Work experience offers an excellent opportunity to see what the job entails within a ‘live’ commercial environment. It also provides a chance to network within the close knit, friendly actuarial professional community.
From an employer’s point of view, a graduate who has already taken the trouble to find work as an actuary has demonstrated a level of determination, drive and initiative that may well set him or her apart from the competition.
Such experience also provides solid evidence of your ability to relate your studies to real life situations and your capacity to learn beyond the classroom.
No longer are employers just looking for an excellent academic record; you need to demonstrate that academic success can also translate into commercial suitability. Work experience helps you do just that.
Where to find work experience
We have listings of current work experience opportunities that are available in the actuarial profession, so why not take a look and apply?
Applications for work placements are usually made by sending your CV together with a covering letter, or by completing the company’s own application form.
Consider creating your own placement by using the list as an information source and approaching companies with speculative applications.
Some employers, particularly the smaller or newer ones, may have never considered offering work experience placements before.
A well-crafted letter extolling the many skills and assets that you could bring to a company might therefore lead not only to a short term work placement but also to a secure, well paid career opportunity in the future.
University careers services
One of the best sources of work experience vacancies and additional detailed information is available from your university careers service.
Careers advisers actively support such programmes and are constantly seeking out companies who offer work placements. Careers services usually begin to receive details of vacancies from mid October, continuing through to March.
However, it is never too late to apply as there is demand for actuarial work experience candidates all year round.
Other routes into actuaries
If you still have not found a placement, it is often worthwhile approaching large insurance companies for general office based work experience. In this environment, there is a great deal of work that is deemed suitable for a student, such as administration, data entry and filing.
Although this may not be the kind of experience you had in mind, it still gives a useful insight into how the insurance industry works.
It may also be possible, once you have established yourself, to mention that you have a particular interest in actuarial work and ask ‘might it be possible to spend some time with the actuaries?’