A resume is one of the single most important documents you will ever create. Your resume is the first thing a prospective employer sees, and what they gather from it will inform their decisions on what to do next, which directly impacts the results of your job search.
This does not mean it is insurmountable, or frustratingly impossible, to craft a well-written representation of your experiences and skills. The key to writing, submitting, and eventually presenting a successful resume is knowing yourself.
Can you tell your story earnestly and concisely in a few sentences? Can you describe what you’ve learned so far (in your education, career, life) and how it can benefit the company you’re looking to join?
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Looking for some professional help on your resume?
StateRequirement has partnered with Resumes Planet to help you create the perfect resume.
If you can, your chances of finding your next gig, whether it is with an independent agency, or the largest branded producer in your state, can skyrocket. Start with the cliché of just being yourself, and then start applying the techniques, methods, and formats that best fit your resume to land your next career.
What Should Go On My Insurance Resume?
Be sure to include your name and contact information in a way that ensures it is the first thing found and read on your resume.
After the employer has scanned your resume for the skills and experience they need to fill this role, they’re going to want to know exactly how to contact you and how to address you over the phone or via email. Keep it very clear and simple, which is why most formats opt to include it as a prominent heading at the very top of the document.
Professional Summary vs Resume Objective
The amount of experience you have will determine whether you use a professional summary versus a resume objective following your name and contact information.
If you’re just starting out, post-education or fresh from a career change, a clean resume objective sets the appropriate stage for the reader of what you’re looking to accomplish. Don’t be discouraged if you cannot yet provide concrete years or projects at the time of writing your resume. The resume objective is where you can state your intentions and connect your passions, interests, and education to the goals outlined in the job you are applying for.
Conversely, a professional summary should contain specific milestones a candidate has earned in their career. Similar to an objective, this is where connections have to be made between your history and the position you are applying for. It should be a a quick sentence or two that can span the highlights of your career so far and describe where you’d like it to go next.
If you’re running out of real estate on your resume page, this part can be broken down into select bullet points or nixed completely. The decision to keep or delete this portion can depend on the formatting and/or style or your resume.
The clearest way to list your employment history to date is to include your job title and the span of time you were employed there, in month and year only. Don’t worry about breaking it down to the day, because the potential employer is only looking to understand the windows of time you spent at each place.
To describe your role concisely and ensure easier readability, consider bulleting your accomplishments instead of crafting a full-on job description. Stick to a handful of bullet points, especially when highlighting your producer-related sales experience.
For a producer looking to land a job at a new agency, it would be beneficial to focus on quantifiable client metrics that measure customer experience, partnered with your policy renewal rates. Those two bullet points tell the story that you’re an agent that prioritizes relationships and delivers results, without writing it out in a sentence, that can be interpreted more subjectively.
Worry less on the number of bullets or the title of awards you earned (if any), and more about how the information you choose to share connects to the needs outlined in the job description.
Have several jobs you’d like to list? Highlight your latest few, three at most (to save room), and give it the same treatment outlined above. If you’re a young professional, stick to grouping your college internships together, and have that be the earliest experience you include.
This section is specific for your high school and college information. You can include as much information or as little as you like, the reader is only looking to understand where you spent your formative education years. Grade point average, and/or fields of study can create a timeline of your efforts and accomplishments leading to graduation, and can be included if it supports other experiences on your resume.
If it has been several years since graduation, pick only one or two of these details, as your more recent activities are likely to be more relative to the position you are now applying for.
If you have additional education, list it here, in the chronological order that you earned it.
If at the time of writing this resume, you have more educational experience than career experience, take the same approach as one would with their job history. Make sure to list the activities and extracurriculars that honed your current interests and pursuits.
Skills, Accomplishments, Projects, Certificates, and Other Sections
This section can really differentiate you against other candidates, specifically if you are looking to work in the insurance space.
When you avoid generic, more aspirational skills like “good communication” or “good customer service”, you’re showing you have some more specific experience under your belt.
If you attended an industry technology conference like Insuretech or participated in insurance-specific networking events, include this experience. Already have your insurance license, or attended product specific training? That is very deserving of space in this section. It demonstrates your interest and understanding for the changing world of insurance, from policy changes to new technology.
