Keep a High Profile
A complete and updated social media presence shines a light on your professionalism and can give others career paths to follow.
- Carly Burnham
- February 2019
Seeing the history of our role models online is a great way to learn about what adventures are out there and how we can follow in their footsteps.
One of the challenges of building an insurance career is the opacity of our profession's paths. If you ask a member of the general public what jobs they think of when it comes to insurance, I bet they come up with two: agent and adjuster. The challenge is compounded by the fact that even inside the ecosystem titles mean different things at different companies. When you start out in a call center or an agency, looking for a career path can be intimidating.
Insurance has always been a relationship business, and those of us who have been around a while know that many of our most interesting opportunities have come from the networking we have done. As someone who is naturally an introvert, I remember my early forays into networking and how painful they were. Something I discovered early on was to learn something about a person before I met them for the first time. It was, in theory, good advice. But, often, I was meeting someone from a completely different part of the large company where I worked, and my teammates often did not know the person.
So, I did what any good millennial would do. I turned to social media. I was lucky that this company had an internal platform that usually had at least information about people's roles at the company, and I would, of course, try LinkedIn, too. It will come as no surprise that LinkedIn profiles were often bare-bones or completely nonexistent. I believe this is a great disservice to our industry and to our individual careers. Keeping an up-to-date public profile is one of the easiest ways to build your own brand and make it known that vibrant careers are possible in insurance.
If you have a bare-bones profile or you've neglected to keep it updated since putting it together, I recommend starting by updating the three areas listed below. Taking these first steps will help to make your profile useful for your own career and for modeling a path for newer entrants to the insurance industry.
- Photo: It is always nice to put a face with a name. You will seem more friendly and inviting to people who are curious about you. That being said, I think it's worth keeping this relatively current. I've gone through a few different hairstyles since creating my profile, and if I want anyone to recognize me at an event, I know it's best to check this every few months and make sure it's still a good representation of me.
- Education: Listing your alma mater and any activities you were involved in allows the potential for a personal connection. It also highlights the diversity of backgrounds in our industry. We know that most people do not study insurance, and seeing what our colleagues have studied can begin to inform us of their perspectives and help us to know what knowledge they have that is useful in the role that they're in.
- Roles: When preparing your chronological resume, don't just list your titles and the years you were in each. Give an explanation of what you did in that role. “Business Analyst” can mean anything. Explain what your achievements were, and if you want extra credit, give some idea of your day-to-day responsibilities, too. You wouldn't traditionally share the day-to-day in a resume, but in your social media presence, it can help new entrants to the industry find roles of interest. If they're looking up to you as a role model, understanding your background at this level will help them model after your career path when it makes sense.
We live in an exciting time where career pathing and development opportunities abound. Our industry is still relationship-driven and offers the opportunity to really “Build Your Own Adventure.” Seeing the history of our role models online is a great way to learn about what adventures are out there and how we can follow in their footsteps.
Carly Burnham, CPCU, MBA, has been in the insurance industry since 2004. She blogs at InsNerds.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.