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How to optimize your résumé

April 02, 2021 Photo

Great Insurance Jobs’ Cofounder Roger Lear is here to help you overcome obstacles to your career and job search. This month, he offers tips on résumé optimization.

Q: Can you help me with my résumé? I have not needed one in over 10 years and I am not sure how to make sure I am doing it correctly.

A: I love this question and can help in a big way. In the last 20 years, I have reviewed more than 10,000 insurance industry résumés. I also am involved in the “technology” of hiring. In other words, what happens when you apply to a job, and what impact does an optimized résumé have on the ultimate goal of getting an interview?

When writing your résumé, remember that you are writing it for robots, not humans. The good news is that if a human sees the robot résumé first, it will be a bonus since it will be formatted to scream, “Hire me because I am awesome.” Your résumé has to match the job you are applying for, and the key is to use the job description as your guide. The number one mistake most do-it-yourself résumé writers make is writing a novel about their entire careers. Insurance jobs are very specific in 2021. Robots do not have feelings, and humans have difficulty deciphering if you are suitable for the job. These issues disappear in an optimized résumé format.

The top third of the résumé is the most important part by far. If you master this, you will increase your chances of getting an interview by 50%. It starts with your name, city, email, and phone at the very top; directly under your name header, place your job title.

This is so important. If the job you are applying for is titled, “commercial liability claims adjuster,” then the title of your résumé is “Commercial Liability Claims Adjuster.” If your current job title is “senior claims adjuster,” change the title to the job description title as long as you are qualified to do the job. Insurance companies’ job titles are numerous for the same position, but the only thing that matters is having the qualifications to do the job.

The 2021 insurance résumé also does not need an objective or summary statement. In its place are two sentences underneath the résumé title summing up your qualifications for the job. “Claims professional with 12 years of experience handling commercial liability claims. Strengths include outstanding litigation skills, complex claims, and outstanding customer service skills.” This is followed by “core competencies,” which essentially is a list of all the keywords in the job description needed to get hired. The job description is filled with keywords like litigation skills, investigation, complex liability coverage, premises liability, property damage, and many more. These are your core competencies. The list is not for words like “hardworking,” “self-starter,” and “detail-oriented.” Also, so many of you have all kinds of experience, but this section is only for the exact keywords needed for the job.

Next, the work-history section should be written in a way that brings your core competencies to life. This is done by using examples of your work that are relevant to the job description. This is a great place to let the employer know why your commercial premises liability claims skills rock. Concentrate on the skills you learned at each job that match up with the job description; everything else you do is not relevant. In other words, for a commercial liability claims job, your personal lines experience can be noted, but it does not need to be highlighted.

The résumé is your only ticket to an interview. The job description is the final exam with all the answers to what needs to be on your résumé. If you follow this formula, then you will be amazed with your results

About The Authors
Roger Lear

Roger Lear is cofounder of Great Insurance Jobs. roger@greatinsurancejobs.com

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