Five Mistakes to Avoid on your Actuarial Journey
If you were making mistakes that could hinder your growth in the actuarial career, you would want to know, right?
As it turns out, there are five common mistakes that keep aspiring actuaries from achieving their dreams. You’re probably doing at least one thing that can slow down your career by months, or even years!
Luckily, every one of these mistakes is fixable. In this post, you’ll learn which mistakes you’re making, how to avoid them in the future, and what to do instead to accelerate your actuarial journey.
These simple fixes can save you tons of time and help you get into the actuarial career you want with way less work.
So, what are these mistakes, and how do you fix them?
Underestimating Relevant Experience
You might think that it doesn’t matter if you have relevant experience, as long as you take all the relevant courses and pass your actuarial exams.
After all, you know how much work you’ve put in. You know that you’re ready to handle the actuarial career!
The problem is that employers don’t know that.
Taking a course and doing real-life work are two very different things, and making that transition can take a lot of time and energy. So, employers are hesitant to hire someone who doesn’t have real-world experience, because they would need more training.
Basically, you’re more likely to be considered for internships and entry-level actuarial jobs when your experience speaks for itself. It proves that you can do a great job.
That’s why getting relevant experience is so valuable!
So, how do you get that experience?
Many believe that the only way to get experience is with actuarial internships, but that isn’t your only option.
Stepping stone positions help you get skills and experiences that actuarial employers value, before you can get an actuarial job.
They can make a huge difference. The experience and skills you gain from these positions prove that you can handle actuarial work, thus making your application stand out that much more to actuarial employers.
They’re also less competitive than actuarial positions, making them an easier option to get hands-on experience. They can even help you get internships later on.
This happens in the Actuary Accelerator Community (AAC) all the time! Members often get stepping stone positions that lead to actuarial internships and full-time positions in the future.
So, getting relevant experience doesn’t have to be hard. The video below has tons of information about why stepping stone positions work and how to get one!
Now that you know the benefits of relevant experience, let’s get into the next mistake aspiring actuaries make.
Only Taking an Excel Course
You might have heard how important it is to learn Excel. It’s something that you’ll use all the time as an actuary, so knowing how to use it is crucial.
The thing is, just taking a course in Excel isn’t enough! To learn all the in’s and out’s of the program, you have to apply your skills too.
You need to do practice projects to connect what you’ve learned to real-life situations. Doing this helps you better understand the information, so you can remember it when you need it.
This will make a huge difference in your skills and make you more valuable to employers. After all, you can’t keep referring back to your Excel course on the job!
That’s why the Actuary Accelerator Community (AAC) offers projects in addition to Excel courses to help you apply your skills to real actuarial problems. It has everything you need to develop the technical skills that employers value!
To find out exactly what entry-level actuaries need to know about Excel, check out this post. You’ll also get information on which functions actuaries really use and how to learn them. This will keep you from learning more than you need to or focusing on Excel functions that won’t really help you in your career.
That brings us to the next mistake. It’s one that even I made on my actuarial journey!
Have you ever:
- Stayed up way too late trying to study?
- Taken a study break, only to stop studying altogether?
- Struggled to balance all your competing priorities?
- Felt exhausted and ready to give up?
If you’ve done any of these things, then you are overcommitted!
Being overcommitted means that you’re trying to do too much.
You have tons of priorities that you’re passionate about, but you’re spreading yourself so thin that you can’t succeed in any of them.
If that’s you, don’t feel bad. I did the exact same thing studying for my exams! I was struggling to balance school, work, extracurriculars, workouts, and studying.
After helping tons of aspiring actuaries, I’ve learned that this is a common trend… but it doesn’t have to be!
You can get an actuarial job in less than two years and only spend 2-3 hours working towards it each day.
This is a tried-and-true method that members of the Actuary Accelerator Community (AAC) have been using to get jobs they love. In the AAC, you’ll find tons of resources to help you accomplish your goals in just a few hours per day. You can go here to learn more!
Studying smarter will give you the time to balance all your priorities, and even get more sleep!
Speaking of studying smarter…
The Exam Hamster Wheel
Are you on the exam hamster wheel?
The exam hamster wheel basically means that you’re only focused on passing exams. You burn yourself out by passing exam after exam after exam.
Aspiring actuaries tend to think that this is the best way to impress employers, but that’s a big mistake!
Now, don’t get me wrong. Passing exams is a big feat that takes tons of time, dedication, and skill.
The thing is, passing an exam doesn’t prove that you can solve real-life problems.
It’s the same as taking an Excel course: it’s just not enough on it’s own. It shows employers that you can learn the concepts, but not if you can apply what you learned to the real world.
Instead of just passing exams, focus on getting technical skills and relevant experience. That will help you stand out to actuarial employers even more.
In fact, 50% of actuarial employers are happy to hire someone with only one exam passed.
Below is an interview with Emma, a past member of the AAC who got her first actuarial job with only two exams passed! She gives in-depth insight into the qualifications that helped her stand out for the position, the virtual interview process, and common interview questions that were asked.
She also provides a sneak peak into the world of actuarial consulting by discussing her first few days on the job and what she expects to do in the future!
This video will give you tons of insight into which qualifications are actually important and how you can get them.
You don’t need to spend months and months studying for actuarial exams.
Instead, you should focus on becoming a top actuarial candidate by getting the other qualifications that will impress employers.
Once you get an actuarial job, then you can worry about passing more exams. At that point, you’ll get raises and bonuses for each exam you pass, making it way more worthwhile. Your exam and study material costs might even be covered by your employer.
In the meantime, you should focus on developing your technical skills and gaining relevant experience. For more tips on how to stand out to employers and get your first actuarial job, check out this post.
Waiting Forever to Start
Are you waiting for the “perfect time” to start your actuarial career?
So many aspiring actuaries consider the career for months or even years before finally starting. You can spend forever waiting, but the thing is, the perfect time almost never comes.
You can end up delaying your career by months or years, when you could have been much farther ahead if you just got started right away.
It’s totally normal to be a little nervous when you’re starting something new, especially something that you really care about. But, in order to make progress and get your dream career way faster, you just have to start!
I know this is easier said than done, but don’t worry. There are small steps you can take right now to start your journey the right way.
If you’re just starting out on your journey, the first thing you should do is make sure that the actuarial career is right for you. Learning what the day-to-day life of an actuary is really like will help you make an informed decision about your future.
The video below will give you more information on exactly what the actuarial career is like. You’ll even learn why it might—or might not—be right for you.
Now, you probably still have some questions about how the actuarial career works, and it’s important to get those answered!
This blog post provides answers to tons of common questions asked by aspiring actuaries like you. It will help you be absolutely sure that the actuarial career is right for you, and get all your questions answered before you start your journey.
Making sure that you’re on the right path will help you build resolve and motivation. You’ll know that you’re making the right choice, so there’s no reason to hold back!
So, if you’d like even more information about the actuarial career delivered straight to your inbox, you should sign up for our Actuary Success Tip emails!
You’ll receive tons of information to help you decide if the actuarial career is right for you. Plus, you’ll get extra resources to help you out on your actuarial journey including study tips, job-hunting strategies, and more!
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