Moving into the interim actuarial world can be both exciting and lucrative, with greater job flexibility and more varied work being just a couple of the benefits. But if you’re a current permanent employee and have considered the interim path, what’s the best way to get started as an interim actuary?
In a recent article I shared the risks and benefits of being an interim actuarial contractor which sparked a number of conversations from both interim and permanent actuaries. I got asked by a number of individuals what tips I would give for getting started with interim contracting as an actuarial so alongside my own thoughts I reached out to a some current interim actuaries to get their top tips as well.
1. Create A Killer CV
The CV is still a critical selling tool so make sure yours is well written and kept updated. If you haven’t seen it already, I suggest that you follow the tips and techniques that my colleague Andrew MacAskill outlined in his Executive CV formatting video. There’s also a downloadable template you can use to re-format your CV which has proven popular.
On the subject of CVs, one of the contractors I spoke to recommended that you “avoid uploading a CV to LinkedIn or Job Sites” and instead “use a recommended recruiter or apply to roles directly”. Although it might seem practical to upload your CV on to job sites, the danger is you will be bombarded by recruiters who have little interest in finding you a role and more interested in leveraging your network to find opportunities. One of the contractors I spoke to found himself hounded by recruiters, most of which he’d never heard of or spoken to. Instead it’s better to build relationships with niche specific recruiters who have an existing network within your space and are able to make introductions or put you forward for relevant roles.
2. Market Yourself Effectively
If you make the switch to contracting your personal brand becomes much more important. Do what you can to raise your profile within your space by writing articles, speaking at events or even recording short videos talking about relevant industry subjects and your perspective on them. One of my colleagues Ben Walton regularly does this with candidates in the digital side of Financial Services, raising his own profile, demonstrating the strength of his network, as well as showcasing his candidates knowledge and insights.
Create a basic CRM to keep on top of the people you have networked with and contacted. Lots of contractors I know use their LinkedIn effectively by creating a compelling profile about themselves and then connecting to and introducing themselves to the types of people who would be likely to hire someone with that skill set. We’ve previously published a post on using LinkedIn and content to go to market as an interim manager and develop your own opportunities which is also worth reading.
3. Be Flexible On Your Day Rate
One of the simplest mistakes that contractors make is sticking to a day rate because it is an amount they have billed in the past. To put it simply, your day rate is determined by the market at that time, not because you have previously worked for that amount. Refusing to be flexible on day rate and turning roles away because “you know your worth” will lead to missed opportunities and long stints sat on the bench. When deciding whether you should entertain a role at a certain day rate, build into your calculation how much each day out of work is costing you. Most interim managers earn nothing while between roles, so a £100 reduction to your day rate may commercially be a better deal rather than sitting on the sidelines waiting for the right job at the right price to come along. As an interim you run a ltd business – make sure you think like a business!
4. Keep On Top of Your Paperwork
Contracting offers lots of benefits, some of which I discussed in my previous article, but it also requires a commitment to keep on top of the necessary paperwork and legislation required to run a limited company. Speak to an accountant in advance, use templates to record your expenses, sales and outgoings, and try not to leave everything to the last minute!
Working as an interim actuarial can offer plenty of benefits to your work/life balance and allow you to work across a wider range of projects and business than a purely permanent career would allow.
If you are thinking of hiring for an interim or permanent position then download my hiring checklist for Financial Services and Insurance – it’s a comprehensive end to end process for making sure your recruitment process runs smoothly and gets you the right person.