The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company recently announced plans to recruit more than 5,500 financial professionals this year—including 306 at its Twin Cities offices.
 
The local positions include 104 financial representatives and 202 financial representative interns, and those hired to fill them will work out of one of two Twin Cities offices—The Columns Resource Group in Minneapolis and The Bohannon Group in Mendota Heights, which serve as the local network offices of Northwestern Mutual.
 
A spokeswoman for Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Northwestern Mutual said Monday that the Twin Cities positions will be filled throughout the year.
 
“The company is seeing both a need and a demand nationwide for a tailored planning approach to asset protection, growth, and savings solutions,” Steve Mannebach, vice president of field growth and development at Northwestern Mutual, said in a prepared statement.
 
Northwestern Mutual expects more than half of the financial representatives it hires in 2013 to be “career changers”—or “professionals who believe that they have reached the ceiling in their current occupation and are looking for an opportunity to grow.”
 
Interns, meanwhile, will work with mentors and receive an opportunity to “test drive” and “get an insider’s glimpse into the industry”—and many are expected to progress to full-time employment within the company; in fact, 45 percent of Northwestern Mutual’s current senior field managers joined it as interns.
 
The company’s financial representative internship program was recently recognized for the 16th consecutive year as one of the “top 10 internships in America” by Vault, a national job search website that produces an annual guide to internships.
 
Northwestern Mutual made a similar hiring announcement last January, saying that it aimed to add 300 financial representatives and interns in the Twin Cities in 2012. A company spokeswoman couldn’t immediately comment on whether it met or exceeded last year’s goal.
 
Northwestern Mutual, which Fortune recognized last year as one of the “most admired” life insurance companies in the world, operates several “district network offices” within the state in addition to the two Twin Cities offices that will add staff this year.
 
Northwestern Mutual serves the insurance and investment needs of more than 3 million clients. It currently has more than $1.2 trillion of life insurance protection in force, and with $190 billion in assets, it claims to be the nation’s largest direct provider of individual life insurance. It’s also the largest life insurer in Minnesota based on direct life insurance premiums written within the state, which totaled $267.7 million in 2011.
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