Benefits programs that companies offer their employees, such as retirement programs and health insurance, can be complicated to navigate. A benefits specialist is an expert on those programs and packages and helps to administer those programs, answer questions, and ensure employee needs and expectations are met.
Typically part of a company’s human resources department, benefits specialists may be responsible for helping to create benefits packages that are attractive to new employees while also ensuring employees can enroll in programs and understand the benefits offered.
If you’re applying for a benefits specialist position, knowing how to structure your resume and what you should list and highlight, including education, skills, and objectives, can help your resume get noticed and selected and an interview scheduled.
How to structure your benefits specialist resume
When formatting your resume for a benefits specialist role, you should include:
A summary/career objective
Relevant work history, including the company, dates worked, and a brief description of the duties performed
Relevant skills for the role
When creating your resume, you’ll want to carefully read the job description to ensure you include all relevant keywords, skills, and experience that show you are the best candidate. By tailoring your objective and resume to the job description, it’s more likely it will make it through any applicant tracking system software and to the desk of the hiring manager.
Benefits Specialist job description
A benefits specialist is the person an employee can go to for answers to questions about benefits programs their company offers, such as retirement programs, health insurance, or other employee benefits or compensation. They help to create benefits packages offered to employees and must know the ins and outs of the programs to be able to answer questions, provide information, and help employees navigate them.
They also help ensure offerings are compliant with federal and state laws.
While the duties of a benefits specialist can range depending on the industry you’re in or the company you work for, generally, the job description for a benefits specialist can include duties such as:
Help coordinate and develop retirement, pension, and stock ownership plans
Help research, analyze, and develop plans for healthcare, including medical, dental, vision, etc.
Evaluate and analyze the cost and effectiveness of wellness programs, life, and long-term care insurance, employee assistance programs, and other benefits offered to employees
Evaluate job positions for classification, status, and salary requirements
Develop and execute techniques for communicating compensation to employees
Advise management on benefits issues
Build and maintain relationships with health, retirement, and other benefits plan providers
Determine techniques for evaluating employee compensation
Assist employees by answering questions, explaining benefits, and appealing decisions by insurance companies
Renew vendors, review invoices, resolve issues, and report on benefits, costs, and fees
Benefits specialist education
Many benefits specialists have a post-secondary education, often with an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in human resources, human resources management, or a similar field, like business administration or finance. Some companies may even prefer an ideal candidate to have a Master’s degree.
You’ll want to outline all relevant education and certifications on your resume in a way similar to the following:
Master’s degree, Human Resources Management
Bachelor’s of Science, Business Administration
When listing your education, here are a few tips:
Consider leaving off the years you attended school or your graduation date. Typically, that’s not as important unless you’re still pursuing your degree. In that case, be clear your education is in progress. For example,
Master’s degree (Human Resources Management); anticipated completion January 2022
List the order of your education as the highest level first. For example, if you have a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, list the Master’s degree first, followed by the Bachelor’s.
If you have additional certifications or training applicable to the role, list them in their section with the heading “Additional Certifications.” Include the organization that provided the certification, the title, and the date of completion or renewal.
Unless you’re a recent graduate or it’s a requirement for the role, you don’t need to include your high school education.
What to include on your resume for a benefits specialist
Typically, a benefits specialist resume will list the education or formal training you have that makes you most qualified for the role.
Then, in the work experience section, you’ll want to include duties related to the job description, such as:
Collaborated with XYZ benefits provider to offer a health insurance package to my organization that saved $X in the first year of implementation without diminishing member benefits
Developed a benefits assessment checklist that assisted with choosing optimal benefits providers at the best cost for the company
Carried out educational and outreach activities on matters involving benefits issues and questions to ensure employees were informed
Established and maintained relationships with benefits providers
Coordinated pieces of training of benefits packages such as Medicare, retirement savings funds, and health insurance
Worked with insurance carriers and consultants on benefits policy content and language, ensuring clarity and consistency for employees
The experience and skills you list should be relevant to the job you’re applying for. Try to go beyond simply listing duties you’ve performed, and instead show both duties and achievements with examples or numbers to support the statements.
Benefits specialist skills and traits for a resume
There are many skills and traits you could list on your resume for a benefits specialist position. Here are a few to choose from to get you started:
Knowledge of legal and tax implications, health insurance, and benefits processes
Public speaking/presentation skills
Willingness to learn
Project plan development and execution
Once you begin working as a benefits specialist, you’ll be able to perfect skills and continue to learn about benefits packages and offerings available to companies and employees, have an increased understanding of how benefits and compensation work and know-how to better answer questions and assist employees.
Action verbs to include on a benefits specialist resume
Should I include references in my benefits specialist resume?
Your resume is a professional representation of your career qualifications and skills that make you an ideal candidate. As a general rule, avoid including references in your resume unless they are specifically asked for. This is information that tends to distract hiring managers from the information you want them to see, and it can take up valuable space on the page.
If references are requested, you can include them on your resume or as a separate document. Be sure to list the name, job title, company, email address, and phone number for each reference.
Benefits specialist resume objectives
A career objective, also known as a resume objective or summary, is a brief statement toward the top of your resume that explains your professional goals and intentions for applying to a job. In 1 to 3 sentences, you should mention the job title, add a couple of key skills, and share what you’re hoping to achieve in the job.
Obtain a position as a benefits specialist with XYZ company to assist in overall implementation and management of benefits plans, ensuring compliance and participation from employees.
Professional individual with X years of experience seeking a benefits specialist role with XYZ company to provide expertise in compensation and benefits packages and assist with education programs for employees.
A responsible, knowledgeable individual seeking a benefits specialist position with XYZ company. Strong organizational and interpersonal skills support organizations in employee education and meeting their needs while maintaining confidentiality and compliance.
Benefits specialist looking for a position with XYZ company.
This is too short and doesn’t include enough detail about your skills or intentions. Be sure to list a couple of key skills that make you the best for the role, and share your desire for being hired.
Human resources professional seeking position with XYZ company to further my knowledge in the benefits industry.
For most companies, an ideal benefits specialist candidate already has education, knowledge, or experience working in the benefits field. If you don’t have that experience, try instead listing a few skills you do have that set you apart from other candidates. This will encourage the hiring manager that while you may need some training once hired, you already have much of what it takes to excel in the role.
I want to apply my communication skills and knowledge to this role to make things better for employees.
With a few more details, this objective would be much better. Consider adding your years of experience, or be more specific about what you’d make better for the employees. Also, be sure to mention the role you’re applying for (benefits specialist) and possibly the company for a more personal touch.