In today’s actuarial market, networking is essential. The majority of top actuarial roles are filled via networking because it is much quicker to hire someone you already know (or somebody you know who knows somebody…) than it is to waste the time posting adverts in publications and through Internet portals. Time is money, after all. This is one reason why specialist recruitment firms are popping up like daisies. There are plenty of qualified actuaries out there who have neither the time nor the resources to network their way into a better position, and it takes a qualified consultant to find them. Networking is convenient, but it is also about as certain as a game of Russian roulette. Time may be money, but a very bad hire can be disastrous.
For this reason, many of the top clients will justify the cost of a recruiter in terms of the talent they will receive. Recruiters not only have the time to look for candidates, they also have the time to dig a little deeper, to get to know the candidate in a professional atmosphere. In a sense, it is networking sans obligation. If you know an actuary who plays a good game of golf but are not sure how good his work ethic is, you will recommend him nonetheless. If you are a recruiter who knows a great golfer who claims to be a great actuary, you will make sure his skills are as good as his swing before sending him off to a client because a bad candidate can result in a negative client relationship.
Having said that, there are still many benefits to networking; used properly, networking can turn a horizontal swing into a climb to great heights. If you are going to network, do it responsibly: Networking for networking’s sake is never the way to go. People don’t like it when it’s obvious that you only phone them when you need them, especially when you have nothing to offer in return. Your main priority might be to stay visible, but take the time to get to know your networks and see what other benefits can be had from the relationship. The best people to network with are career consultants and recruiters, so don’t forget to give them a call and tell them just how much they mean to you.