1. Commit to the industry:
Chances are you didn’t grow up wanting to work in insurance, and you fell into it in the way most of us have, by accident. Our industry does a pretty good job attracting new talent, but we lose a lot of it after just a few years, so companies can understandably be leery about investing in a young employee when they’re likely to leave the industry. The way around this is to commit to make your career in the industry, believe us, it’s an amazing field to work in, and it’s only getting better!
2. Make sure you’re doing a great job:
Every other piece of advice we can give you is useless if it’s not backed by making sure you do your job well. You don’t have to be perfect, but you have to be performing your day to day responsibilities well to make advancing easier.
3. Get some letters:
Unless you majored in Risk Management and Insurance, chances are your formal education didn’t teach you much about insurance, and regardless of how good your company’s on-boarding and training is, there is still a LOT to learn. Luckily, in our industry, you can get a wide variety of designations that will teach you about different areas of the industry, make you look great to management, help you understand how it all fits together outside of the area you’re working in right now, and are standard throughout the industry, so once you have them you can take them with you even if you go to a different insurance company. Carly and Tony highly recommend CPCU, but CIC, CLU, and many other designations are also worth the efforts. Less than 4% of insurance professionals have their CPCU, and it can open amazing doors if you participate in the CPCU Society after you complete your designation.
4. Join Toastmasters:
Speaking confidently and effectively will be a huge help in your career, and the higher up you get in the company, the more important public speaking will become. Start today by joining your local Toastmasters group. It will help you in many ways including making you better at thinking on your feet the next time you interview for a new role.
5. Network heavily:
While what you know is important, who you know is also crucial, and most importantly, who knows you. Make yourself a reputation for being awesome by following the tips in this article, and make sure you’re getting out there and networking both in your company and in the industry. Attend as many events as you can at your local CPCU Society, Big I, RIMS and any other insurance event you can get to. You never know which random person you meet will become a mentor, let you know about a new job before it posts or open up doors for you. If you’re in sales, we recommend networking outside of the industry, too. Get involved in your local chamber, young professional society, or a charity that you’re passionate about.
6. Help your peers whenever possible:
Make sure you’re not just networking up but also helping your peers and those who are even newer than you are. Get them excited about insurance, help them see what an awesome industry it is, tell them about InsNerds.com, and about CPCU. Become the first person they think of when they think of career growth. Give to your network without keeping count, and your network will always be there for you when you need it!
7. Take charge of your own development:
In today’s day and age, your development as a professional and your career are your responsibility. The company won’t take charge of making sure you’re growing, their part is facilitating your growth by offering tools like training, mentoring programs and tuition reimbursement; but ultimately you need to take responsibility to take advantage of all those tools and develop yourself into the professional you want to be.