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  #1  
Old 06-19-2006, 09:14 AM
Jerry Cornelius Jerry Cornelius is offline
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Default How to Plan For a Dream Job Move Years in The Future ?

I am already in the $100k-$200k range and like my current job a lot, but will probably want to move up in life in the next 2-5 years. My fear is that from my experience even well known actuaries often make a move that is dictated by the whim of the market. That is to say that they just take whatever the recuiters have available at the time; usually a time not of their own control due to a downsize or something like that.

I am wondering how I can plan my next job move, so that I, rather than blind fate, control it. Could I arrange my own dream job ? Could I jump to $500k+ in a job I love in the location I love ? Sort of like a good Bermuda style job in the sunbelt of the USA....

It seems like such a thing can rarely ever be arranged by recruiters. I have asked them how to prepare and they all seem to say that you are at the mercy of the market at the time.

So it seems like developing business connections is the only way. I probably need to develop better connections than my current job allows for. Of course, I don't want to jeopardize my current job.

Any ideas ?
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:42 AM
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Westley Westley is offline
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I think you first need to understand what that dream job is. Since I don't know your field, practice, anything, I can't say anything about that, but let's pretend that you are a product manager-type for a large insurer, managing many aspects of a particular line of business for a region or something. Maybe your dream job is to be chief actuary for a smaller company (because you feel you're not ready to move to a chief actuary at a larger company) - not a small company, just smaller. And, maybe you know what areas you have expertise at, what area (geography) you want to be in, what type of company culture you want to be in, etc. Once you understand what you want, I would recommend talking to a recruiter immediately, and just tell him/her: I'm open to possibilities, I'm looking at a pretty specific type of position, and I'm willing to stick around here for quite a while until something that fits my needs comes along - a good recruiter will then restrict the positions s/he discusses with you to positions that meet your needs.

In general, people stick around until they need to leave - layoff, hate their boss, dead-end position, frustration reaches the breaking point, etc. I think that's a mistake. People should start looking around earlier, when there's no pressure/urgency to leave, not get to a point where they have to leave asap because they now hate their job, or don't have one.

Unless you can create the type of position you want (i.e., start a consulting shop and have sales ready to go), the more advanced your skill set is, the more specialized it usually is. That is, you can probably do tons of stuff, but you are only worth the high salary in certain areas where you have special skills/knowledge. So, the higher you go, the FEWER positions you will often get considered for. And, few companies are going to hire people on an opportunity basis at a senior level (i.e., "We have a chief actuary, but you're so good, we'd like to make you 'assistant chief actuary'"), except as part of some succession planning.

So, I guess my advice amounts to: know what you want, and be ready to go when it comes along, because once you know what you want, the only way to expand the number of positions you are considered for is to expand the time dimension of your job search.

Additional advice that I often throw out: you should be talking to recruiters on a regular basis, even when you have no interest in a job. I have dinner or at least a long phone conversation with my favorite recruiter at least every year - check in, discuss where I'm going, what's happening in the field, etc - he learns something, as do I. If I were you, I would ask the question above of my recruiter before asking on the AO. If you don't feel you can discuss this with your recruiter, I submit that you should be looking for a better recruiter, or attempt to develop a better relationship with your current recruiter.
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  #3  
Old 06-19-2006, 10:49 AM
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SirVLCIV SirVLCIV is offline
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Good post #10001!
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Old 06-21-2006, 04:32 PM
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HangerAngler HangerAngler is offline
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Network a lot, especially with non-actuarial types from other companies in the kind of companies/locations that fit your 'dream job.' Then when they are considering creating a function or business unit that matches what your dream job is, you will be in their mind. "Hey, Mr. Other Exec, we can finally expand into that region, as I've finally met the perfect guy to steer the ship there."
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Old 06-21-2006, 06:32 PM
Emily Emily is offline
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Tell the recruiter to check the other file. You know, the one with the $500K a year jobs.
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Old 06-22-2006, 08:56 AM
ckim ckim is offline
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How thin/thick would that file be?
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:14 AM
Jerry Cornelius Jerry Cornelius is offline
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Emily, I think you are touching on a key aspect of this issue. Jobs below $100k are often publicly advertised and well known. Jobs between $100k and $300k (or maybe $500k) are handled mostly by the recruiters whom most of us are familiar with and it is easy to find out about these jobs by just calling a recruiter. Above $300k-$500k it starts to become a whole different game, hidden from most of us. I would even question whether the standard actuarial recruiters have ever made a placement above $500k.

I think it would not be too hard to do some research and find out a lot about the "salary level" dream job market in Bermuda. Bermuda seems to be small, friendly, have lots of merit based opportunities, and they just love any talented actuary willing to move there and handle the social isolation - at least that's my impression. In fact as people above have pointed out dream jobs may often be less "listed positions" in character and more "business opportunities" that people create through contacts and networking. I think the hard thing is to find out about the dream job market in the USA, UK, etc.
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Old 06-22-2006, 02:43 PM
Emily Emily is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Cornelius
Emily, I think you are touching on a key aspect of this issue.
I was just referring to a scene from Lost in America.
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Old 06-22-2006, 02:51 PM
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Westley Westley is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Cornelius
I would even question whether the standard actuarial recruiters have ever made a placement above $500k.
I know for a fact that is not true, as I am aware of a small number of such placements made by actuarial recruiters whose names many people would recognize. However, your general point is probably correct.

I would characterize it as:

Standard actuarial positions are placed by standard actuarial recruiters. There are not many standard actuarial positions that are $500k+
Senior positions are filled in a number of ways, and standard actuarial recruiters are far from the whole market: actuarial recruiters, executive recruiters, and probably the most important source: networking. When you get into that salary bracket, the number of people is much smaller, and most people know the others, by reputation at least. At that point, they can ask around and that's often how it works. So, that networking aspect mentioned above does becaome very important - much more so than at your current level. However, recruiters still play their part, and it's significant.
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  #10  
Old 06-22-2006, 11:30 PM
DW Simpson DW Simpson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Cornelius
I would even question whether the standard actuarial recruiters have ever made a placement above $500k.
Yes.
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