Get the Job Nov 13 2009

Foot in the Door: The Art of the Hedge Fund Resume

By alina dizik

Getting your resume to the top of the pile at a hedge fund can be tricky -- many are small elite firms that see a slew of top candidates. But taking the time to perfect your resume can yield great rewards. For one, there are fewer gatekeepers at hedge funds. Hedge fund firms are sometimes only a handful of employees, so your resume can potentially grab the attention of a hiring manager right away, says Richard Wilson, a hedge fund trainer and consultant who is the president of the Hedge Fund Group, a professional trade association.

Below are a few tips to help you craft that perfect hedge fund resume. Also, check out an example of the perfect hedge fund resume, before and after.

Customization
With so many different hedge funds employing various investing strategies (and focusing on specific areas), it's important to find out exactly how you can apply your skills. For example, if you're applying to a biotech-focused hedge fund, highlight your science degree or specific experience in the field. If one hedge fund uses shorting make sure to point out your own shorting experience in a resume. Don't use broad terms in hopes of not alienating potential employers, says Barry Emen, founder of MJE Advisors, a recruiting firm in Florham Park, N.J., who works with hedge funds. "Go after the niche you're in -- you can't just decide that you'll do anything for anyone," says Emen.

Highlight Designations
Even if you don't have a top-tier MBA, designations like the Chartered Financial Analyst or Certified Hedge Fund Professional can help your resume standout. The certifications help show that you're motivated to work in hedge funds and that you are eager to keep learning and can do so easily.

List Unpaid Internships or Consulting Gigs
If you're looking to switch careers, and don't have hedge fund experience, it's important to add an unpaid internship or hedge fund research assignment to your resume. Many hedge funds will not look at a resume that doesn't demonstrate relevant experience says Wilson, who adds that candidates should be open to both unpaid or paid work when trying to break into the hedge fund world.

Highlight Teamwork Skills
Showing how you've managed people from the top isn't as valuable when you're coming to work at a hedge fund. "As opposed to being a leader, you'll want to play up your team player skills," suggests Katie Rayhawk Volz, director of career counseling at the New York University Stern School of Business. "Most of these shops are very lean and you are asked to do many [things] in teams." For example, show how you've contributed to prepare earnings calls or sale pitches, suggests Rayhawk Volz.

Show Off Quant Knowledge With Specifics
Draw attention to your quantitative and analytical skills by using specific achievements when describing prior experience. Cite specific, real numbers, discuss capital raising abilities, or compare growth in percentages, says Wade Slome, president of Sidoxia Capital Management, who manages the Newport Beach, Calif.-hedge fund. It's also important to use targeted words. "A lot of the language in the resume should include experience in modeling and forecasting," he says.

Include Applicable Extracurriculars
While telling a hiring manager that you run your own personal investment portfolio is not enough to get you hired, it's a good idea to present a resume that shows off your passion. Use the skills or experience section of your resume to demonstrate that you're genuinely interested in investments, says Rayhawk Volz. Showing that you've joined professional organizations or clubs can also help you standout. Keep it relevant, if you were president of your business school's wine club there's no need to add it on, she says.

Avoid Common Mistakes
While making sure your resume is targeted to your hedge fund career goals is key, it's important to avoid frequent resume mistakes. For one skip the objective, says Rayhawk Volz -- having a paragraph at the top can take away from relevant experience. Goals can be clearly explained in a cover letter, she adds. It's also best to keep the resume to one page and ask several people to reread it for grammatical or spelling errors (especially if you've just made changes, customizing it for each hedge fund you are applying to). Additionally, don't go back too far in your job history; focus on providing details for the last 10 years of work. And remember, even if you're trying to jam as much information as possible, it's important to keep a clean resume format that will catch the eye of a potential employer.

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In such a competitive career, your resume needs to tell a concise story that demonstrates your passion as well as points to highly-valued experience. Make sure your resume is not simply a "data dump" of ideas says Rayhawk Volz. Then, take the time to craft each bullet point to help highlight skills like teamwork and quantitative knowledge.

Related Content:
-- The Perfect Finance Resume

-- The Perfect Finance Cover Letter

-- Explaining Employment Gaps in Your Resume and on Interviews




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