What Recruiters Look for In a Hedge Fund Resume

Few things recruiters look for on your hedge fund resume

funny-job-interviewOne of the best things you can do to improve your chances of earning interviews is by tailoring your resume to fit the eye of your audience. This can be tricky, though, as recruiters and hiring managers typically don’t spend more than a few seconds looking over your CV.

So where should you concentrate your time? In short, it all depends upon the industry. As we reported last week, investment banking recruiters flash their eyes at your school name, your promotion history and various personal metrics. Hedge fund recruiters, meanwhile, look for the following attributes on your resume. Some of these areas you can improve on, depending on your experience, others you are stuck with.

Quantifiable results: The STAR method (situation, task, analysis and result) is often used as a job interview technique, but the concept is easily transferable to resume writing. Hedge fund recruiters want to see quantifiable personal results, not bullet-pointed responsibilities, said John Breault, chief executive of hedge fund recruiter Breault & Smith.

Break down difficult situations you’ve encountered and detail how you personally overcame them to generate compelling results, whether financially or otherwise. “The last thing a hedge fund recruiter wants to see is a generic resume that could easily have been written by someone who is either amazing or terrible,” Breault said.

Creativity: Unlike most every other industry in financial services, the hedge fund world looks for creative minds who can provide alternative investment approaches and discover patterns that others may not see. Extracurricular activities, therefore, can be paramount, at least when concerning front-office hiring.

D.E. Shaw, a highly successful New York hedge fund, is well-known for hiring chess and bridge players, even if they don’t necessarily have pertinent work experience. New York’s Two Sigma boasts a similar scientific, albeit more technological-based approach to investing that requires brilliant, yet somewhat alternative minds.

“Hedge funds are very similar to startups,” Breault said. “You need creative, entrepreneurial workers to be successful.” As such, starting your own business is often looked at favorably. So is overcoming great odds, like if you happened to be the first person in your family to go to college, he said.

However, this is only true for front office positions, according to Lisa Mogilner an executive recruiter at Dynamics Associates who specializes in the hedge fund/alternative investment sector with a focus on back office roles like operations, risk management and accounting.

Back office recruiters and hiring managers want to see a more straight-forward resume that features skills, certifications and software packages, not extracurriculars or experience that came before graduation, she said.

Size of your past firms: Small hedge funds are typically worried about hiring people who are coming from larger firms, as those folks tend to be too specialized, Breault said. Conversely, big funds are often nervous about bringing on those with experience at smaller firms who may not be subject matter experts. Know this before building your resume and deciding who to send it to.

Names and numbers: File this under the “things you can’t change” header. Like in investment banking, hedge funds recruiters’ eyes will always flash to your school name and your GPA, said Mogilner. They’ll also look to see how many jobs you’ve had and in how many years. As we reported previously, banks and hedge funds have begun to harp on job-hopping more often over the last few years as they have become more mindful with their hiring.

Performance metrics: When it comes to the front office, recruiters want to see investment wins, size of funds managed and performance awards. Back office recruiters want to see similar accomplishments, Mogilner said. Many funds rate their back office employees on a numerical scale. Hiring companies want to see that information, along with performance review histories and gains made from process improvements.

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