Great Insurance Jobs’ Cofounder Roger Lear is here to help you overcome obstacles to your career and job search. This month, he offers advice on how to get noticed the right way.
Q: What should be eliminated or added to both my LinkedIn profile and resume to make sure they get noticed by claims managers?
A: What I think you may be asking is, “When searching for a claims job, what is more important—my resume or LinkedIn profile?” The answer isn’t so clear today because every insurance employer has their own thoughts and practices when using these resources today. One thing is for sure, though: Your resume and LinkedIn profile can be optimized so no matter how the employer finds you, your background and skill sets will shine.
Most insurance employers—those with over 200 employees—use applicant tracking systems (ATS) that require you to submit a resume. Your resume is only optimized in this scenario via “keywords,” which are the DNA computers use to rank you against all applications. The keywords have to come directly from the job description, which, in many cases, means you must have a different resume for every job to which you apply.
A big mistake many well-rounded claims professionals make is not focusing their resumes on exactly what the job is asking for. For instance, if the job is a homeowners’ claims adjuster position, the computer doesn’t care about if the applicant also has an auto liability background. To optimize your resume for this position, expand your homeowners’ experience and make sure it reads like the job description. Keep your auto experience on your resume, but don’t dedicate a lot of detail to it.
Also, directly underneath your name, city, and contact information at the top of the resume, replace any “objective” field you might have with a title. In this case, it would be “Homeowners’ Claims Adjuster.” Follow this with your core competencies (bullet point skills that match the job), then include your work history. Eliminate summaries, objectives, full addresses (other than city and state), home phone numbers (use cell), and the line “references available upon request.”
LinkedIn optimization brings your current resume to life. Two types of people look at your LinkedIn profile before your resume. First, headhunters and recruiters use LinkedIn as a public resume database to find talent for their open jobs. An optimized LinkedIn profile will get hundreds of more views and can lead to great careers. The other type of person who looks at your LinkedIn profile is the hiring manager before you come in for your final interview.
In either case, LinkedIn has made many changes that can be beneficial, especially if you are in a job search. You can now edit your headline and add a summary right at the top of your profile. This is huge. If you have 15 years of homeowners’ experience but have been doing auto for the last three years, you can still change your headline to homeowners’ claims adjuster. You can also use the summary portion to expand and add keywords relevant to the jobs for which you want to be considered. Unlike a resume, your LinkedIn profile also allows you to post a photo (something HR never wants to see on a resume!) as well as a background photo. Take advantage of this because it makes your profile come to life. A professional headshot is mandatory; leaving this blank raises concerns. The background photo could be you on a roof or at a fire scene. Most people are visual, so this can be very powerful. Finally, ask for recommendations from people who know your skills and get them on your profile. This can be done easily right from the recommendations section. If you are not looking for a job, you still should have your LinkedIn profile optimized. With so many things changing in the industry, it is the only way a recruiter can connect you with your dream job.
For many, the day of the resume is already over. It is being replaced rapidly with an online profile, made up mostly from LinkedIn, and your references are your social media. Optimizing both your physical resume and LinkedIn profile will give you a great shot at any job you want.