Where do you see yourself in five years? How do you plan to achieve your goals? Simple questions don’t always have simple answers. If we’ve learned nothing else in the last year, it’s that life doesn’t always go the way we expect it to. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a plan. If you want to succeed in the insurance industry, it’s vital to consider how you want your career to progress and to take the time to make that progression happen. It’s important to give jobs a fair chance. Employers invest a great deal in new employees, especially in the first year, and leaving a job after only a year is harmful, not only to your own career growth but also to the employers that have invested time and resources in your training for the job. Your second year on the job is your chance to prove yourself. To show your worth as an employee and apply what you learned in your first year at the company. But, the third year is key. It’s your time to shine. Your time is a valuable asset to the company and the employers who invested in you. There is a delicate balance here, however. Staying in a position for too long can start to hinder your career growth, signaling to employers that you’re content where you are and that you’re not challenging yourself. Three years shows dedication and makes you look like a valuable employee; five+ years in the same role can seem as though you’ve plateaued. Keep in mind that this general rule does not apply if your career path is growing within the same company. If you start as a claims adjuster, get promoted to a senior claims adjuster, and then become a claims specialist, this shows good growth and lets employers know that you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone and take on new responsibilities. Another key element to consider is the fine line between becoming a specialist in a particular area or a jack of all trades, master of none. Bigger companies will often assign their employees to a specific field within insurance, which can be particularly advantageous for the employees’ career development. Becoming a subject matter expert in a highly complex specialty such as cyber insurance or construction defect insurance can increase your value as an employee, which brings with it both more money and more recognition. A popular career choice for the insurance industry is risk management, despite the fact that openings for risk management positions tend to be few and far between. If risk management is something you’re considering and you are presented with an opportunity to get yourself on the risk analysis track, take it. If down the line, you decide it’s not right for you, you can always start fresh in another specialty. Another thing to consider is that bigger companies do not always mean better. Smaller regional carriers may not have the resources to facilitate becoming a specialist in a certain area, but they can provide employees with a more well-rounded experience that is equally beneficial to their career growth. Whichever route you decide to take, keep in mind the delicate balance and true dedication required to achieve your career goals and grow within the insurance industry.
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