Getting a job with a hedge fund is the goal of many recent college graduates and young financial professionals. Like investment banking jobs with Goldman Sachs or consulting positions with Bain or McKinsey, jobs with top hedge funds like Citadel in Chicago, or Farallon in San Francisco, are highly coveted. Some of the brightest financial minds battle for the opportunity just to interview with these top funds.
Of course not all intelligent young financial professionals attended Ivy League universities or have the financial experience typical of successful applicants at high powered hedge funds like Citadel. However, there are over 5000 hedge funds in the United States of varying sizes and specialties. The hundred largest of these are the target of a disproportionate amount of attention from job applicants. The competition for junior analyst positions is extremely competitive. Meanwhile thousands of smaller hedge funds remain relatively under the radar, in part because many hedge funds are hard to locate and choose to keep a low-profile. Getting a job with these lesser-known hedge funds is far more likely for the typical candidate.
The Three Best Methods for Obtaining an Interview with a Hedge Fund:
Personal Connections: It is somewhat unfortunate that this method likely remains the best method of getting a hedge fund interview. However, the definition of “personal connections” varies. For the lucky few, this might be a family friend who manages a fund in CT or NY. For others this may be a college classmate who is now an analyst at a hedge fund. These types of connections can get you an interview when your resume alone may not be enough. Do not forget about online networking and sites like LinkedIn for expanding your larger network of contacts.
Financial Recruiters: Because large hedge funds are often hesitant to post open positions on job boards, they rely heavily on financial recruiting firms/headhunters. Using headhunters and recruiters is advised for candidates with several years of experience and a substantial resume. Less experienced applicants may find themselves at the bottom of the totem pole. However, it is often worth working with a large recruiter like GloCap as it requires minimal effort (you will probably interview personally with the recruiter and fill out some forms and submit a resume).
Direct Contact: One of the most overlooked methods of obtaining an interview with a hedge fund is to contact hedge funds directly. The vast majority of hedge funds have less than ten employees and don’t maintain a human resources manager. With these smaller funds, send a well-written cover letter and your resume to the CEO or MD. Because hedge funds, particularly the thousands of smaller firms, maintain a low-profile it is well worth getting a list of hedge funds with contact information.
Remember, the most important characteristic of successful hedge fund analysts is their intelligence and determination. Searching for a hedge fund job can at times be a test of your determination, but the right attitude and a few tools can help put you a step ahead of your competitors.