What hedge funds want to see on your resume

what to put in your resume skills section

So you want to work for a hedge fund? Well, consider this first. The competition for hedge fund jobs is notoriously fierce, so giving yourself a chance starts with constructing a hedge fund resume. Many job applicants think that they’ve got a great resume and send their applications off to firms without realizing that hedge fund hiring managers have something very specific in mind when looking for candidates.

So what exactly are hiring managers looking for? Overall, firms are looking for a candidate whose resume offers examples of a strong ability to synthesize large quantities of information to construct reasonable responses to difficult problems. That might sound like a real challenge – and it is – but in order to earn your place in the hedge fund industry, you’re going to have to be up to challenges every day. Why not start with your resume?

“Your resume should describe business successes with measurable results.”

Not a list of responsibilities, but a record of measurable results
Hedge fund recruiters aren’t looking for traditional resumes. If they see your job responsibilities bullet-pointed down the page, there’s a good chance they’re already moving on to the next candidate’s application. Instead, stick to quantifiable outcomes. You can expect hiring managers to hit you with the common STAR (situation, task, analysis and result) method during an interview, so the best way to prepare is by getting a jump start on their questions by using the same technique on your resume.

It can be difficult to adopt quantifiable language in place of general soft skills talk, especially if you’re transitioning from IBD to the hedge fund industry. Both your resume and your interview should highlight specific deals you worked on as a banker, preferably the ones with a measurable outcome. This means you’re able to dissect complex or difficult situations you faced in the past and explain your responsibilities in finding a successful conclusion.

Hedge funds want to know your history
Before they’ll seriously consider hiring you, firms want to know specific details about your previous experience. How much money did you manage? Did you bring in any new clients? How much revenue were you responsible for generating? Not only must your answers to all of these questions be positive, they must be measurable. Hedge funds will want to be able to see if you brought new revenue and customers to your old company, or if you achieved beyond the standard set by your employers, or if you’re capable of innovative thinking.

If you want to stick out during a hedge fund interview, describe quantifiable performance records.If you want to stick out during a hedge fund interview, describe quantifiable performance records.

The best way to do this is with an audited track record. Unless you’re fresh out of college, the best way to guarantee a hiring manager takes extra time on your resume is to include an audited track record. This document allows firms to verify how much money you managed and what your Sharpe ratio was. But it isn’t always easy to get your record, Stephen Bornstein of the Around Wall Street blog wrote. Even if your old employer allows you access to it, you must be able to demonstrate you were the individual primarily responsible for the described accomplishments.

If you can’t get an audited track record, or don’t have one, stick to precise information regarding your portfolio’s performance. Even if you don’t have a verified document, you must be able to account for all of your investment decisions.

Prove you understand a firm’s strategy 
Applying for a job at a hedge fund is unlike applying for a job almost anywhere else, as each fund has a different strategy. Are you applying to a macro fund? A high yield fund? A systemic fund? Before submitting your resume, make sure you understand exactly how your desired firm does its business. Craft your application around their strategy using key words and relevant experiences.

Just as each fund has a different strategy, each one has a different kind of ideal applicant. Some prefer to take people who have held accounting jobs. Others like their people to have experience in several different fields before they’ll consider hiring them. A fund’s hiring preferences can be learned by talking to current employees. What did they put on their resume when they applied? Where had they worked previously? When you know this information, you can better choose your target hedge fund and be able to craft a winning resume for the firm you’re looking to join.