Choosing the Right Place to Advance Your Career

Topics: Small Business Advice

Summary: Choosing the right path for your personal goals is crucial in finding the right career for you. Follow an AmTrust underwriter’s career path and his details for building a career at AmTrust in this thought leadership article.

Written by: Tom Budz, Underwriter at AmTrust Financial

Find a Company Where You Can Have  Career

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

It’s a question asked to me in just about every one of the dozens of job interviews I had after graduating. At the time, I viewed the question as a test. Something to make sure I was ambitious enough to be useful to a company, while being realistic enough to understand I wouldn’t be the CEO overnight. Now, as I enter my fifth year of postgraduate life, and my fifth year with AmTrust Financial, I see the question for what it is: An opportunity to make sure that the goals, ambitions, and ideas of my career align with those of the company that I choose. But as someone still waiting for a diploma to arrive in the mail, how can you know which company matches you? Here are some things to consider when choosing where to build your career:

Opportunities for Career Advancement

One of the most common complaints I hear from my peers is that they join a company ready to be promoted, become management, and take on more responsibilities, only to find out they’re not even sure what position they could be promoted into. Is there a clear path forward at this company? Is the company looking to develop their talent and hire from within?

During my interview process with AmTrust, I was interviewed by several people who had been promoted into their management role. As I toured the office, I was introduced to underwriting assistants promoted to underwriters, underwriters promoted to underwriting managers, and underwriting managers promoted to underwriting directors. There was my path.

I was interviewing for an underwriting assistant role, and I knew at the end of my five year plan I did not want to be an underwriting assistant. So, I commonly asked the companies I sat down with “What are the timelines and expectations to become an underwriter”. Many companies gave positive, but vague responses. “We love to promote from within, but let’s cross that bridge when we get there”. When I asked my soon-to-be-manager at AmTrust, he explained to me exactly what I could do, and how long those things would reasonably take to accomplish. About a year later, and right on schedule, I received a promotion.

Choosing Your Work Location

This has to be the most practical aspect of selecting a company, but also seems to be the most overlooked. When speaking to undergraduates, I commonly hear “I would relocate anywhere for the right opportunity”. But are you being completely honest with yourself? Will you be happy with a role that is across the country from your friends and family? If you’re used to Florida beaches will you be happy braving the Chicago winters? If you like the hustle of city life, will you be happy with a suburban office? Thinking back to the previous point, will you need to relocate in a few years in order to advance in a company?

When considering AmTrust, I learned they had several offices across my home state of Florida as well as over 50 offices across more than 25 states, I knew that AmTrust would have opportunity anywhere I would want to be.

Find a Company Who Values its Employees

Will you be a number on a page, or a member of a team who is appreciated? It’s difficult to love a company that you don’t feel loves you back. Often jobs are stressful and demand more than you were expecting to give.

When you step into an office, how are the employees acting? Are they happy to be contributing or staring at the clock until they can slip out the back door? An appreciated employee is happy to be in an office contributing and that can be easy to spot once you open your eyes to it.

I had originally interviewed with AmTrust for a sales role, but during the interview process we had identified some of my skills and interests are more attuned with underwriting. When the phone rang to bring news of a job offer, they offered me a choice in either the sales or underwriting teams. AmTrust didn’t just want to find me a position, they wanted to find me the right position. The hiring manager knew that I would be happier and harder-working in the role that best fit me. The hiring team put my interest before theirs and let me pick what role best suited me, because they valued my opinion and the skills that I would be able to bring to the company.

Respecting Professional Goals

Last year, I decided that I wanted to make a move out of Florida for both professional and personal reasons. I walked into my manager’s office and explained that I wanted to move to North Carolina. Within a month, I was promoted to a higher underwriting level and in the location I had asked for. AmTrust had valued me enough to listen to my wants and goals, and move me to a new location that suited me best both professionally and personally while offering me opportunity for advancement. Everything I want in a company was demonstrated in that one moment.

AmTrust is the Right Company for Me

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” is still a question I ask myself commonly, and still struggle to have a concrete answer to. During my time at AmTrust, I have been fortunate to have many successes. I have received two promotions and designed a new and original insurance product. I have travelled to present my ideas to the executive team. I’ve met the leaders of our company from offices across the world. And most importantly to me, I have made friends that when five o’clock rolls around I’m happy to see socially after work hours. I have worked hard, but all my skills and effort are meaningless without the right company to provide a career to apply them to. I may not know exactly where I will be sitting or what will be on my desk in the next five years. But, I know I want that journey to be with the same company that has given me more than I could have asked for since I stepped through the doors of the AmTrust office for the first time.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

Time Zones