Cracking the Code: Navigating Applicant Tracking Software in Actuarial Job Hunts

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When it comes to a successful actuarial job search, one hurdle can stand in the way of success for even the most experienced professionals: Applicant Tracking Software (ATS). This digital gatekeeper is pivotal in helping hiring managers sift through mountains of resumes, allowing them to identify potential candidates that meet specific criteria. However, understanding how to navigate this impersonal process can be a challenge – but it’s essential to know the ins and outs, as it can mean the difference between landing an interview and being stuck in a stagnant search.  

Understanding Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) and Its Impact on Your Actuarial Job Search

Applicant Tracking Software, or ATS, is a technology used extensively in the hiring process by organizations across various industries. It serves as a tool for hiring managers, automating, and streamlining the initial sorting of resumes. ATS scans these resumes for keywords, qualifications, and experience, allowing it to filter out applicants who do not meet predetermined requirements. 

At the core of ATS functionality lies keywords. The software scans and parses resumes, looking for keywords and phrases matching the job description and requirements. These keywords are the key to unlocking the door to the next stage of the hiring process. By strategically integrating these terms within your resume, you increase your chances of getting past this digital gatekeeper. That’s why it’s crucial to tailor your resume to the job posting itself, giving you a competitive edge in the screening process.  

Can An Actuarial Recruiter Help You Pass the Screening Process?  

“An important part of the service DW Simpson provides to candidates is reviewing resumes, and preparing comprehensive presentations to assure that candidates get through ATS screening and in front of Hiring Managers.” Patty Kennelly, Partner/Recruiter at DW Simpson  

Being faced with the ATS challenge can feel like a losing battle at times, but there is a valuable resource that can help circumvent this impersonal, digital obstacle: actuarial recruiters. Recruiters offer unique assistance by working directly with employers, allowing for a more personalized and efficient job search. 

One of the standout advantages of partnering with actuarial recruiters is their direct access to employers seeking actuarial talent. Recruiters maintain close relationships with numerous companies and hiring managers in the actuarial field. This direct connection gives them insights into job openings that may not be widely advertised and, more importantly, allows them to present your application directly to the hiring decision-makers. 

Actuarial recruiters also take the time to understand your skills, experience, and career goals. This personalized approach ensures that the jobs they recommend align closely with your qualifications and aspirations. Instead of relying on automated keyword matching, which is the primary function of ATS, recruiters match you with opportunities that are genuinely suited to your profile, increasing the chances of finding the perfect fit. 

Finally, when recruiters submit your resume to employers, it often skips the initial ATS screening phase. The hiring managers and HR professionals trust the recruiter’s judgment, which means your application receives more direct consideration. By bypassing the ATS, you avoid the risk of your resume being filtered out based on automated criteria and increase the probability of making it to the interview stage. 

Your Actuarial Resume: Tips for ATS Compatibility 

To successfully maneuver through the ATS, job seekers must ensure their actuarial resumes are well-optimized. 

As noted, a well-optimized resume for ATS should begin by including relevant keywords. Job seekers should carefully review the specific job description they are applying for and naturally incorporate keywords like actuarial skills, certification titles such as FSA or ASA, and industry-specific terminology such as risk analysis and underwriting. 

Formatting also plays an important role. To help ensure you pass screening, applicants should maintain a structured and easy-to-read format. Clear headings and bullet points help the software’s smooth parsing of the resume. Avoid incorporating elements like intricate fonts, tables, or graphics, as these can confuse the ATS. Instead, opt for plain, professional fonts and a straightforward design that ensures clarity and ease of interpretation. 

Strategies for Optimizing Your Application to Pass ATS Screen

When it comes to navigating the challenges posed by Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) in actuarial job hunts, job seekers need to employ strategic approaches to increase their chances of success. Here are several strategies that can make a significant difference in your ATS-optimized job application: 

  • Tailor Your Resume for Each Application:
    As discussed – but cannot be over-stressed is the fact that you should take the time to tailor your resume to the job. One of the primary tactics to improve your odds of passing ATS screening is to adopt a customized approach for each job application. This means thoroughly reading the specific job description for which you are applying and tweaking your resume to align with the job’s requirements. Your resume must incorporate the keywords, skills, and qualifications emphasized in the job posting. A generic resume might not satisfy the unique criteria of various positions, and customization is key to maximizing your chances.
  • Use Standardized Job Titles:
    ATS is programmed to recognize and identify specific job titles. When describing your past positions, using standardized, industry-accepted job titles is advisable. While unique or creative titles might reflect your actual responsibilities more accurately, they may not be recognized by the ATS, potentially causing your resume to be filtered out prematurely. In this context, opting for conventional job titles ensures that your resume will likely pass the initial screening.
  • Incorporate Action Verbs for Descriptions:
    Effective communication of your accomplishments and responsibilities is essential not only for human reviewers but also for ATS. To stand out, using action verbs when describing your professional experiences is crucial. Action verbs help convey a sense of action, achievement, and proactiveness in your roles. For instance, phrases like “managed a team of analysts,” “led complex statistical analyses,” or “implemented data-driven solutions” can grab the attention of ATS and, subsequently, hiring managers. These dynamic descriptions can be the key to progressing to the next stage of the application process.

It can take time and effort to optimize your resume to pass an ATS screen. However, putting that time in is well worth it to be considered for a job that aligns with your career goals.  

Working with Actuarial Recruiters to Find a Great Actuarial Career

Collaborating with actuarial recruiters can be a game-changer in your job search. An experienced industry expert can play a pivotal role in helping you navigate the intricate actuarial job market. Here are some of the advantages they bring to the table: 

  • Access to Insider Information:
    Actuarial recruiters possess insider knowledge about the actuarial job market. They are well-informed about the latest industry trends, job openings that may not be publicly advertised, and the specific qualifications that employers are actively seeking. This insight is invaluable in positioning you as a strong candidate.
  • Access to Unpublished Jobs:
    Recruiters often conduct searches for jobs that are not advertised to the public, giving you access to jobs you would not find on a solo search.
  • Efficiency:
    Actuarial recruiters streamline the process by presenting you with opportunities that closely match your profile. This saves time and increases your chances of finding roles that align with your skills and career aspirations.
  • Personalized Guidance:
    Actuarial recruiters provide personalized guidance throughout the job search process. They take the time to understand your background, career goals, and preferences. This information allows them to recommend positions that are a good match on paper and align with your professional aspirations.
  • Interview Preparation:
    Recruiters offer guidance on interview preparation, helping you understand the types of questions you can expect and providing tips on how to present your qualifications effectively.
  • Professional Representation:
    Your recruiter acts as a bridge between you and prospective employers. They present your qualifications in the best possible light and advocate on your behalf, enhancing your chances of securing interviews and job offers.

 “Our actuarial recruiters and client development staff work diligently to stay informed about all the current actuarial hiring needs in the marketplace. We leverage our 30+ years of relationship building with Hiring Managers to provide market intelligence to our candidates that cannot be found anywhere else.” – Patty Kennelly, Partner/Recruiter at DW Simpson 

Ready To Partner with the Industry’s Top Actuarial Recruiters? 

When it comes to finding your next actuary job, understanding and optimizing for ATS is a crucial step toward success. By carefully tailoring your resume and seeking the support of actuarial recruiters, you can significantly enhance your chances of securing your next position. 

Are you ready to supercharge your actuarial job search? Contact DW Simpson, some of the most experienced actuarial recruiters in the industry. With our expertise and extensive network, we can assist you in navigating the complexities of the actuarial job market and ensure your application shines, setting you on the path to your ideal actuarial role. Browse our current actuarial career openings or send us your resume today.