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  #31  
Old 08-22-2013, 05:58 PM
Dr T Non-Fan Dr T Non-Fan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GabeolithicMan View Post
Not sure how you got the impression that I thought the info was coming exclusively from me, but thank you for your very valuable and useful input. You seem like a super nice person and conversationalist.
You would be quite wrong on both counts. I'm cranky and curt.
__________________
DTNF's Basic Philosophy Regarding Posting: There's no emoticon for what I'm feeling! -- Jeff Albertson (CBG)
DTNF's Trademarked Standard Career Advice: "pass some exams and get back to us."
DTNF's Major advice: "Doesn't matter. Choose major that helps you with goal of Career Advice."
DTNF's Résumé Advice: Have a good and interesting answer to every item on it for the interviews.
DTNF's Law of Job Offers: You not only have to qualify for the position, but you also have to be the best candidate available for the offer.
DTNF's Work Philosophy: I am actuary. Please insert data. -- Actuary Actuarying Rodriguez.
Twitches' Advice to Crazy Women: Please just go buy your 30 cats already.
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  #32  
Old 08-22-2013, 06:27 PM
GabeolithicMan GabeolithicMan is offline
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Originally Posted by Dr T Non-Fan View Post
You would be quite wrong on both counts. I'm cranky and curt.
My mistake.
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  #33  
Old 08-22-2013, 06:44 PM
Dr T Non-Fan Dr T Non-Fan is offline
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That's some curtness I can applaud!
__________________
DTNF's Basic Philosophy Regarding Posting: There's no emoticon for what I'm feeling! -- Jeff Albertson (CBG)
DTNF's Trademarked Standard Career Advice: "pass some exams and get back to us."
DTNF's Major advice: "Doesn't matter. Choose major that helps you with goal of Career Advice."
DTNF's Résumé Advice: Have a good and interesting answer to every item on it for the interviews.
DTNF's Law of Job Offers: You not only have to qualify for the position, but you also have to be the best candidate available for the offer.
DTNF's Work Philosophy: I am actuary. Please insert data. -- Actuary Actuarying Rodriguez.
Twitches' Advice to Crazy Women: Please just go buy your 30 cats already.
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  #34  
Old 08-22-2013, 06:49 PM
GabeolithicMan GabeolithicMan is offline
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Originally Posted by Dr T Non-Fan View Post
That's some curtness I can applaud!
You're welcome.

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  #35  
Old 09-12-2013, 07:43 PM
Limitless1064 Limitless1064 is offline
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Originally Posted by Peetie Skunk View Post
Since this is the career-changer advice thread I figure I might as well go into a little detail about my experience changing careers. My situation is not unique, as I have seen many others in very similar situations. Hopefully it is helpful to someone.

Before deciding to be an actuary I had been working in a blue collar job for about 8 years. Although I had a bachelor's degree, it was not in a quantitative field and the highest math I had ever taken was algebra. Once I decided I wanted to be an actuary I read up thoroughly here on the AO, beanactuary.org, and the US DOL website in addition to going out and speaking with actual actuaries about the profession.

It was my understanding that the field was highly competitive to get into at the EL, and with my limited math skills and a 2.5 GPA it would be nearly impossible for me to get into the field (and this has proven true). Thankfully, I'm not one to give up very easily.

Since the highest math I ever had was algebra, I was completely underprepared for any actuarial exams and decided to go back to school for another degree in AS while continuing to work at my job. This is not a requirement for career changers who have a bachelors degree, but it was necessary in my case due to the lack of math skills. One needs at least a solid foundation in calculus before sitting for exams, and my program gave me that. In addition, my program at school provided me opportunities for networking, study groups for exams, and specific classes tailored towards passing exams.

Because of my low GPA and lack of pertinent experience, initially no employer would even look at me. I spoke with actuaries who I knew and they advised I pass at least two exams and I would have somewhat better odds at finding an actuarial job. So, in my first year of studying AS, I passed Exam P/1 (using Actex) and Exam FM/2 (using ASM).

