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Common Graduate Questions
The most commonly asked questions by graduates are listed below:
When to apply?
You should start applying directly for graduate positions either in response to the university visits/adverts from hiring companies or otherwise from late December through to May of your graduation year.
How to prepare a CV?
Acumen Resources provide full CV Preparation guidelines for registered candidates (Extract Below)
Your CV is a marketing document and should be carefully designed with the aim of helping you get an interview. It should be tailored to your unique skills and experiences.
You CV should include the following:
Education / Academic
Placement/summer work experience
Skills - PC, technical, interpersonal
Hobbies / Interests
In general your CV should show:
Detailed explanation of any university placement (if applicable)
A degree of progression - an increasing level of experience or responsibility and/or the gaining of a wider skill-set
A variety of skills used
At least one main achievement - more if relevant.
How do I prepare for an interview?
Acumen Resources provide full Interview Preparation guidelines for registered candidates attending interviews (Extract Below). We also provide a mock interview service taking candidates through commonly asked questions.
Acumen Resources suggest the following format for your Interview Preparation:
A. Gather information on company and the role
B. Prepare your key message
C. Identify key questions
D. Prepare answers
E. Prepare your own questions for the interviewers
F. Practise ALOUD
What to look for in a prospective employer?
We recommend you chose an employer where you will work closely with a qualified actuary. You should ask about the ratio of students to qualified actuaries and the size of actuarial team in general. Other students will provide a support network for you over the exam session and will give you useful advice on using study leave and study techniques. Most companies provide a comprehensive study package which will cover all your study materials and time off work to prepare for the exams.
Direct writer vs. consultancy?
Whether you would prefer to work in a consultancy or a direct writer is very much a personal decision. The main difference between consultancy work and working for a direct writer is the variety of work involved. By working in a consultancy you will get involved in different projects with many different clients. If you work in a direct writer you will usually work in a team on one actuarial function e.g. pricing or financial reporting. There will usually be little overlap between the 2 functions. However many employers operate a rotation scheme where approximately every year you will get rotated around different actuarial teams - this is important to ensure you gain a wide range of skills on the road to qualification.
Which Practice area?
Many graduates take the first job offered to them after college but there is a big difference between roles across the different practice areas. Below are sample graduate job specifications for the main practice areas:
Graduate Non Life
Graduate Health & Care
Considering a role in Risk Management?
This is a relatively new area for actuaries to get involved in. We recommend considering the ST9 exam or CERA qualification as good preparation for a role in Risk Management. Further details on this exam and qualification can be found at: