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Old 05-07-2019, 09:54 PM
mkim70 mkim70 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2015
College: Postgraduate
Posts: 6
Default Resume and Cover Letter Critique

Hey guys,

Just a heads up, I have no actuarial experience and have 3 exams. I took an extensive break between my second and third exam for personal reasons but now I am actively looking for an entry level position. How can I fix my resume and cover letter to at least make it through the first round? It is pretty difficult as I have no experience and I am located in NY. Any advice would be appreciated!
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:46 AM
jwitt25 jwitt25 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2015
College: University of Wisconsin
Posts: 119

Originally Posted by mkim70 View Post
Hey guys,

Just a heads up, I have no actuarial experience and have 3 exams. I took an extensive break between my second and third exam for personal reasons but now I am actively looking for an entry level position. How can I fix my resume and cover letter to at least make it through the first round? It is pretty difficult as I have no experience and I am located in NY. Any advice would be appreciated!
Here are my opinions on the resume:
  • It is very dense and lacks white space. It is obvious that you played with the margins to fit everything onto 1 page.
  • It is common practice to tell the next exam that you are sitting for or what you are currently doing to achieve a designation.
  • Best to combine Exams & VEE for space.
  • Many of your work experiences are very wordy and could be considered run-on sentences.
  • Are you actually a teacher in NY? Are you licensed to teach? It seems like the job being described is a tutor.
  • There is no need to try to oversell college jobs (desk assistant, teacher's assistant).
  • Intern experience would be interesting in an interview, but it's tough to see how it directly applies to EL actuarial work. Expanding on the voter data analysis or re-wording that bullet may be helpful. Did you learn Excel or computer skills?
  • Your intern experience is very wordy and contains many awkward sentences.
  • Activities and Leadership section takes up a lot of space for being 4 years old.
  • Make computer skills more prominent.

Cover Letter opinions:
  • Most of the context is fluff. In general, cover letters will not be read by hiring managers unless there is something really interesting.
  • Do not call out the fact that you have no relevant experience. It is better to show how your experience can help a company.
  • The majority of your cover letter is repeating things found on your resume. IMO, the cover letter should serve 2 purposes: (1)tell about your personality to help determine if you are a cultural fit and (2) explain gaps/holes in your resume.
  • Your cover letter notes data analysis, but that topic is not stated on your resume. In most situations, only a resume is passed to hiring managers. If you make it through the pile, there is no indication that you have data analysis experience.

Overall, the resume needs improvement. It seems like 80% of your resume happened 4+ years ago. What examples can you show that demonstrate data analysis capabilities to a company? What relevant experiences do you have that can help EL work? Career changers are common, but you'll need to have a better explanation for why you chose not to pursue an actuarial career when you had an actuarial degree. I don't know much about the NY market, but you will likely need to network and any open positions that you see. If you are serious about pursuing an actuarial career, look at companies with underwriting departments or some type of data analysis roles to gain relevant office experience. Network with the actuarial department to make for an easy transition when a spot opens up.

Last edited by jwitt25; 05-08-2019 at 01:03 PM..
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Old 05-08-2019, 04:20 PM
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vjvj vjvj is offline
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Location: IL
Studying for MFE
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In addition to what jwitt25 said...

I'd avoid italics. It's harder to read.

I'd indent all text under the section headings a little. That makes the overall format stand out even more and generally makes the resume look more open.

I'd leave only dates on the right margin. I'd abbreviate months everywhere. It's a little easier to read and makes it just a little less dense, plus makes things line up a little better.

I might try to put the degrees on separate lines to make that stand out more. You don't need "cumulative". You've got extraneous punctuation after the university.

I'd put the exam section above education. I'd leave off the exam topic. I'd make Passed/Sitting a left aligned column fairly near the exam name. Personally, I think doing something similar with exam date makes it easier to scan the section, but some disagree and like it on the right margin. I'd simplify to "Met requirements for VEE Applied Statistics and Economics" and omit the date. And, as jwitt said, tack it onto the end of the exam section instead of separating it. If you're hurting for space, it can be cut.

If you've got space, I'd try to leave a little between jobs and activities. It doesn't have to be a full line.

The locations can go right after the employer, separated by a comma.

Yeah, I'd not list bullets for circulation desk and TA. Yeah, teacher sounds like tutor, but I'm guessing the Center might make that clear and if that's the official job title, I'd not worry about it. Any time you use "effectively" in a bullet, that's an indicator that you think it is weak and are trying to hype it. It will be way more effective, imo, if you just use "Taught ....(stuff) ... to ....". That's generally all you really need unless you really did something notable, which doesn't seem to be the case.

For intern, I'd make the point the result - "Increased Korean voter activity by 10% through registration and education" or something like that.

2nd intern bullet is confusing. It's not clear why those two politicians are specifically mentioned. "Supporters" isn't exactly clear - supporters of those politicians or of CEG or what? I'm guessing you don't need to mention that. What was the point of the data collection? Was it a League of Women Voters kind of thing (general collection of data for informational purposes) or for determining who to support? I'm not saying you need to say all this stuff, just that the bullet is not at all clear to me.

"Coordinated" is a lame start to a bullet.

I'd be less detailed in the SA. Led meetings seems obvious and unnecessary. I'd not mention frequency in a bullet. Pick the important stuff - increased membership by 40%. And make that the start of the bullet, not "institutited". "Collaborated" is a lame start to a bullet. But being in charge of the 10K budget is good.

Don't pad the director bullet. Keep it simple. Team captain of a hip hop modern dance team is sufficient. The rest just makes it dense and less likely to get read.

Interests are OK, but I'd not put them under skills. Language is OK, but, if you're applying in the US I'd think it would only be worth mentioning if you think Korean skills would benefit you in the job. I'd list English first if you're applying in an predominately English speaking country. If you move or remove interests and language, I'd call the section Computer Skills and not subtitle it. I'd probably leave off Word and PP. I'd at the very least move them to the end.

If you need space, honors might be something to get rid of. And interests.

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Old 05-08-2019, 04:27 PM
nonlnear nonlnear is offline
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You use too many words. Often to describe very simple things. This shows contempt for your reader's intelligence, and disrespect for their valuable time. Also, the superfluous words make the text boring and tedious.

Assisted hundreds of (superfluous. Appears intended to quantify, but doesn't actually add any value) patrons with several (superfluous. same as previous comment) reference and directional questions by referring them to the appropriate
sources and locations
(obvious - assuming you were actually competent in helping them) as well as offering research techniques through the Binghamton library catalog (not sure what this means, so delete as written. If you can rewrite to be more meaningful to the reader it might be worth salvaging - or not)
Stepping back form this bullet, is there anything you really feel you need to describe to a reasonably intelligent reader that they wouldn't already know from the job title (Circulation Desk Assistant)? Don't puke words onto the page to describe tasks simply because that's what is done on resumes. That is what is only what is done on bad to mediocre resumes.

Every single word needs to have a purpose.

Last edited by nonlnear; 05-08-2019 at 04:43 PM..
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:17 AM
mkim70 mkim70 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2015
College: Postgraduate
Posts: 6

Thank you for all your comments guys! I am fixing my resume and hopefully will have the updated version uploaded shortly. If you guys have time to look it over once for me that would be awesome. Thanks again!
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