Switching to a non-actuarial career
August 11, 2014 5:43 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I are in the process of trying to relocate. For the past 3 years, I've been working as an actuary in Canada, but neither of us is happy living in the city we're currently in. For us, ideally we'd be able to find work in either Eastern Canada or Alberta/B.C. (this is partly due to a condition my wife has that would make living in other parts of Canada difficult).

The problem is that I work in an actuarial capacity (I'm near FSA) and there seem to be few actuarial jobs available in those areas and the jobs that I do find seem to prefer candidates with ties to the local area (which neither my wife nor I have). So, I've come to accept that I may need to search for non-actuarial jobs. So my questions are: 1) What kind of jobs are best suited to someone transitioning from an actuarial career and 2) Should I bother mentioning my exam progress or my ASA designation when applying to these jobs? Or would it be better to leave off the resume altogether?

Any other tips in general about how best to achieve this are very appreciated. We've been hunting for jobs for a while without much luck. Thanks.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So first off, applying for long distance jobs is hard. Get a local phone number to where you're applying, leave your address off the application, and give a date that you will be available (e.g. "I am moving to the Alberta area on September 1, 2014"). You don't want to give any indication that you will ask for relocation expenses or anything.

Second off, as an actuary, what you have is really good analytical skills. I've worked with several ex-actuaries or people who were on an actuarial track but left before testing in the various random analytics jobs I've had. Tailor your resume to any sort of experience you have making business decisions, presenting data, that sort of thing. If you're applying for something really not actuarial-related, give the exams/designations a line in your resume, but they're not really meaningful to most people so don't let it take up too much room.
posted by brainmouse at 5:57 PM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Are you registered with DW Simpson? They do actuarial recruiting and they come up with jobs ALL OVER the freaking place! Europe, US and anywhere else you might want to go.

Husbunny gets inquiries monthly, and he's not looking!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:08 PM on August 11, 2014

I wager that there are infinite opportunities to apply the skills that are the foundation of actuarial science in a corporate environment. From my perspective, quantitative, probability and risk assessment skills are seriously lacking.

Personally, I am an IT architect specializing in Site Reliability Engineering, which is a discipline interested in website performance and availability (think "six sigma" applied to IT), and if someone were to apply with actuarial experience, I would be massively turned-on, even if they had little or no IT experience. Most people in IT do not even know what standard deviation actually means.

I grew up in information security, and no infosec organization that I've ever worked for was funded correctly. Either they got whatever they want (what I call "funded by FUD"), or they got the bare minimum ("funded by compliance requirements"). Only a true quantitative top-down risk assessment can provide an accurate illustration of risk, and a good business decision on funding cannot be made without this information. Yet I have never seen it done. (I hope I didn't get too buzzwordy there).

These are just some examples from my personal experience. I would love to have someone with actuarial experience on my team. It is all about how you can sell yourself, though. How you can apply your background to create value. I think the opportunities are pretty much endless.
posted by robokevin at 6:15 PM on August 11, 2014

My employer (a top-tier web publisher) hires tons of data analysts; they typically have science degrees but strong statistics and math backgrounds. I would think an actuary would be a great fit; I know I'm using my very rusty (70's, casualty) actuarial background a lot. BTW, these people typically don't report to engineering, but to senior management and/or marketing.

You might also consider pharmaceutical companies - they certainly use statisticians, but for all I know they want more specialized backgrounds.
posted by mr vino at 4:31 AM on August 12, 2014

My fiancé is an actuary! There are plenty of jobs in Boston and Seattle!
posted by floweredfish at 1:45 PM on August 12, 2014

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