Once hiring season started the next year (yes there is a hiring season for EL candidates and it tends to occur in the fall) I had the two exams passed, but still had some hurdles to jump over (given that I had a sub 3.0 GPA and no internships). I had my resume critiqued here on the AO, critiqued by the actuaries I knew, and by my career services office at school. After I thought my resume was as good as it could get, I sent it out to over 100 companies with a tailored cover letter for each company (never a form letter), keeping track of any and all contact I had with a company on a spreadsheet. I applied both online and emailed the hiring manager directly if I could (you can figure out how to find hiring managers in the EL Advice thread).

In the end I ended up getting about 8 or 9 on-site interviews and 3 offers, however there were 3 very important factors which helped me get the job: quickly passing exams, interviewing well, and networking.

If you can pass exams quickly, especially while working, this will make you stand out to employers.

As for the interviewing and networking, I think it is important to point out that any contact with a potential employer is an interview whether you realize it or not. I always made sure I was dressed at least business casual if I was meeting a potential employer (business professional if the meeting was a formal interview), had a copy of my resume on hand, and was knowledgable about the company with plenty of questions ready. If you can learn how to network effectively this will get you interviews. I had a few interviews for positions I didn't even apply for, but the hiring manager had received my resume from someone I had contact with previously.

In the end, I was hired for a job which about 400 people had applied for and which I was probably one of the least qualified applicants on paper, but because I had been networking with a few of the hiring managers directly for at least a year and was able to interview well I ended up getting the job.

Learn to network. Networking is key.

Credit to DTNF if I referenced anything in his sig-line and for the idea of starting a Sticky Career Changer thread.
This is a lot more useful than the original post, thank you.
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  #36  
Old 09-16-2013, 09:51 PM
Dr T Non-Fan Dr T Non-Fan is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Just outside of Nowhere
Posts: 86,417
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Yes, the credit at the end is quite useful.
__________________
DTNF's Basic Philosophy Regarding Posting: There's no emoticon for what I'm feeling! -- Jeff Albertson (CBG)
DTNF's Trademarked Standard Career Advice: "pass some exams and get back to us."
DTNF's Major advice: "Doesn't matter. Choose major that helps you with goal of Career Advice."
DTNF's Résumé Advice: Have a good and interesting answer to every item on it for the interviews.
DTNF's Law of Job Offers: You not only have to qualify for the position, but you also have to be the best candidate available for the offer.
DTNF's Work Philosophy: I am actuary. Please insert data. -- Actuary Actuarying Rodriguez.
Twitches' Advice to Crazy Women: Please just go buy your 30 cats already.
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  #37  
Old 01-07-2014, 05:16 PM
SociableNerd's Avatar
SociableNerd SociableNerd is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Urbana, IL
Studying for FM
College: UIUC
Posts: 34
Question Unique or not unique?

Dear all;

After reading the comment
“We'd rather engage with people who have more interesting problems that we haven't yet solved” by
Dr T Non-Fan, I would like to share with you my story and ask for a career advice.

I am 35 yo, career changer, and a recent immigrant to the U.S., having unrestricted access to the US labor market – Green card. I would like to gather some advice from everybody on the best tactics to get the first actuarial internship and then the job. Or opinions whether it is worth or not to pursue an actuarial field at all.

The questions I want to ask are:

1. Do you think I am about to make the right time investment decision to enroll full-time into a university with a big and reputable actuarial science program, given its networking opportunities and access to graduate recruiting, at the age of 35 and with 18 years of blue color (but fun) jobs background? Will I be better off pursuing non-actuarial field instead?

2. Should I leave off my resume all retail, customer service, bartender, receptionist, flight attendant, senior flight attendant experience? If so, won’t it be strange for a recruiter to see an empty resume of a 35 years old guy?

3. Should I remove all foreign experience, the four foreign languages I speak fluently, and the foreign education from the resume so that it does not intimidate the corporate HR employee and does not give her more work, and also to prevent generating assumption that I am not legal to work in the US?

Maybe it will help to understand my situation better, if I write about it in details, I am not sure if my case is unique.

