Kris Gibson
Kris Gibson

Got Insurance Job Search and Career Planning Questions?

Job Search Tips

June 29, 2017

CSG Q3 NEWSLETTER: Brace yourself! We are getting ready to embark on the whirlwind that is the 4th quarter. As we jump right in, here's what we are seeing in the market.


FEATURED Q&A + FACT OR FICTION: A series of popular candidate questions followed by breaking down the most common job search myths and truths.


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Our Featured Q&A gives you an opportunity to engage with us and get your questions answered on a variety of topics to pertaining to the insurance job search or career planning process.  If you have a question you’d like answered from one of our insurance recruiting consultants, please email us at [email protected].


Q: I am looking to relocate and keep getting asked what is bringing me to the area. What should I say?

A: First, it would never be right to lie so you want to be honest and truthful. The thing you have to keep in mind is that what you say is only part of the equation. What they hear is the other, and frankly, it is far more important. 

When companies ask it is because they want to understand a person’s motivation. The basic thought is that if nothing substantial is bringing a person to the area then nothing is holding them there. It is really more about retaining you than hiring you. If you move for warm weather, how long before you miss your family back in Minnesota? That kind of thing.  

It really helps if you have friends or family in an area or if you are moving for schools, activities, medical facilities, or something like that related to yourself, a spouse, or children.  You want to seem like someone who is going to be committed to the area for the right reasons that will keep you there.


Q: I’m unemployed and open to a contract role but really want to work full-time. Should I even look at contract roles or just focus on my search for a permanent role?

A: Contract roles are generally a good option to bridge a gap of unemployment and can even allow you to test drive a new prospective employer before you join them permanently. While on contract you can always keep interviewing and if you find something, you take it. I actually see a lot of contract roles wind up resulting in getting a permanent offer of employment from that same organization. This is not always the case by any means but regardless, taking a contract role does not hinder your search for permanent work at all; it just helps keep you working and earning in the meantime.

 

 


Q: A coworker of mine recently moved to a competitor and got a 25% pay increase. Is this common?

A: It really is not. It happens from time to time but most raises are the lesser of 10% or $10,000 from my experience.  Many people move for little or no raise at all initially. I’ve been in the business a long time now and tend to see a market pay what it pays for a given person. There is always some variance but generally it is small. When organizations offer up what seems like too much of a raise to be true, it is usually covering up something else. Are they really struggling to hire? Having trouble retaining? Do they have a bad reputation? The fact is businesses don’t overpay just out of the kindness of their hearts. They do it because they feel they have to. What your friend should ask is why?


Q: I accepted an offer and can’t wait to be done with my current job. Do I have to give two weeks of notice or can I just be done the day I resign?

A: While you don’t have to, you should. I get it, you want out, but what if paths cross again with people from your soon to be past employer? Do you want them to remember you as the person who just quit on them? Even with notice you’ll likely get walked out anyway and there are some tricks to help increase your chances for that too. Even if you don’t it is worth working out the two weeks to preserve your reputation. If you’ve been in insurance for any amount of time you realize how small of a world it is and there is no sense in needlessly burning bridges.



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All of my work experience should be included on my resume.

FICTION. While all of your applicable professional experience should be included it is not necessary to list every job. For instance, I see a lot of resumes with student jobs, part-time jobs done on the side, what I call hobby jobs, that is to say selling Pampered Chef, Mary Kay, or something along those lines, listed. These have no place and just distract from your applicable professional experience. Leave them off.


No harm can come from making a counter proposal once I get an offer.

FICTION. While negotiation is part of some hiring processes it is not the norm in all cases. Asking for something more in terms of money, time off, benefits, and so forth can absolutely do harm. Many people like to tell themselves “the worst they will say is no” but that’s not true. The worst they can say is “we withdraw our offer”. Does this always happen? Of course not; but it can. This is not to say you should never negotiate but it should only be in cases where you’re not prepared to accept what is in front of you currently. If your plan is to say no, you might as well try to amend it to a version that allows you to accept. If, however, you like the offer, maybe not love it, but like it, and are just trying to see if you can get more then you should know the risks you’re taking.


Most job moves are lateral.

FACT. While many will say they don’t want to make a lateral move the reality is that most people do. Promotions are often times earned, not given, and you can only earn them with an organization who knows your work. That is not to say people don’t move for promotions, it happens all the time, but that certainly is not the norm. There may be nuanced differences they perceive as growth or advancement baked in but most account managers, underwriters, etc. take an account manager or underwriter role when they move.


I can expect a cost of living raise every year as long as I perform well.

This one is more case dependent....

FICTION in thinking that this applies to everyone. FACT in that some organizations do hand out annual raises for employees who met or exceeded expectations.

But...there are also many organizations who do not. They have freezes from time to time or simply don’t have a formalized review plan for awarding raises.  This is an important aspect to understand about an organization before joining them.


 

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