If you’re considering a career in insurance sales or are an experienced agent interested in transitioning to a new insurer, there’s good news. Many major insurance companies, such as State Farm (the top home and auto insurer in the US), recruit for their agency force year-round and are always on the lookout for new talent.
Regardless of whether you’re an established agent or an aspiring one, you’ll need a resume that speaks to insurance companies’ needs. Follow the advice from State Farm agency recruiters to create a resume that will generate interviews, and be sure to check out our insurance sales sample resume here.
Spell Out Your Career Objective
“Be clear in your objective,” says Mark Welker, a 15-year State Farm veteran and agency recruiter since 2000. Welker advises candidates to be specific by including a title at the top of their resumes such as “Targeting State Farm Agent Opportunities in Oregon.”
Don’t Worry About a Lack of Industry Experience
“Not having insurance industry experience isn’t really a big factor,” says Rickey Broussard, a central recruiting zone recruiter specializing in hard-to-fill positions. He explains that 55 percent of State Farm insurance agent recruits are from other industries. “We look for candidates who are coachable and willing to learn,” he says.
Integrity and sales ability are more important than a background in insurance, Welker says. “Attitude and enthusiasm are key,” he says. “We would rather hire someone with the right competencies and attitude versus someone with industry experience but who shows signs of burnout.”
Quantify Sales Results
Think numbers when it comes to your resume, whether that’s dollar amounts, percentages, sales rankings or some other figure. “Don’t just tell me you can do it; show me how you have done it,” Welker says.
If you have sales experience, make sure you:
- Include Revenue You Generated: If you helped propel your territory or company to record-high earnings, be sure to showcase that as well.
- Highlight a Track Record of Meeting Quotas: If you exceeded your quota, use a percentage to show how far above target you were. For example, “Routinely exceeded sales quotas, outperforming targets by as much as 165 percent throughout four-year tenure with ABC Company.” Also, be sure to include sales awards you’ve earned.
- Include the Number of New Accounts You Signed: You could also include the percentage increase in sales you delivered from your existing customer base.
- Use Numbers to Give Context to Your Sales Ranking: For example, “Quickly became a standout producer, with top 15 percent ranking among a 380-member sales force.”
If you lack sales experience, it’s even more critical to demonstrate your bottom-line contributions. You may need to think a bit more creatively to show this, but it can be done. Describe individual or team efforts that elevated sales/profits and use numbers to quantify these achievements.
“One of the biggest problems I see on resumes is typos and spelling errors,” Broussard says.
Welker concurs and adds, “I’ve seen resumes where people claim they are ‘detail-oriented,’ and then there are typos, grammatical mistakes and other errors throughout -- that’s a red flag, and they probably won’t get interviewed.”
Eileen Koke, a State Farm corporate recruiter with 10 years of experience, is even more emphatic on the importance of an error-free resume. "If your resume has misspelled words, you leave a bad impression and a perception that you don't produce quality work," she says.
Emphasize Entrepreneurship, Community Leadership and Stability
“As an insurance agent, you are running a small business,” Welker says, so candidates who can demonstrate entrepreneurial thinking will have an advantage.
In addition, an insurance agent’s resume should include his volunteer work. “We look closely at community service and leadership,” says Broussard. “In reviewing resumes, we ask, ‘Which organizations are this candidate involved with? Who is establishing themselves as a leader in the community?’”
A history of career stability and employer longevity is also a plus. "When reviewing an applicant's job history, I like seeing stable employment," Koke says. "It tells me they can commit to an employer."
An insurance agent candidate who understands that the resume is a marketing document will be more successful than one who simply views it as a career chronology. “If you can’t sell yourself on paper, how can you sell the State Farm product?” Broussard asks. “Take a page or two, tell me who you are, where you’ve been, how you got to where you are now and where you’re going,” he says.
The SALES Formula for Insurance Agent Resume Success
This SALES formula recaps the advice from insurance agency recruiters. Follow it to create a winning resume:
- S = Sales contributions should be touted.
- A = Achievements should be quantified.
- L = Leadership skills should be highlighted.
- E = Errors must be eliminated.
- S = Stability should be emphasized.
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Learn more about insurance careers.
Learn more about sales careers.