With constant talks of mergers and acquisitions, consolidations and downsizing, it’s imperative to stand out from your peers to ensure career stability and advancement opportunities within your company.
Here are our top tips for differentiating yourself from other Actuaries to help you secure that much deserved promotion:
1. Soft Skills
You’ve got strong intellectual, mathematical and problem-solving skills but have you got the communication skills to match? Perhaps the most important of our 5 tips, it’s essential to be effective in this area especially now that there is constant pressure to be more relevant to clients, employers and employees.
The capacity to think commercially and communicate clearly should not be underestimated; your ability to engage and influence with the business as a whole and stakeholders is now paramount in your success as an Actuary. The good news is that soft skills can be developed (just like technical skills!) but it will require focus, commitment and most importantly, patience.
Why are soft skills so important? Well, the role of the actuary has drastically altered in the last 20 years. The ability to communicate concisely with clients and colleagues is essential in differentiating yourself from other actuaries. Proficient leadership skills, social skills and communication skills are a necessity in the business world, where, if you’re a consulting actuary for example, you’re having to communicate extremely complex and difficult information to people who have no training in actuarial concepts.
Mastering the art of communication is essential from improving conversational skills through to presentation skills; why not attend various networking events with other Actuaries to help in developing your soft skills in a professional yet informal environment? Employers are actually now placing greater emphasis on developing soft skills, with some firms even investing in specialist writing training programmes for their actuarial staff.
Clare Nash, Client Relationship Director at Oliver James Associates, commented, “There’s no denying that the client will ultimately be interested in the financial implications of your findings. However, you need to ensure you’re communicating the ideas behind the implications. Getting this wrong could potentially lose valuable business or weaken existing client relationships. To improve your communication skills, actively engage with clients and colleagues in meetings and don’t just wait to be asked questions, voice your opinion and ultimately show assertiveness”.
2. Taking Initiative
Take the initiative to seek our responsibility above and beyond your job description to better your company and colleagues. Whilst you will obviously seek individual reward and recognition, taking the initiative to implement a practice that benefits other Actuaries will increase your value within the company and get you noticed.
Don’t underestimate the power of self-management in achieving that promotion. Understanding yourself, identifying your strengths and adopting a multi-dimensional perspective on your role are all factors that will contribute to improving your position over time. Think outside of the box, adopt a creative approach and above all, be self-motivated.
Leadership skills coupled with effective communication skills that are backed up by technical ability will deliver actionable insight for the business. Go beyond identifying and measuring the problem; taking the brilliance of your spreadsheet and sharing this articulately with a wider audience will help you stand out from the actuarial crowd!
It’s incredibly important to build your networks, share knowledge within this technical industry and learn from others. People you meet and build key relationships with may be able to assist you with critical business projects and therefore, increase your pool of knowledge and value to the company.
Effectiveness and efficiency can be improved for the better when you call upon your established network of industry peers. Identify sought-after experts and senior Actuaries in other firms and work on building a strong, professional network of peers to call upon for tough tasks. It’s never been a better time for you to accept all those invitations for ‘networking drinks’!
If you’re looking to advance your actuarial career or simply seek advice on how to improve your skill set, get in touch with Richard Howard – on 0207 649 9356 or email Richard.Howard@ojassociates.com to arrange a confidential and informal chat.