The Black Hole
Great Insurance Jobs' Roger Lear helps you overcome obstacles to your career and job search.
By Roger Lear
Q:“I’ve noticed that even when I have the exact claims experience needed for an open position, I never hear back from the employer. What can I do to get an interview?”
A: You are talking about the infamous “black hole.” You see a job posting that seems like a great fit, spend a long time perfecting your application, and, if you are lucky, you will get an automatic response back confirming that the employer received your information. Many times, this is where it ends. Believe me when I tell you that insurance company claims managers want to fill their jobs with people like you. The first step is to understand how each company’s recruiting process works so they (and their computers) see you as a viable candidate. The top two reasons why you might end up in the black hole can be fixed by the job seeker, but sometimes the employer needs a nudge, as well.
The application process. You find a listing on a job board, hit the apply button, and you’re redirected to the hiring company’s applicant tracking system (ATS) that requires you to create an account and jump through some hoops (this is typical at any insurance company with more than 200 employees). The big mistake that you make is the resume you submit doesn’t closely match the “skill” keywords from the job posting. The ATS (aka “evil robot”) will not grade you high, and your low score will prevent you from moving to the human part of the recruiting process. In other words, your resume title should be very close to the job title (“Claims Subrogation Specialist”) and your resume keywords (competencies) should almost mirror the keywords in the employer’s job description. For instance, a homeowners’ claims professional who applies for an auto property damage position likely will never hear back from the employer since the keywords don’t match. Doesn’t mean you can’t do the job, but it is the reason you don’t get an interview.
You are not qualified for the job (but maybe you are). Our survey of insurance employers revealed that insurers say most of the resumes they receive don’t fit the job description, and therefore, they aren’t considered. Keywords are important, but so is relevant experience. Many claims professionals like yourself handle several different lines of claims throughout your career. If you currently do E&O claims but also have previous experience as a subrogation specialist, how do you apply to a subrogation job listing and get noticed? If you are a current claims supervisor but would prefer to be handling property claims directly, how do you communicate that to an employer in the application process? The answer is simple: Make your resume position a dual title, such as “E&O Claims Specialist/Subrogation Claims.” Your core competencies will be the keywords for the job that you are applying to, and your short cover letter should let the employer know of your intentions. You have two goals. Get through the evil robots in the ATS so a human will look at you, and have a resume that is extremely clear on what you do so anyone reading it will know in three seconds what type of claims person you are.
Finally, employers make it hard for you, as well. They post very vague job descriptions that give just enough information to apply but leave out elements that are automatic “knockouts” no matter how well your resume is written. I am talking about salary range, location, and years of experience. You have to apply but may be eliminated not for your experience but for the fact that you make too much money. You just will never know, and unfortunately, that’s life in the black hole.