Six tips to move your insurance career up a gear

By Edward Vukovic - Digital Communications Manager - The Institute | 16 Sep 2014
youngprofessional

Whether you’re new to the insurance industry or have been in the game a while, taking your career to the next level can be a challenge.  With countless professionals who’ve taken travelled the same path you’re on there are bound to be some tips on what you can do to get where you want to go.

Here are six tips you can use to move your career up a gear.

1 Look for more work

Don’t be a shrinking violet, if you’ve finished a task or project and things are a little quiet, ask for work. Talk to your colleagues and find out what they’re doing and how you can help them or do some research on your competitors or a new product or process that will help deliver further insights or improve the business. Employees who are hungry and prepared to roll up their sleeves are the ones who will be noticed.

While you’re at it, ensure your manager is aware of your work and make sure it’s up to your usual high standard. There’s little point in asking for more to do and then producing sub-standard work.

Tip: when you are briefed on a project or task, make sure you write it down – a couple of tasks later and a few days down the track most of us forget a lot of what was said.

2 There are no stupid questions

Unfortunately, most inexperienced employees are too afraid to ask questions, especially simple ones, in case they look inadequate. Don’t be one of these people. Always, ALWAYS, ask questions. If you’re given a project brief make sure you fully understand it, including the finer details like formatting. When do they need it? How long should it be? Who do they recommend you speak to about it? What’s the context; this is important as it may influence your approach.

Ask to go to meetings and seminars. These are often the best ways to learn about your craft and industry. If your business is hosting a seminar or a guest speaker at a client function, ask if you can attend. Be a sponge, soak everything up.

3 Become an expert in something

While it’s handy to have a fundamental understanding of a range of topics, there is a lot to be said about specialising in something. Wherever you can, you should attempt to find an area in your role about which you are passionate, something you would like to specialise or become an expert in. It could be something complex like liability claims or something as simple as mastering the dreaded spreadsheet.

It will take some time but gradually you’ll find that people both internally and externally will start coming to you for advice in your chosen field. As large as the insurance industry is, it’s also a very connected one. Over time, news of your expertise will spread and you will become more sought after for your opinion, and will be more valuable to your organisation. Being known as a thought leader in your field is a sizeable feather in your cap.

4 Report, rinse, repeat

It’s often reported (see what I did there) by managers that one of the biggest mistakes people new to the industry make is not reporting up the line once they’ve been given a project. Generally, people receive their brief and then get stuck in; producing what they think is a wonderful piece of work without actually checking with their manager to see if they’re on the right track. Save yourself a lot of time and effort by reporting up the line as you go e.g.

A simple: “This is what I’ve done so far, am I on the right track?” can save you a lot of stress and work in the long run.

5 Be valuable

Of course you’re already valued by your organisation, but then, everybody is. And that’s the rub. You need to stand out from the rest by being more valuable. Don’t be content with just getting your work done or finishing a project. Find ways you can add more value. Take the time to explore and analyse your project or work processes, so you can find a different and better way to do things. It’s called being innovative.

Once you’ve spent a little time poking around, report to your manager and share your findings before you really delve in. You may find out that someone has already proposed something similar in the past. If so, don’t be discouraged. Showing some imitative and drive to improve things will stick in the minds of those who can help propel your career.

6 Be a watcher on the wall

In George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, the watchers on the wall act as guardians, forever watching for an unseen force that will change their lives irrevocably. Sure, what you’re doing isn’t as glorious as that, but keeping an eye out for trends that may impact your organisation or clients is just as valuable.

Keeping abreast of what could be happening in your or your client’s world will help mitigate any unseen hazards as well as open your eyes to other opportunities.

You can do this by keeping an eye on industry news through publications or resources such as the Members’ Centre or by going to industry events, such as the upcoming Generation I – Leaders of the Pack luncheons, where you can learn first-hand from experts in their field.

 

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