The modern workplace requires skills that are not always taught in a formal education. Many millennials find they have to develop these skills on the job or during an internship. Some of these skills are industry specific, but many are tried and true skills that have been relevant for decades. Some necessary skills include showing up on time, dressing appropriately, looking someone in the eye, and speaking clearly and concisely are still very important in the business world. These skills are having to adapt to technology and the millennials who adapt the most effectively will have the most success throughout their career. Here are four skills that interns and recent graduates can develop that will set them up for success in whatever field they go in to after their college career.
One of the most important skills any college student can develop is the ability to effectively communicate a message and get a desired result. Many people call this interpersonal communication while other people call it persuasion. No matter what term you use to define this skill it is important to your career no matter what industry you go in to. The ability to read something, interpret it and express your interpretation to another person is crucial to success in both life and in business.
Because of technology, it is easier than ever to communicate. That does not mean people are better at communicating in the past. It just means they are communicating more frequently. Perfecting how you communicate in person, over the phone and in written form are skills you will learn and perfect interning in the insurance industry. On average an insurance agent speaks with at least 20 clients or potential clients per day. That is about 3 per hour over the course of a normal 8-hour day. Each interaction with a client may involve receiving an email or a quote via electronic correspondence to a farmer in Iowa. The next conversation may be over the phone selling workers compensation insurance in Texas to the owner of an oil company.
Making a phone call to confirm some details and finally a follow up email when you are finished helping the client with their problem. In another role in the insurance industry you may be responding to a negative review on yelp or a comment on the businesses Facebook page. All of these different ways in which you might interact with a customer will prepare an intern to successfully interact with clients in many different forms.
Critical-thinking skills are crucial in the insurance industry and they will be important in the professional world no matter what industry a student eventually chooses. Being able to quickly interact with a co-worker, a vendor or a customer is extremely important. In the insurance industry it is important to be able to determine what is most important to the other party and quickly determine several ways to solve the problem for the other person within an interaction. It is also becoming important to deliver that message in the form (email, text, phone call, etc.) the receiver wants to receive it.
On a typical day at an insurance agency, most agents interact with around 20 customers throughout the day. Some of these customers just want whatever transaction they have to be done as quickly as possible. They want this because they would like to get back to their daily lives. Other customers do not mind spending half a day to save an additional 5% on premium. A successful insurance professional has to determine what is important to the customer, deliver it to them the way they want to receive the message and make sure the customer is properly insured for the risks their business faces.
Risk management is in essence what the insurance industry is. The simplest explanation of how a company in the insurance industry makes money is by collecting more in premium than they pay out in claims. You will be a part of processing and analyzing risk constantly if you choose to intern or work in the insurance industry. Every transaction in this industry deals with the ability to help your company offer as much coverage as possible while still managing a comfortable level of risk. These skills can transfer into a role as a mortgage broker, a risk management consultant, a manager of a retail store or a restaurateur. All of these roles require a professional to quickly assess the risks of a business and come up with adequate ideas to deal with those risks.
Professionalism in email communication
Email communication is an art all to itself. It may seem obvious to the lay person how to communicate properly via email, but email communication is one skill many young professionals lack. Many younger professionals do not differentiate between an email and a text message. Most millennials are very comfortable using their mobile device. Just because they are proficient at sending a message via their device does not mean they are proficient at representing themselves in a professional manner. How much time someone spends on an email is usually obvious to the receiver of that message. It is obvious when someone sits down and puts some thought in to their response and it is equally obvious when someone responds with a four-word answer while waiting in line at the local coffee shop. When a millennial works or interns in the insurance industry, they frequently respond to clients about their child’s health insurance or about the specific of their small businesses workers compensation insurance policy. These types of issues cannot be dealt with in a 4-word text message. Dealing with these interactions will help a millennial quickly learn how to present themselves professionally both over the phone and via email. Development of this skill will be crucial for success in any industry you work in moving forward.
Mitchell Sharp is a Marketing Associate for Workers Compensation Shop.com. Mitchell has extensive knowledge of workers’ compensation and cyber liability insurance. His passion is in using his expertise in commercial insurance and digital marketing to benefit the small business community.