1. Take stock of what you just accomplished:
Take a moment and realize that you’ve just done something that almost everyone in our industry wished they had the grit to accomplish. Only 10% of insurance professionals ever take a single test and only 4% ever complete their CPCU.* Congratulations, you are now part of the elite! You have essentially finished the equivalent of a Masters Degree in Insurance via self-study while working full time! You have successfully eaten an elephant and slayed THE BEAST (540). Whether it took you ten months or ten years this is a major accomplishments that will pay dividends for the rest of your career. In other words, you rock!
2. Thank your support system:
Nobody does CPCU alone. While the studying is largely done alone, you can’t do it without your support system. Thank your company and your boss for paying for it. Thank whoever introduced you to CPCU and whoever pushed you and mentored you along the way. Most importantly thank your significant other, kids and family for understanding you’d be really busy for a while and allowing you the time to dedicate to CPCU.
3. Take a well deserved break:
After a great effort you deserve a good rest. Take a few days to enjoy not having to study. With the new time management skills you have learned to survive CPCU while working full time you will feel like you have LOTS of free time. Enjoy it! This would be a great time to reward yourself with a vacation or getaway.
4. Immediately start attending your local CPCU Society Meetings:
CPCU is truly only the beginning. One of the best and most underappreciated aspects of being a CPCU is that you now have full access to your local CPCU Society. Immediately find your local CPCU Society Chapter and put all their meetings on your calendar. Make an effort to start going and getting involved. Like most things in life, the more you put into it the more you’ll get out of it.
5. Updated LinkedIn, your resume and any internal company talent management sites:
As soon as you get the email from The Institutes that you’re official add those beautiful letters to your name on LinkedIn, your resume and your email signature. Also, most large carriers now a days have professional profiles for each employee that you can edit to make it even more likely that the right internal opportunities will come your way.
6. Check whether your company offers a bonus or raise and apply for it:
Chances are, by now, you’re very familiar with whatever your company offers to reward CPCU new designees but just in case, make sure you look into it.
7. Take advantage of your newly perfected study habits to keep growing:
Many people doing CPCU had been out of college for a while and had to create new study habits in order to survive. Once you’ve created those shiny new study habits why not take advantage of them before you get used to having too much free time. How about a few more designations? Maybe it’s time to go back for the MBA? Maybe it’s time to do CIC? Maybe you work for a company that does both P&C and Life and you’d benefit from pursuing CLU? (That one kicked my butt!) Maybe a Masters in Risk Management and Insurance from FSU or in Insurance Management from BU, both can be done fully online! Depending on your area of insurance I personally recommend ARM and ARe as great complements to CPCU.
8. Start preparing for the Annual Meeting:
There’s a good chance that a nice trip to Hawaii, Orlando, San Diego or New Orleans is one of the big reasons you finally decided to get in gear and tackle CPCU. Now that it’s a reality there’s a lot you can do ahead of time to make the most out of the trip. Here’s our guide. Also make sure you sign up for our mailing list so you’ll get an email when we release our new guide each year (and about each of our awesome articles, only one email per week).
9. Change some lives:
My favorite hobby is telling other insurance professionals about CPCU and spreading the word. I’ve started well over 100 people on the program and nothing makes me happier than seeing them finish and the huge difference it makes in their careers. Go find some promising young kid at the office and tell him about CPCU, encourage him to get started, help her navigate the company’s reimbursement process to make it less intimidated. They’ll thank you for ever! There’s no better way to pay it forward than to help others get started. It’s good for them, good for you, good for the company and good for the industry. Talk about a win-win-win-win!
10. Shake the alumni network, the CPCU Society:
When you started CPCU you probably had no idea what the CPCU Society was and even now you probably are just starting to get your head around it. Like an onion (or an ogre), there’s many layers to the CPCU Society (national, local chapters, interest groups, committees, webminars and more) and it’ll take a while to get your head around it. For now what you need to know is that the CPCU Society is the alumni network of CPCUs and that you now qualify to become a member. Being a fellow CPCU is also a great excuse to open a conversation with people you admire and didn’t have an excuse to reach out to before! Life graduating from an Ivy League, the alumni network is valuable!
11. Apply for the job:
Even if you are currently happy at your job, it doesn’t hurt to at least look around and get an idea what’s out there. Go to your company’s career website and search for jobs that mention CPCU. Usually they’ll say something like “CPCU Preferred”. You’ll be amazed at how many jobs say that! Maybe it’s time to apply for one. Also, check Indeed for external roles that list CPCU (just don’t do it from your work computer), while keeping in mind that many companies require you to stay for a certain period of time after they’ve paid for your CPCU or you have to pay it back. Still, it’s healthy to have a good idea what’s out there.
Yes, I know that’s more than ten, but hey, we always try to under-promise and over-deliver!
*Not sure where those numbers came from, I think I heard them years ago. Carly might have a source with better info, otherwise be warned, sometimes I make numbers up 😛
**Because of scheduling difficulties Carly didn’t edit this post, so I take full responsibility for any grammar I butchered, any spelling mistakes and anyone I offended.
Congrats on finishing! It's a bigger deal than you realize. Thank everybody that supported you through it. Take some time to relax. Get involved in the CPCU Society. Add the beautiful letters EVERYWHERE. Go encourage others to pursue CPCU.