Earning a Rewarding Underwriter Insurance Job � Choosing the Right Content for your Resume

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The insurance underwriter is the decision maker on whether a potential client is insured as well as at what rate the fees should be set for the policy. The main goals for the underwriter are to maximize profit for the company and minimize loss. With that in mind, selecting the skills, career highlights and positions in a resume become critical. The first step of the job screening process is to ensure the resume reader sees your skills come out in a logical and easy to understand format.

Choose the Type of Resume to Use
The type of resume you eventually choose is a matter of personal taste, as well as a reflection of the best way to showcase your background. There are three main types of resumes to consider: chronological, functional and combination.

Using a Chronological Resume
This is the most popular type of resume. It lists your working experience in order with the most recent position first. Many employers prefer to see a chronological listing of positions to determine if you have any employment gaps that may raise concerns. The chronological resume lists select skills, projects and achievements in each position. This type of resume is an excellent choice for a candidate who has a solid work history.

Using a Functional Resume
The functional resume works to highlight the skills and abilities you have developed over time. This type of resume is helpful for a resume screener to see if you possess the technical skills that a position requires. The major drawback to a purely functional resume is the lack of chronological listings of positions and the roles that you filled while working them

The Hybrid or Combination Resume
This type of resume lists the professional background of select skills on the top, similar to a functional resume, while giving a chronological listing of positions and time within the position. Most candidates will also include educational achievements, as well as any licensures, certifications and important organizational affiliations on the bottom of the hybrid resume.

Resume Length
The old rule of a one-page resume has been debated and now dismissed by many employers. Because most resumes are electronically transmitted, either through e-mail or through downloading onto an employer’s website, the two-page length is no longer detrimental to the job seeker. Many hiring managers would prefer to see the skills, projects, education and certifications that the applicant possesses rather than worry about having the resume fit on one page.

Education and Certification Requirements
Now that you have selected the type of resume to use, it is important to focus on the educational skills as well as any certification requirements that hiring managers for insurance underwriters seek, and then stress these skills in your resume.

For entry level positions in underwriting, most insurance agencies seek applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree in finance, business administration or accounting. Some underwriters with degrees in other fields as well as coursework in business law and accounting may qualify. In the resume under education, stress the additional business classes, if your degree is in a non-business field. Help the screener see the link.

Entry-level positions generally do not have additional certification requirements. However, if you are applying for a position and have little or no experience in underwriting, attending training programs offered by the Insurance Institute of America may help. They also offer the Associate in Commercial Underwriting (ACU). By taking the extra step in learning about the field, you may set yourself apart from other applicants

Job Responsibilities – Show You Know the Job
Showing an aptitude for using computer programs as well as learning new software applications is a plus. Systems in the insurance industry are always being updated, requiring continuous learning.

To determine if insurance is provided and under what terms, the underwriter must be able to accurately assess the risk of loss from policy holders, set the appropriate premium, as well as balance risk with price to competitively price policies. The underwriter is constantly balancing between the conservative approaches of saving the company money with the more liberal approach of pricing policies that are attractive to customers.

The underwriter also must be comfortable sifting through large quantities of data, including insurance applications and supplemental reports from loss-control representatives, medical reports, data vendor reports, and actuarial studies. The underwriter is the main link between the insurance agent and the insurance carrier.

In order to quickly sift through large amounts of data for a variety of policies, insurance companies provide underwriters with advanced databases to allow them to effectively and efficiently manage and value risks more accurately. The smart systems approach gives an initial assessment of the client to the underwriter indicating if the client should be insured. If the answer is yes, then an initial premium is also suggested. The underwriter then looks at any other factors that the system may not have taken into consideration before processing the application.

Skills to Highlight

Highlighting attention to detail, as well as a solid understanding of measuring risk will be important aspects to stress in your positions on your resume. The resume screener will be looking for general business and finance acumen, as well as an understanding of risk and the assessment of risk, while balancing the needs to sell policies at a reasonable rate.

Showing that you have experience gathering and assessing background information, or calculating the price of risk is very helpful. Also, skills in using and interpreting financial models are excellent skills to highlight.

Communication skills with a broad group of people is also an excellent area to highlight, as underwriters work with insurance sales agents, brokers, specialists, surveyors or doctors to assess risks.

Because most information that is used by underwriters is considered highly confidential, especially financial, license data and medical information, showing experience and an understanding of appropriately handling confidential data is also important.


The resume is the first advertisement of your skills that the insurance company will see. Because the number of insurance underwriters is growing slower than other positions in the economy, it is important to highlight skills that will make your resume stand out from the crowd. Targeting your resume to demonstrate the skills required for typical work activities for an underwriter is definitely a step in the right direction.
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