SKL is a specialist actuarial recruitment consulting firm.

We recruit at all levels from Chief actuary to junior analyst and for all roles where actuarial and quantitative skills are highly valued.
Our consultants bring a deep knowledge of the market. We employ actuaries who understand your qualification, your technical expertise and where your skills are attractive to employers in the more traditional or new and developing areas. We have a good understanding of the employers of actuaries and the nature of the environment and professional opportunities they offer.

We have a consultative approach and are keen to get to know you so that we can give you the right advice and support throughout your career. We take pride in our approach and our reputation is very important to us. We have found that candidates often become clients and that our approach has led to ongoing referrals.

Please contact us if you are interested in having a confidential discussion about your career.

2017 SKL Actuarial Salary Survey.

The survey usually open between July to August and the report will be available from early October.  We encourage you to contribute as only those participating will receive a copy of the report to ensure we collect a strong volume of data.  All data is of course kept confidential and used only for the purpose of the survey.

How We can help you

We will be honest, ethical and professional in all our dealings with you. This includes providing realistic career advice on the market, industry, how to progress with your current employer, alternative areas of work, developing new skills or salary expectations. We are also able to provide support with your resume and the interview process.

Information on resumes and interviews

Most importantly, you need to remember that your resume is a marketing document.

This is your opportunity to tell a prospective employer about you, your aspirations, and the skills and knowledge you have.  This means you need to think about the person who will be reading your resume and how you can make it easy for them to extract the information they need, and form a picture of what it is that you have to offer. Thinking about your audience helps you identify which of your skills are more relevant and therefore helps you present yourself in the best light.

 For example if you are applying for a role in Japan the fact that you have visited Japan on an exchange program while at school and speak Japanese is probably more relevant than if you are applying for a job in Australia and therefore it should appear further up the resume.

 You also need to remember that your resume is about you, and therefore should portray you in a way which you are comfortable with and which will support your true strengths and characteristics.

How long should my resume be?

Ideally 2 pages and no longer than 3.  If it is longer than this it is probably not sufficiently well focused.

The Cover Letter

Whether you include a cover letter with an application depends on the circumstances. If you are applying for a specific role then this is where you can address any key requirements for the role, why the position is of interest and the most important facts from your resume.  It should be kept to one page unless requested otherwise.

Overview or Summary

This is typically a paragraph or two at the beginning of your resume setting out your aspirations and the key things that the reader needs to know about you.  It can effectively serve as the cover letter if there is no requirement for one and ensure this information is available at all times.  It is an opportunity to ensure the information you want to get across is prominent.  Not everyone is comfortable with this approach so think about what works best for you.

Contact Details

A personal email address and mobile number is sufficient.  Note that the personal email address should be business appropriate and remember that you need to check it regularly once you are using it for applying for jobs.

 Qualifications

Think about what is most relevant to the reader.  If you are an FIAA they probably don’t care whether you won a prize for maths at school.  If you are applying for a senior management role where you will be reporting to the board then if you have completed a Company Directors course this might be most relevant.

If you are part way through your exams remember that employers don’t understand the names of the courses you have completed at university. They are more interested in what this means from the point of view of progress towards qualification as an actuary – so if you will have 6 exemptions say so.

Typically you would include :

  • Qualification
  • University or educational body
  • Date achieved or period of study
  • Achievements – eg all HDs, prizes 

Employment

Show your employment experience chronologically from most recent.  In describing your experience you should aim to describe your level of responsibility, the areas in which you have knowledge/experience and your achievements.  In some cases it may be useful to provide some background about the organization you were working for.

You need to account for all periods across your career for consistency.  If you took time out to travel, for family, health or study reasons say so, a brief sentence is all that is required.

If you have had a long career then it may be more appropriate to account for the early part of your career with a general statement about having worked for XYZ in junior actuarial roles or similar.

Professional

In addition to an employment record you are also building a professional profile and it can be important to include details of this in your resume.   This is an opportunity to highlight different areas of experience which are not clear from the employment record but may be important in building a picture of your abilities.

Some examples include

  • Committee membership with Actuaries Institute or other professional organisations.
  • Attending toastmasters
  • Board roles with community bodies eg schools, not for profit organisations
  • Major events which you have helped organize or project manage through community bodies
  • Leadership roles

Other

Should you include hobbies, other interests, family details on your resume?  This is very much personal choice but again it is about whether it will add value for the person reading the resume.   Including some interests provides something for an interviewer to talk about with you outside of the work experience and can help create a bond if they have similar interests (and is unlikely to be a negative if they don’t).  However you need to be genuinely interested in the interests you choose as you may be asked to discuss them so if you don’t want to include them there is no rule saying you must.

Referees

It is quite acceptable to say that referees will be provided on request.   If you want to include names and titles of your referees (which can be a benefit if you feel they will be meaningful) then don’t include their contact details unless you are quite comfortable with them being contacted, possibly without your knowledge.  By providing that information you are effectively giving permission for that contact to be made.

It is of course vital that you have contacted your referees to get their agreement prior to including their names on a resume.

 

 

Once you have an interview this is your opportunity to:

  • Let the prospective employer find out about you and in particular why you are the right person for the job.
  • Find out whether the opportunity is right for you.

Key to the interview is preparation.  The more prepared you are, the greater your confidence and the better you will present.

Always take a meeting seriously, it may sound like a casual coffee to discuss the job but first impressions do count and you may only get one opportunity to talk about what you can bring to a position.

  •  Ensure you have the details of location, time and who you will be meeting, how long the interview is likely to be and whether there is any information you should bring with you.
  • Do some homework about the organization, the position (ask for a job description if one exists) and the people you will meet.
  • Think about how your skills fit with the job and the areas you will need to highlight or expand on.
  • Plan how you will answer questions about yourself and your experience. Try and think of examples you could use to describe how you have dealt with different situations.
  • Put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer and think about what is likely to be meaningful to them eg don’t use jargon which is specific to your current company.
  • Speak clearly and confidently about yourself.  While you may feel uncomfortable doing it, practicing out loud the way in which you describe yourself is useful, by the time you have tried two or three times you will find the words roll off the tongue much more easily.
  • You should not overstate your achievements but you do need to highlight your strengths and be able to back them up with evidence.
  • Listen to what you are being asked and answer the question.  Too often candidates talk about the things they want to talk about and ignore the question.  If you don’t get the opportunity to present on your areas of strength you can always ask for the opportunity to do so at the end of the interview.
  • It can be easy to find yourself talking too much but also feeling that you need to continue to the end of every example – it is very acceptable to check in with the interviewer to see if they would like more or less detail on a topic.
  • Be enthusiastic about your career and what you have achieved, but avoid unnecessary detail.
  • Think about how you present your ideas  - are you energetic and positive or too inclined to criticize previous employers.
  • If there are any “difficult” periods on your CV think about how you will answer questions about them.  Usually if you are able to give a concise and balanced response the interviewer will move on.
  • Have some questions prepared so that you demonstrate an interest in the role. This is your opportunity to find out if the job is right for you.  However, be wary of taking too much of the interviewers time particularly in a first interview.
  • Be prepared for a question about what you are paid and have an answer. Don’t lie about your current salary but you can divert the questions by giving an indication of your expectations.  If you are being represented by a recruiter then you can let the company know that you would prefer to discuss salary with them.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Relax and be yourself.

It is good practice to follow up an interview with an email of thanks where you can also confirm your interest in the role. If you are working with a recruiter then liaise with them about how to interact with the company.

A successful interview relies partly on thorough preparation and partly on thoughtful response to questions on the day. In addition, you can demonstrate a lot to your interviewers with your own questions and effective follow-up.