Working for a hedge fund can be one of the most lucrative positions throughout the entirety of the financial industry. However, this particular component of the industry—which is already well known for being very competitive—can be one of the most challenging areas in order to land a job.
Hedge funds are responsible for pooling capital from multiple different sources and investing this capital in a way that will benefit all parties involved. The most successful hedge funds are the ones who are able to effectively balance risk and reward, pay attention to details, and adhere to the timeless principle of capital diversification. Though landing a job at a hedge fund can certainly be quite challenging, these simple pieces of advice can hopefully get you pointed in the right direction.
Begin by learning as much about the hedge fund industry as you possibly can.
Even if you have a degree in finance, management, or economics from an esteemed university, that does not necessarily indicate to hedge fund managers that you actually understand the industry in its complex entirety. There are many details about running a hedge fund that can only truly be understood through experience or concentrated studies.
Fortunately, there are many different ways you can immediately begin to learn about running a hedge fund. Signing up to receive hedge fund newsletters (which are often free) can help keep you up to date about industry trends and possibly help forge connections with those who are already involved.
Additionally, it is a good idea to make a list of all relevant topics, companies, and vernacular related to the industry and review this list as often as you possibly can. This way, whether you are trying to land an interview or are in the process of actually interviewing, you will be prepared to impress those in a position to give you the job.
Find tangible ways to begin improving your credentials.
Hedge fund managers will obviously want to hear things such as, “I know the industry pretty well” or “I am very excited about the possibility of working with you.” But at the end of the day, these sorts of phrases will fall flat if you do not have the sort of credentials that can actually support them.
There are several valuable ways you can improve your credentials as a candidate. Making an effort to earn designations such as a CFA, CHA, CAIA, and numerous others will not only show that you have a formal understanding of the industry, but they will also demonstrate the fact that you have had a genuinely active interest in advancing your career. Though not every position at a hedge fund will actually require these credentials, they are always a great way to distinguish yourself from some of your competitors.
Furthermore, hedge fund managers will also want to see that you have had previous experiences that can immediately improve their organization as a whole. Even if it is only for a few hours a week, taking the time to intern at a major financial institution, become a research assistant for one of the industry’s most relevant organizations, or gaining a quantitative analysis position of any kind are all things that can certainly pay off in the long-run.
Establish important connections within the industry
Future success in the financial industry is largely based not only off what you have, but it is also based off of who you know. Authentic relationships within any area of the business world will usually not be forged with a single encounter, but with many encounters taking place over time.
Going to various networking events, job fairs, and industry expos may not be your ideal way to spend the weekend, but these are often what is necessary for you to actually get ahead. While you are at these events, one of the best ways to be remembered is to not talk about yourself, but to ask pointed questions about the industry. Anything you can say that demonstrates a genuine interest in running a hedge fund or gives the representative at these events a chance to talk about themselves in a positive light will likely be the most helpful.
Other useful ways for establishing industry connections include developing your LinkedIn page, joining various industry clubs (you may be surprised just how many there are), or finding new contacts through alumni associations and mutual friends. Even if these connections are something you never follow through with, knowing more people in the world of business certainly couldn’t hurt.
Focus on a specific niche that could add authentic value to the hedge fund
As stated, the hedge fund industry—as well as the financial industry as a whole—is widely recognized for being incredibly competitive. For every position you are considering applying for, you should assume that there are going to be dozens of other people applying for this position and that their credentials are even more impressive than your own.
Having a solid education and strong work experience is certainly a good way to get your foot in the door. But in order for the hedge fund manager to actually remember who you are, you will want to show your ability to add value to the hedge fund in ways that others simply cannot.
When creating your resume, it is important to think about the things that make you unique and how these things could improve the hedge fund as a whole. For example, if you are someone who is fluent in various coding languages, you may want to mention a way in which this skill could be specifically used in the industry. Taking the time to research the hedge funds you are considering, evaluate ways they could be improved, and tailor your resume to address their specific needs can be incredibly valuable. Though customizing your resume for a specific job can sometimes be quite tedious, quality will triumph over quantity ever time.
Breaking into the hedge fund industry can often be frustrating, but it is certainly not impossible. By making an effort to think about creative ways to add value, improve your credentials, and stand out in a sea of other candidates, then you will find yourself much more likely to get noticed.