Getting a job in a hedge fund is the goal of many recent graduates and young financial professionals. Like investment banking positions at Goldman Sachs or consulting positions at Bain or McKinsey, positions with top hedge funds like Citadel in Chicago or Farallon in San Francisco are highly sought after. Some of the brightest financial minds are fighting for the opportunity to interview these top funds.
Of course, not all smart young finance professionals have attended Ivy League universities or have the typical financial experience of successful applicants at big-power hedge funds like Citadel. However, there are over 5,000 hedge funds in the United States of varying sizes and specialties. The biggest 100 of them receive disproportionate attention from 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 difficult to locate and choose to keep a low profile. Getting a job with these lesser-known hedge funds is much more likely for the typical candidate.
The three best ways to get an interview with a hedge fund:
Personal connections: It is somewhat unfortunate that this method is probably still the best method for obtaining an interview with a hedge fund. However, the definition of “personal ties” varies. For the lucky few, it might be a family friend who runs a fund in CT or New York. For others, it may be a classmate who is now an analyst in a hedge fund. These types of relationships can get you an interview when your resume alone may not be enough. Don’t forget about online networking and sites like LinkedIn to expand your larger network of contacts.
Financial recruiters: Since large hedge funds are often reluctant to post vacancies on job boards, they are heavily reliant on recruiting firms / financial headhunters. The use of headhunters and recruiters is recommended for applicants with several years of experience and a substantial resume. Less experienced candidates may find themselves at the bottom of the totem pole. However, it is often worth working with a great recruiter like GloCap as it requires minimal effort (you will likely have a personal interview with the recruiter, fill out some forms and submit a resume).
Direct contact: One of the most overlooked methods of getting a hedge fund interview is to contact hedge funds directly. The vast majority of hedge funds have fewer than ten employees and do not have a human resources manager. With those small funds, send a well-written cover letter and your CV to the CEO or CEO. Since hedge funds, especially the thousands of small companies, keep a low profile, it’s worth getting a list of hedge funds with contact details.
Remember that the most important characteristic of successful hedge fund analysts is their intelligence and determination. Finding a job with a hedge fund can sometimes be a test of determination, but the right attitude and a few tools can help you get ahead of your competition.