How many search results are on Google for “resume writing tips”? The answer is 1.24 billion in one-half of a second. True story. I just did it.
When only a fraction of the information helps you (as in insurance professionals write specialized resumes) my advice is to write a resume with 50% basic information on any resume and the other 50% about your insurance expertise that carriers, agencies, brokers, and more want to see.
What is your insurance expertise?
This part might seem like obvious to you but be super clear about what you know through basic insurance terminology.
- Property and Casualty (Personal Lines, Commercial Lines, or both)
- Health & Welfare (Group Employee Benefits, Individual Products, etc.)
- Wealth Management
- Financial Services
Elaborate. One title can reflect wildly different responsibilities between two insurance organizations. A few examples include:
- Underwriter: Desk, Home Office, Production, etc.
- Claims: Catastrophe, Field Adjuster, Examiner, Consultant, and so forth
- Account Executive: Sales or Service AE, Management Responsibilities, etc.
- Marketing: Placement/Broking, Remarketing/Renewal Management, or Social Media/Advertising
It’s important to add some context around your particular areas of expertise.
- Client Size:
- For commercial insurance professionals, list SBU/Select, Middle Market, or Large Account/Risk Management programs + experience with risk retention, loss sensitive, high deductible, and captive programs.
- For personal lines professionals, denote homeowners and auto + Private Client Group/High Net Worth/Family Office experience + complexities like coastal property, E&S placement, and fine art/jewelry.
- For employee benefits professionals, outline group size + funding arrangements.
Where does your insurance expertise come from?
- Your Previous Employers: Never write “Confidential” on a resume. Insurance is a small industry. It’s an advantage when hiring managers can infer some experience based on previous employers.
- Office Location: Add a little color about your office. For example: “From 2019-2022, as a recent college graduate, I worked in Liberty Mutual’s Atlanta field office. I went through the company’s Underwriting Trainee school for six months and then was assigned to the Southeast Division’s 25-person Personal Lines Underwriting Team.”
- Geography: As the insurance industry becomes more decentralized, make clear the cities, states, regions and countries where you possess expertise. An example can read: “My production underwriting responsibilities were focused on expanding new business opportunities with retail agencies in a 5-state Midwest territory to include MN, WI, IL, IA, and MO. I strengthened relationships with independent agencies ranging from $3M-$100MM in annual P&C revenue for a total region of $350MM at a % loss ratio.”
Can you show career advancement?
- Always list dates of employment using only years, not months.
- Denote short term/alternative stints. If I worked as a consultant for 6 months between companies, I’d list it as Gibson Insurance Consulting (self-employed). Another way would be Commercial Insurance Account Manager (contract assignment).
- One company, multiple positions. For example:
- Gibson Insurance Agency (2011-Present)
- Managing Director (2021-present)
- SVP, Sales & Marketing (2018-2021)
- Commercial Producer, Western Region (2011-2018)
- Gibson Insurance Agency (2011-Present)
What keywords match the job advertisement?
Be mindful of who reviews your application. Hiring managers like technical jargon. HR/Talent Acquisition is looking for a few keywords.
- For P&C Insurance Professionals: List coverage lines, product groups, and vertical industry experience. Examples: GL, Auto, Construction, Aviation, Real Estate, Healthcare, Managing Liability, etc.
- For Benefits Professionals: Spell out small group, national accounts, self-funded, fully insured, or level funded.
What content loses the reader's attention?
Your resume must be clear and concise. Most people agree you have 5-10 seconds to grab the reader’s attention. Open your resume at your computer AND on your phone. How long does it take to scroll through the doc?
- If it’s several scrolls, reduce the size.
- If it’s minimal scrolling, ensure the biggest piece of info (work history) is at the top with secondary info (objectives, areas of expertise, education, licensure, awards/accolades/publications/achievements) being on page two or omitted entirely.