Are you looking for an actuarial job but unable to find any? Do not worry, this may be just a phase!
You need to take some efforts for the right thing to happen. Good things take time and only those who patiently wait generally gets a chance to get through it. Follow below advise and results will be apparently visible soon.
1. How many actuarial papers are required to start with the first job?
Earlier there was extremely less supply of talent and hence people with even 1 paper used to get a job. Now the scenario is quite different. Supply is more then demand for fresh actuaries and hence we have now entered a competition face. While competing you need to be better than other, even companies have started demanding more. I would suggest you to clear at least 5 core technical papers before expecting a job (there is nothing like over-qualification until you move ahead of Core technical series before getting some experience). Here I do not mean you will not get a job with less than 5 papers, there may be exceptional companies which may hire people based on less papers but mainstream companies are now demanding more papers. Freshers with as many as 9 papers are competing with you. They naturally get preference in core insurance companies. CT1, CT3, CT4, CT5 and CT6 are important papers to get started.
2. What do I need to do more to become more competitive?
Learn Softwares. 99.99% of actuarial work is done through softwares and you need to learn them before you start applying for jobs. Earlier companies used to train but their cost is very high. Due to high employee turn over ratio, they have started hiring people with in built knowledge instead of hiring people and then spending lakhs of rupees to train them. Something very basic which all of you should know is MS-Excel, MS word/power-point, MS ACCESS and VBA. If you really want to have an edge over others, you may learn as many of these softwares as possible – R programming, SQL, SAS, SPSS etc. Any statistical or analytical software will add value to your profile.
3. Will I get a job if I have both soft-skills and required papers?
Conditionally Yes. You may have the ability to perform but you should also have ability to tell others that you are able. You should be very good at communicating. Your oral as well as written communication skills matters a lot.
First impression on your potential employer is your resume. it should be different than usual copy pasted one. one page resume with only relevant information presented in neat and organised way is always very impressive. If your resumes works well, you will certainly get a call from the employer. Your oral skills are examined while taking your telephonic or face to face interview. Your confidence level matters a lot here. So if you have this too, you are through it. You will soon get your first job and then things are easy, you just need to perform well.
Actuarial department of any insurance company, pension fund or a bank potentially has the capabilities to ruin the company with their mistaken decisions. Companies cannot afford to hire someone who seems less than extremely intelligent. The profession is meant for people with very high IQ and not everyone will be hired. The process of selection in jobs and the exams itself make sure that less deserving candidates get filtered out. You should select any profession based on your competence. If you dont love maths or if you dont have absolute willingness to learn maths then probably this is not the right profession for you.
For the most suited candidates, waiting time to grab your first job is 2-6 months. You should patiently wait for things to take shape before developing adverse opinion towards the profession. If you have the skills required by industry you will definitely get absorbed. Just have this three key qualities within you – Confidence, Determination and Patience!
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(About the author – Ravi Vyas, founder, S.MONK)