No insurance experience just yet? Adding any past projects can shed some light on who you are as a person and where your interests lie. This also shows you have some exposure to other networks of people that share your interests and can vouch for what it is like to work with you. Insurance is a people-based business, and ultimately your employer is looking to work with someone human.
Never embellish or stretch the truth thinking it will at least get you in the door. It is guaranteed it will catch up with you.
Do you speak a second language? How about win a sales competition for a fundraiser back in college? Include it, as skills and projects like these give some context into who you are and where you are in your life and career. They don’t sum you up totally, but they are good indicators of your work ethic, interests, and abilities.
How Long Should My Resume Be?
Unless you are a global executive or have extensive experience, training, and credentials, the goal for your resume should be one solid page. There are some exceptions for those practicing medicine or law, but for us who live in more of the business world, one page should be plenty.
What would be considered relevant and helpful for an employer to know in the insurance space can be summed up elegantly in one page.
How to Make My Resume Stand Out?
Take notice of how you structure your resume with headings, any lists, and body text. There should be a sense of hierarchy that gives importance to each section of content. Any design elements you decide to include, whether it be color-blocking or use of multiple columns, should support this hierarchy. Design your resume around the flow of your content, and not the other way around, and your resume will naturally stand out.
Resumes are often not as lovingly read as they are made, so make any design decisions with this in mind. Consider carefully what information is absolutely necessary for the reader to come away with after taking in all the content and design choices you made. It is generally discouraged to add visuals like photographs to your resume, as they can take up valuable space and be distracting.Opting for a clear, sans-serif font and avoiding any unnecessary flourishes or artistic interpretations will increase the odds that your resume is easy to comprehend and remember. If you’re finding that you’re often reducing the size of your font, it is a sign that what you’re trying to say can either be shortened or omitted completely. Your main body font should never fall below 11pt.
Should I Customize My Resume For Each Application?
The short answer is: Yes.
Do not, however, start from scratch each time you use your resume to apply for a different job. For each position you apply for, take some time to check out the company’s website, social media presence, and employee culture. What and how they choose to share is part of their employer brand and a peek into their core values. You’ll have to make a judgment call for each company you apply to exactly how much differentiation is necessary. It is recommended you keep the same structure and foundational information.
Does the company make frequent mention of adoption of new technology and innovation in their branding? Give the highlight about your experience working with a new customer relationship management software a little more emphasis. Does the agency do a lot with the local community, or focus on health and wellness? If that aligns with your interests and experience, customize the resume you send that specific agency so more attention is drawn to those details you know will interest them.
What If I Don’t Have Any Insurance Experience?
Remember that employers hire talent not only for the immediate skills and knowledge they bring to the table, but for their potential.
A good amount of insurance agencies are looking for genuine interest, a willingness to learn, and a positive attitude. If you are willing to learn as much as you can with the perspective of wanting to create and develop a brand new skill set, that attitude will be favorable.
If you are just starting out, know that insurance information can be learned through official training and mentorship. In fact, you’ll be expected to continue your education as new policies and levels of risk evolve over time.
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What is the Difference Between a Resume and a CV?
Resumes are the more commonly used of the two, as it is shorter and summarizes your skills and previous experience in a single place. A CV, or curriculum vitae, is a lengthier document that delves into further detail than a resume. It covers the same types of information, just at a greater length. While there are exceptions, it is unlikely an insurance agency, regardless of size or territory footprint, will ask you to develop a CV in combination with your resume.
Most agencies will have you submit a resume and cover letter, and from the information provided there, be able to evaluate their next steps for you in their hiring process. Writing up a cover letter to compliment the submission of your resume is not unlike writing a business letter or more formal email. It shouldn’t restate all the same information from your resume, but instead, present it in more of a narrative form. Your cover letter should again connect your qualities and skills directly to the needs expressed in the job description.
Sample Insurance Resume
This resume is an example of a young professional who recently graduated from college and has little work experience.
A person with more job experience should put more emphasis on the “Experience” section and should replace the resume objective section with a professional summary.
If you’re looking for new job or to start your career in insurance, find an open position on StateRequirement’s: