In the absence of a significant catastrophe like a hurricane, flood, or tornado outbreak, finding a job as an insurance adjuster can be challenging. Even when adjuster demand is high, breaking into the independent adjusting field takes work. Carriers and IA Firms rarely come knocking down your door so potential candidates need to use every opportunity to gain an advantage over their peers. These 5 keys to writing a great claims resume will give new and experienced adjusters a way to stand out in a sea of applicants.
Crafting a powerful and effective claims resume requires first understanding the particular skills and work experience that stand out to potential employers. Below are the key areas to highlight when crafting your claims resume. This list is by no means complete, but these 5 keys speak directly to the particular needs of adjusting firms and insurance carriers.
Key #1: People Skills
Insurance claims adjusters need to possess excellent people skills, plain and simple. They interact with claimants under stressful circumstances so hiring companies will notice a resume that paints a picture of superior interpersonal communication. You don’t need to have a Masters in Communications, but you should be able to demonstrate an ability to navigate complex issues with a wide variety of people in various stages of distress, anxiety, and agitation.
Your resume should emphasize the polite, professional, and cordial manner with which you have effectively dealt with people under the aforementioned conditions. Customer service experience, volunteering, community outreach, social work, disaster relief and/or cleanup, and working with law enforcement are good examples of things you should highlight if they apply to you.
Key #2: Construction Experience
If you are applying for a position as a residential property adjuster, you will definitely want to highlight any experience in building, construction, roofing, or restoration. Do you have a working knowledge of how a house is put together? Do you know the difference between soffit and fascia? Have you worked on a construction crew? Operated as a general contractor? Been part of a post-flood cleanup crew? Did you take any engineering courses?
Adjusting firms, in particular, don’t want to devote significant time to train their new adjusters in basic construction terminology. You don’t need to be a construction veteran, but highlighting any experience in this field will immediately catch their eye. It will let employers know you are ahead of the pack in one of the industry’s most vital subjects.
Key #3: Computer Skills
The days of hand-written estimates are over for the professional insurance adjuster. Today, estimates are written and submitted electronically so you need to know your way around a computer and explain your proficiency on your resume.
Many companies will not even consider a new hire unless he or she is comfortable using Xactimate or Symbility, although that can be dependent on demand for adjusters at any given time. If you aren’t familiar with these programs, consider taking a course. (We offer a great Tactical Xactimate Course!)
If you are unable to take a course, at the very least you should express clearly in your resume an ability to use Windows-based software. For those who are completely computer illiterate, consider taking a basic computing course before you seriously pursue a career in claims. Online classes, courses at local junior colleges, and community education classes are readily available in most areas, and the investment will be worth your time when applying for jobs.
Interested in taking your training to the next level?
In our Adjuster Success Method Course, veteran adjusters share best practices for getting hired, what tools you’ll need to get the job done, and explain what to expect and how to successfully close your first claims in this one-of-a-kind new training webinar.
Key #4: Insurance Policy Knowledge
Knowing how to read and apply an insurance policy is very important for any adjuster and hiring companies know it. If you have any experience in the insurance industry or have basic knowledge of insurance terms and concepts, highlight that in your resume.
Similar to the construction experience key, employers would prefer not to spend time teaching new hires the most basic industry terminology and processes. Even if it is as simple as having read your own homeowner’s or auto policy (which is more than most people do), you will want to let your prospective employers know about your comfort level with insurance policy jargon and interpretation.
Key #5: Time Management & Personal Accountability
Working as a claims adjuster, especially if you want to be an independent adjuster, requires outstanding time management as well as initiative and accountability.
When drafting your resume, think about various experiences in your professional history where multitasking and personal accountability were required and then met. You want to project the most professional, capable, can-do image possible so highlight projects you oversaw, budgeting or accounting goals that were achieved, or complicated scheduling issues you overcame.
Detailing experience like this illustrates that you can, both literally and figuratively, take care of business. Employers don’t want to hand-hold and babysit new employees, so showing them how capable you are will leave a positive and lasting impression.
This hopefully goes without saying, but…BE HONEST. While we all strive to put our best face forward when applying for a job, outright fabrications rarely work long term. This is especially important in the claims adjusting industry because of the high value placed on integrity. So discuss your skills and experience in positive, action-oriented, strong terms, but don’t make stuff up.
If you read the list above and aren’t feeling confident in your skills, don’t worry. The great part is that many of the things listed are easily improved upon with some effort and time. Online courses are available for many of the software or topics we mentioned. Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity or answering phones for an insurance office will get you up to speed quickly on terminology.
One additional but extremely effective way to gain knowledge is to work for or shadow an adjuster. Take photos, perform ladder assists, do data entry, heck….just hold a clipboard for an adjuster for a few months and you will be ready to go.
Lastly, as resumes are submitted more and more in electronic form, there is a temptation to lower your standards for the appearance and grammatical integrity of your resume. After all, we don’t observe Strunk and White’s Elements of Style when emailing and text messaging – do we really need to observe those old-fashioned standards when posting an electronic resume?
The same rules apply for completing an online resume form or submitting your information to be on a company roster. Let other job seekers submit low quality, error-riddled, informal material to career websites. That will allow your professional, detailed, formal resume to immediately stand out from your peers and inspire confidence from your prospective employers.
Remember, being an adjuster is all about effective communication and attention to detail. Use your resume as an example of how you can do both and it will be a competitive advantage as you launch your insurance adjusting career.