To begin with, most of my life, since the age of 17, I did low skilled jobs ( that is, for 18 years) because I had to work to survive, without family support at all. With some foreign schooling done, I ended up in Dubai in retail shops of a major hospitality group – I managed to sell my English skills and my personality to the hiring manager when I was 24 years old.

In Dubai, I excelled at my jobs, won awards, and was promoted multiple times at two different companies. I achieved a supervisory level with the last employer. I mastered management, leadership and, of course, communication skills. However, when I realized I was dumbing down at my last job, I decided to change my life, and finance industry looked good for getting into. I passed CFA Level 1 exam while doing blue color flight attendant work, and started my finance job search in Dubai. At that moment I won the green card in DV lottery and decided to move to the U.S.A., thinking that accumulated savings would allow me to sustain my modest lifestyle, before I find a new job.

In America, I became a member of a CFA Society, attended numerous networking events and various career workshops. I did not manage to get a job, but I accumulated important knowledge: when the recruiters were sober, they were telling me that the timing was not right for any finance jobs due to the aftermath of the financial crisis, but after they had a few glasses of wine, or while still sober, but in private, they were telling me that when a corporate HR employee sees a foreign school or work experience on the resume, they toss it away because it implies extra work for them. Also, these employees automatically assume that I have no right to work in America. I have heard from many people, especially fellow immigrants, that in the US, American university on the resume matters. I have received guidance that the road to an American dream is university-job-career- house - wife - prestige- good retirement.

So, I decided to go back to school full time, and stopped my job search completely. I came to conclusion that becoming an actuary was a more appealing choice than finance, given my programming aptitudes and math skills. This job is also massively publicized at one of the best to have in the U.S. So, I enrolled into a community college and I completed 36 credits with 4.0 GPA, and will be transferring to UIUC ( University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) BSC in Actuarial Science from next Fall. I am planning to network hard with corporate recruiters, who come on campus, and to pass at least 2 exams. I am studying for FM now, using only theinfiniteactuary.com and a textbook, and will be sitting for it next June. I am also learning SQL and Excel VBA on my own, using books and You-Tube videos.

Do you think my plan will work out?

Thanks everyone for helping me with advice and comments, I will really appreciate it…
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  #38  
Old 01-07-2014, 05:18 PM
Captain Oveur Captain Oveur is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 12,537
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SociableNerd View Post
Dear all;

After reading the comment
“We'd rather engage with people who have more interesting problems that we haven't yet solved” by
Dr T Non-Fan, I would like to share with you my story and ask for a career advice.

I am 35 yo, career changer, and a recent immigrant to the U.S., having unrestricted access to the US labor market – Green card. I would like to gather some advice from everybody on the best tactics to get the first actuarial internship and then the job. Or opinions whether it is worth or not to pursue an actuarial field at all.

The questions I want to ask are:

1. Do you think I am about to make the right time investment decision to enroll full-time into a university with a big and reputable actuarial science program, given its networking opportunities and access to graduate recruiting, at the age of 35 and with 18 years of blue color (but fun) jobs background? Will I be better off pursuing non-actuarial field instead?

2. Should I leave off my resume all retail, customer service, bartender, receptionist, flight attendant, senior flight attendant experience? If so, won’t it be strange for a recruiter to see an empty resume of a 35 years old guy?

3. Should I remove all foreign experience, the four foreign languages I speak fluently, and the foreign education from the resume so that it does not intimidate the corporate HR employee and does not give her more work, and also to prevent generating assumption that I am not legal to work in the US?

Maybe it will help to understand my situation better, if I write about it in details, I am not sure if my case is unique.

To begin with, most of my life, since the age of 17, I did low skilled jobs ( that is, for 18 years) because I had to work to survive, without family support at all. With some foreign schooling done, I ended up in Dubai in retail shops of a major hospitality group – I managed to sell my English skills and my personality to the hiring manager when I was 24 years old.

In Dubai, I excelled at my jobs, won awards, and was promoted multiple times at two different companies. I achieved a supervisory level with the last employer. I mastered management, leadership and, of course, communication skills. However, when I realized I was dumbing down at my last job, I decided to change my life, and finance industry looked good for getting into. I passed CFA Level 1 exam while doing blue color flight attendant work, and started my finance job search in Dubai. At that moment I won the green card in DV lottery and decided to move to the U.S.A., thinking that accumulated savings would allow me to sustain my modest lifestyle, before I find a new job.

