities, Adrianna Choquette, Agency Recruiting Coordinator with State Farm, says to remember to “always keep yourself open to possibilities. Ask employers about their company and then sell your value, whether it be in a story or a past experience, make yourself stand out. It’s the students who sell their value and make a connection with employers that stand out – and if you stand out, you’re well on your way to finding success.”

Once you have moved into an interview opportunity with an employer, Meredith Karklus, Staffing Specialist with American Family Insurance, says to “research the company you are interviewing with. You don’t need to know everything about them, but be prepared to answer this question – why are you interested in working for our company.”  Know your value and know what you can offer to the employer.

A final piece of advice for your interview comes from Mark Henderson, Central/Northern Plains Area HR Manager with Sherwin Williams. His recommends that students “bring a personality and zest to the interview…the initial 10 seconds are crucial in making a strong statement. You never get a second shot to make that first impression.”

The bottom line from all of our employers is that the most important thing you can do is to get started looking for jobs now! If you have not started your job search process yet, be sure to take some time this week to review the current job opportunities posted in Hawk Jobs. Putting in the effort to research employers, developing your personal branding statement, and preparing for interviews can help lead to the ultimate “treat”…landing an internship or job opportunity,

Career Fair Follow-up

The curtain has closed on the 2011 Hawk Career Fair. If you were one of the hundreds of students who attended you are probably sorting through the piles of business cards, company brochures, and employer giveaways that you collected at the event. The big question is, now what?

The last few weeks we have provided advice on this blog about preparing for the career fair; working on your personal branding statement, researching employers, and dressing for success. Now that the career fair is over, it is time to move on to the next step in your job search process – following up with the employers you met at the fair.

Some employers may have asked you to submit a copy of your resume to them through Hawk Jobs while others may have requested that you complete an online application through their company website. These are certainly essential steps in moving forward with the application and interview process, but don’t forget to also send a thank-you note to each of the employers you met during the Hawk Career Fair.


You can compose a quick e-mail that thanks the employers for taking the time to speak with you at the fair and reiterate your interest and fit for the job you discussed. Taking the time to follow-up with the employers will help to convey your professionalism and can even make the difference in helping you to stand out and land the job interviews you are seeking. It is a quick and easy way to make a good last impression!

Photo by: thesnail