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When you have deadlines, society responsibilities and possibly a part time job, it can be really hard to focus your job search. However, with these 6 tips to focus your graduate job search, you should be able to focus on your future and get exactly what you want out of your job search.

1. Give yourself time to decide

Take the time to really think about what you want from your future. The chances are, if you have picked up this guide, then you really want a career in the actuarial profession. However, there are several different areas in the industry that you could work in. For example, pensions, consultancy, banking and risk management, to name but a few.

Take some time to read as much as you can about the different areas of work and what might fit you best. Think about what sort of company you would like to work for, whether you want to work for a large company or a smaller one, whether you want to work in London or a regional office.

2. Swot up on the industry

If you find yourself with a bit of free time this year, perhaps over the Christmas period, now is the time to go above and beyond your job search.

Make sure that you understand all of the industry terminology you may come across in interviews. Test yourself with our online glossary which gives you all the actuarial terms that you need to know before going into an interview. The Hot Topics section of our careers advice page is also a great way of knowing about key issues affecting the industry today.

Showing commercial awareness in your interview is a great way to impress recruiters, and you can do that by keeping up to date with the latest industry news. Consider also subscribing to publications such as Financial Times or The Economist to to ensure you keep the bigger picture in mind and keep up to date with the wider finance industry and also any world events that may impact the sector. Remember that a lot of institutes offer student discounts on subscriptions and if you are pushed for time, then signing up to any email alerts or simply following them on Twitter are easy ways of keeping up to date.

Having an awareness of how the actuarial and finance industry and world events fit together is a key skill that will impress recruiters during an interview.

3. Network

Do you know what events are taking place near you? Events can be a great way of not only focusing your job search but also getting a head start on the recruitment process and even securing
an interview.

If there are events that you want to attend, go prepared and don’t be shy about asking questions. Talking to representatives at events is the best way to find out what a firm is like to work for and to find out a bit more about their recruitment process and what to expect. This is also a really good time to ask for advice.

Don’t forget that professional relationships can be built at any time – joining societies and getting in touch with university alumni are great ways of making lasting and valuable contacts. And why not start connecting with people on LinkedIn? Or perhaps following a few key players on Twitter?

4. Volunteer

University or college is a great time to volunteer. It helps you gain transferable skills; get experience of the working world and you give something back to the community. When you volunteer, you may find that there are certain aspects of the working world that you aren’t too keen on, which is no bad thing when you are making important decisions, like what you want to do in the future.

Any volunteering is great, but there are a few places you can volunteer that not only help you give back to the community but also are slightly more relevant to a career as an actuary. Maybe look for specific internships in the area of work you want to pursue or even general office work experience to get the skills you would need to work in any sector.

5. Take another look at your CV

You may not realise it, but as the year progresses you will have gained new skills, taken new modules and maybe even have increased responsibilities either at work, within your society or while volunteering. Therefore, the CV you created at the start of the year is no longer up to date.

It is always a good idea to update your CV as soon as you gain a new responsibility or learn a new skill while it is fresh in your mind. Take some time to review your CV and tweak it or update it if necessary. You may find that you become more focused once you know you have an up to date CV ready and waiting to send to employers.

6. Relax

You can’t focus your job search if you are stressed. Take some time to relax and regroup, go out with friends or do something that you enjoy and then come back to your job hunt when you are inspired and refreshed.

Hopefully this has given you some tips on how to focus your graduate job search. Taking your time to do your research, read up on the industry and taking some time to go through your CV and practice some application questions will all help you feel focused and ready to start the application process.



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