In America, I became a member of a CFA Society, attended numerous networking events and various career workshops. I did not manage to get a job, but I accumulated important knowledge: when the recruiters were sober, they were telling me that the timing was not right for any finance jobs due to the aftermath of the financial crisis, but after they had a few glasses of wine, or while still sober, but in private, they were telling me that when a corporate HR employee sees a foreign school or work experience on the resume, they toss it away because it implies extra work for them. Also, these employees automatically assume that I have no right to work in America. I have heard from many people, especially fellow immigrants, that in the US, American university on the resume matters. I have received guidance that the road to an American dream is university-job-career- house - wife - prestige- good retirement.

So, I decided to go back to school full time, and stopped my job search completely. I came to conclusion that becoming an actuary was a more appealing choice than finance, given my programming aptitudes and math skills. This job is also massively publicized at one of the best to have in the U.S. So, I enrolled into a community college and I completed 36 credits with 4.0 GPA, and will be transferring to UIUC ( University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) BSC in Actuarial Science from next Fall. I am planning to network hard with corporate recruiters, who come on campus, and to pass at least 2 exams. I am studying for FM now, using only theinfiniteactuary.com and a textbook, and will be sitting for it next June. I am also learning SQL and Excel VBA on my own, using books and You-Tube videos.

Do you think my plan will work out?

Thanks everyone for helping me with advice and comments, I will really appreciate it…
Huh, wasn't aware that existed.
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  #39  
Old 01-07-2014, 05:44 PM
Dr T Non-Fan Dr T Non-Fan is offline
Member
SOA AAA
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Just outside of Nowhere
Posts: 86,417
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SociableNerd View Post
Dear all;

After reading the comment
“We'd rather engage with people who have more interesting problems that we haven't yet solved” by
Dr T Non-Fan, I would like to share with you my story and ask for a career advice.

I am 35 yo, career changer, and a recent immigrant to the U.S., having unrestricted access to the US labor market – Green card. I would like to gather some advice from everybody on the best tactics to get the first actuarial internship and then the job. Or opinions whether it is worth or not to pursue an actuarial field at all.

The questions I want to ask are:

1. Do you think I am about to make the right time investment decision to enroll full-time into a university with a big and reputable actuarial science program, given its networking opportunities and access to graduate recruiting, at the age of 35 and with 18 years of blue color (but fun) jobs background? Will I be better off pursuing non-actuarial field instead?

2. Should I leave off my resume all retail, customer service, bartender, receptionist, flight attendant, senior flight attendant experience? If so, won’t it be strange for a recruiter to see an empty resume of a 35 years old guy?

3. Should I remove all foreign experience, the four foreign languages I speak fluently, and the foreign education from the resume so that it does not intimidate the corporate HR employee and does not give her more work, and also to prevent generating assumption that I am not legal to work in the US?

Maybe it will help to understand my situation better, if I write about it in details, I am not sure if my case is unique.

To begin with, most of my life, since the age of 17, I did low skilled jobs ( that is, for 18 years) because I had to work to survive, without family support at all. With some foreign schooling done, I ended up in Dubai in retail shops of a major hospitality group – I managed to sell my English skills and my personality to the hiring manager when I was 24 years old.

In Dubai, I excelled at my jobs, won awards, and was promoted multiple times at two different companies. I achieved a supervisory level with the last employer. I mastered management, leadership and, of course, communication skills. However, when I realized I was dumbing down at my last job, I decided to change my life, and finance industry looked good for getting into. I passed CFA Level 1 exam while doing blue color flight attendant work, and started my finance job search in Dubai. At that moment I won the green card in DV lottery and decided to move to the U.S.A., thinking that accumulated savings would allow me to sustain my modest lifestyle, before I find a new job.

