Ryan Larson, claims manager and recruiting guru, shares how to stand out in the job market

The resume black hole. It’s a place only job seekers know. To go there, all you have to do is find a job online, submit your resume and wait … and wait … and wait some more until finally, you give up. It’s a brutal place but it’s not an inevitable destination. You can avoid it and Ryan Larson knows the way.

Ryan Larson

“Networking,” Larson said. “Instead of just sending your resume out, talk with employers. At career fairs or other networking events, just talk with them. If anything, you now have a name of a person you can reach out to and connect with.”

Larson is a claims manager at Auto-Owners Insurance who not only leads a team of 12 people but also oversees the majority of the company’s recruiting in Colorado. He has helped hire more people than he can count on two hands, including Daniels student Jacey Handy, who interned with the company this summer.

“At Auto-Owners, interns don’t just get the coffee,” Handy said. “Instead, you learn every day and positively contribute to the team’s success.”

Jacey Handy

Larson, who is often asked to speak to Daniels students about different aspects of the job search process at career workshops, met Handy at one such event. “After the presentation,” Handy said, “I shook his hand and said ‘thank you for coming,’ and he asked me to send him my resume. We exchanged emails, I came to the office for an interview and he offered me the position.”

When asked what he looks for in potential job candidates, Larson said, “I want somebody that’s competitive and somebody who wants to talk, because in insurance, it’s about relationships and talking to people. If you give me those two things, I’ll teach you the rest.”

Undergraduate student Nicole Chalupnik found her internship at Auto-Owners by applying to Daniels’ job shadow program in Pioneer Careers.

Nicole Chalupnik

“During my shadow day [at Auto-Owners], I was informed of internship openings and was able to interview that same day,” Chalupnik said. “My favorite part of working at the company was the team environment I got to experience. Everyone was willing to answer my questions and help me gain a better understanding of the various aspects of the insurance industry. Apart from that, Auto-Owners is just a great group of people.”

Both Handy and Chalupnik secured internships at Auto-Owners without getting sucked into the dreaded resume black hole. When asked what advice they’d give their fellow job seekers at Daniels, Handy and Chapulnik offered similar counsel.

“You have to put in the work,” Handy said. “Go to career fairs, research/post online, email professionals. However, remember that you’re always networking, so you must present yourself well. Like in my case, a quick, positive interaction can lead to an internship or job.”

For Chapulnik, the key was to start the job search process early. “That way you have plenty of time to explore the options out there,” she said. “Also, take advantage of opportunities to make in-person connections with employers through events like job shadows and employer meet and greets.”

Connect with Auto-Owners via LinkedIn and view the Daniels events calendar to find the next opportunity to network with employers on campus, or sign up for the Daniels job shadow program in Pioneer Careers. For questions, contact Daniels Career Services.