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Resume and Cover Letter Workshop The Pennsylvania State University Actuarial Science Club Wednesday, September 10, 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Resume and Cover Letter Workshop The Pennsylvania State University Actuarial Science Club Wednesday, September 10, 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Resume and Cover Letter Workshop The Pennsylvania State University Actuarial Science Club Wednesday, September 10, 2014

2 Purpose of the Resume A resume is for getting an interview An interview is for getting a job Give highlights and relevant details, but don’t get bogged down – you can elaborate in the interview You have seconds to make an impression Show value to the employer: put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, “why do they care?”

3 What’s in a resume? Objective/Personal Profile – Who? What? Unless yours is unique, this can be optional Education – School, major, GPA, accomplishments If your GPA is <3.0, strongly consider also listing your major GPA if it is higher Do not round your GPA (a 3.46 is not a 3.5) Exams – Passed and/or future sittings Highlight this in its own section Highlight VEEs underneath if you like Work Experience – Internships and previous jobs Don’t use bullet points to just list what you did – focus on communicating value to the employer Leadership/ Service /Activities – Clubs, intramurals, and/or other interests Demonstrates initiative, time management skills and personality

4 Resume Gap Analysis How can you become a stronger candidate? Identify gaps in your resume early in college Find opportunities at Penn State to fill them Ex: Find a club that interests you and pursue a leadership role Fill white space

5 FAQs If I passed an exam, where should I put that on my resume? Make it stand out In its own section or under “Education” with your anticipated Penn State degree, often the first section of your resume Don’t forget to mention VEE credit too If I have taken all of the courses required for VEE credit but have not yet applied to the SOA/CAS for credit how can I show that on my resume? Use can the terms “met course requirements” or “completing course requirements”

6 FAQs If I have passed an actuarial exam, should I list my score? Your score is not necessary and is usually considered private information (therefore unless you got a 10 and really want to put it on, you don’t need to) For most/all situations, the term “passed” will suffice If I have registered for but have not yet taken an actuarial exam, how can I put that on my resume? List the exam, then the term “sitting” and the date/month for which you are registered

7 FAQs If I failed an exam, should I still put the attempt on my resume? If you are registered to take the exam again, we recommend that you mark on your resume that you are sitting for the upcoming exam. If I am an international student with permanent residence, should I mention that on my resume? Yes, if you are a permanent resident, put that near the top of your resume. If you are not, don’t put it on your resume but inform the employer honestly about your visa status if asked.

8 Tips Eliminate all spelling and grammatical errors Focus on transferrable intangible skills learned from non-actuarial jobs more than technical skills Use strong wording Keep it organized Make it easy to read – make sure your accomplishments stand out Every line should demonstrate value to the employer Have several trusted sources look over your resume for constructive criticism

9 Cover Letter Content A cover letter allows you to expand on your resume Pick about two things off your resume that make you stand out Examples: previous internship, job, leadership position in an extracurricular activity, study abroad, volunteer experience Explain what you did, what skills it helped you developed, and how those skills would relate to the job/internship you’re applying for Don’t spend more than a paragraph on one activity…show that you have broad/diverse experiences

10 Cover Letter Content Check the internship job/posting for the qualifications they are looking for and mention those in your cover letter Examples: Good oral/written communication skills, ability to work on a team and on your own Explain how you have these skills and give example(s) You don’t have to hit on every qualification, but try to mention a few

11 Cover Letter Content Show that you did your research by mentioning a reason or two why you want to work for that specific company Could be about the company in general, about a specific aspect of the internship program/job, or both This works well as part of your conclusion In addition to showing passion for the company, try to show passion about being an actuary as well (that may work well in your intro)

12 Cover Letter Length Usually a page, can be two pages Making it two pages won’t give you an advantage just because it’s longer; usually conciseness is preferred, but if you have a lot of very important things to say, two pages is okay If you go onto the second page, use up a bare minimum of 1/3 of the page; it won’t look good if you just have a few sentences on the second page

13 Cover Letter Tips Don’t start with “My name is ___ and I’m a junior majoring in actuarial science…” They can see this from your resume and it is a boring way to start Recruiters will be reading hundreds of these…try to make your opening stand out; be creative if you can Your resume is just the nitty-gritty of what you’ve done; your cover letter should bring your resume to life Show some of your personality in your writing so that the reader feels like they now know you

14 Cover Letter Tips You’ll find that you’ll probably be able to reuse the majority of your cover letter for other companies However, if you can simply switch out the name of the company and the name of the position you are applying for, your cover letter is probably too generic Triple check to make sure that you changed the company name every time it’s in your cover letter

15 Cover Letter Tips Proofread carefully; read it to yourself to make sure it flows nicely Try to find out who reads the actuarial cover letters at the company and address it to them This may involve calling HR but is worth the effort if you’re able to find out (adds a nice personalized touch) See sample cover letter on club’s website for help with formatting

16 References bin/cal/webevent.cgi?cmd=opencal&cal=cal13 bin/cal/webevent.cgi?cmd=opencal&cal=cal13 See this site for numerous events hosted by Career Services See our Resume page for sample resumes and templates


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