In America, I became a member of a CFA Society, attended numerous networking events and various career workshops. I did not manage to get a job, but I accumulated important knowledge: when the recruiters were sober, they were telling me that the timing was not right for any finance jobs due to the aftermath of the financial crisis, but after they had a few glasses of wine, or while still sober, but in private, they were telling me that when a corporate HR employee sees a foreign school or work experience on the resume, they toss it away because it implies extra work for them. Also, these employees automatically assume that I have no right to work in America. I have heard from many people, especially fellow immigrants, that in the US, American university on the resume matters. I have received guidance that the road to an American dream is university-job-career- house - wife - prestige- good retirement.

So, I decided to go back to school full time, and stopped my job search completely. I came to conclusion that becoming an actuary was a more appealing choice than finance, given my programming aptitudes and math skills. This job is also massively publicized at one of the best to have in the U.S. So, I enrolled into a community college and I completed 36 credits with 4.0 GPA, and will be transferring to UIUC ( University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) BSC in Actuarial Science from next Fall. I am planning to network hard with corporate recruiters, who come on campus, and to pass at least 2 exams. I am studying for FM now, using only theinfiniteactuary.com and a textbook, and will be sitting for it next June. I am also learning SQL and Excel VBA on my own, using books and You-Tube videos.

Do you think my plan will work out?

Thanks everyone for helping me with advice and comments, I will really appreciate it…
Well, this is different!

If you want an actuarial job, yes, you should finish college. Chances of landing a job without a degree are maybe 1 in 1000. And there are not 1000 openings, and there are a few thousand candidates.

You'll still have to convince someone to hire you to one of their precious "EL's for 22-year-olds only" openings. You should have better luck with the "off-season" when openings occur after those 22-year-olds flake out. (Maybe 15% of them.)
Networking will be key. You'll have to find a kindred spirit, or at least someone open-minded enough with the power to take a chance on hiring you over other, more "traditional" candidates. Find someplace that no one else wants to work (we call it "the po' "), lowering the amount of competition.

Quick note: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (or Champaign-Urbana), is called the "University of Illinois" to the rest of the USA. Any other U of I requires its city or its general direction.

Answers to your questions three:

1. Yes.
2. Yes. your résumé is your marketing tool. Put on stuff that (you hope) will be interesting to the reader, or else they will toss it aside for the next résumé. Or, at least make it seem interesting. Throw it into a bundle, without going into details like employers and such. Have a good story that relates somehow to risks and how to manage them. Like that one time you had to land a plane after the pilots were sucked out of a hole caused by a smaller plane that crashed into it. Wait, that's the plot of "Airport '75."
3. Just state that you have a green card. Your foreign language abilities are a good sign of intelligence (imo). If some company doesn't want you because of that (and don't think HR is helpful in any way to any of us -- make sure an actuary sees your résumé!), well, they weren't going to like you once they met you, either.

See you in a few years, after you, well, you know, pass some exams, get a degree, get an internship, get a 4.0, etc.
__________________
DTNF's Basic Philosophy Regarding Posting: There's no emoticon for what I'm feeling! -- Jeff Albertson (CBG)
DTNF's Trademarked Standard Career Advice: "pass some exams and get back to us."
DTNF's Major advice: "Doesn't matter. Choose major that helps you with goal of Career Advice."
DTNF's Résumé Advice: Have a good and interesting answer to every item on it for the interviews.
DTNF's Law of Job Offers: You not only have to qualify for the position, but you also have to be the best candidate available for the offer.
DTNF's Work Philosophy: I am actuary. Please insert data. -- Actuary Actuarying Rodriguez.
Twitches' Advice to Crazy Women: Please just go buy your 30 cats already.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 01-07-2014, 05:54 PM
lllj's Avatar
lllj lllj is offline
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Studying for Exam 8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr T Non-Fan View Post
Your foreign language abilities are a good sign of intelligence (imo). If some company doesn't want you because of that (and don't think HR is helpful in any way to any of us -- make sure an actuary sees your résumé!), well, they weren't going to like you once they met you, either.
Just to counter this - I don't love languages on resumes. It's not that I care if you speak multiple languages. That's great. But it's completely irrelevant to most positions. It also usually makes it clear that English isn't your first language, which isn't something you want to advertise.

Just my opinion.
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