How to write a CV or resume for a hedge fund job

You’ve made the decision that the hedge fund world is the right one for you yet you’re worried whether or not any potential employer will take you seriously. How can you be sure that their first impression is the right one and that you take every possible opportunity to get in front of them? The answer is, of course, by ensuring that your CV is the perfect reflection of you and your ability.

Let’s start with the basics – you. Before we even start to look at your actual experience, you should consider what your CV is saying about you as a person. The person reading the CV can be from any walk of life, so we would recommend keeping the content factual without controversial statements whilst also trying to be intriguing.  This should be coupled with accurate spelling, grammar and a clean, readable format. This can of course be hard so it is often useful to get an extra pair of eyes to objectively review your CV, but there are some common things you can look out for:

1. Do you still list those qualifications that you obtained in your first job or courses you attended some years ago. A full driving license and your part time supermarket job are useful when looking for that first role but perhaps of less interest 20 years on. This is especially true if you favour the shorter more punchy CV. Our view is strongly that it is better to have a high % of relevant information on a CV than for it to be clouded.

2. Hobbies and interests are important, especially that run you did to raise money for the local charity but consider how the hobby or interest may reflect on you as a person and for the role you are applying. If the role states that a team player is required then perhaps consider revisiting your chess and reading hobbies, perhaps even consider if the role is for you!

3. It is all too tempting to have a generic CV for all applications. If you are a specialist then this is probably the right approach but if you are looking for a move into research, front office or trader roles and your CV is awash with operations experience then it is probably worth creating a CV that is more bespoke.

Once you’ve streamlined the general information about you, it is time to get down to the nitty gritty. What have you been doing in your career so far? There are an infinite number of permutations of a resume and this can vary from region to region but one thing is common and that is that the employer is looking for relevant experience. Hedge Fund Jobs tend to encourage a lot of applications and your CV needs to stand out. Here are some things that you may want to consider:

1. Consider the role(s) that you are applying for and ask yourself “am I really right for this role”. If the answer is yes, then there is no reason that your CV shouldn’t reflect this. Step back and consider which skills you have that are useful to the role and ensure that they are peppered throughout the CV. What we mean by this is don’t be tempted to avoid repetition between roles. If you moved from being an execution trader at one hedge fund to a junior portfolio manager at another, execution trading was probably still a necessary skill at both and should be listed as part of your role. This is especially true if the skill in question is constantly evolving, such as compliance. A potential employer wants to see that you have relevant experience but they may also want to ensure it is recent.

2. Do you have any gaps in your CV? What did you do in this time? If you weren’t working, what did you do in this time that ensured you stayed ahead of the game in your chosen field. A two year gap on the CV would probably put off many employers but a statement about how it was spent performing charity work abroad whilst developing your knowledge of emerging markets may go some way towards making the difference.

3. What were your roles at former employees? It is important to list the employer, times employed and positions held. Often these are separated by several periods, especially when the applicant has been in a large institution for many years. It is important that you project the correct image of progression and development throughout your roles unless it is easily demonstrated by movement. When it comes to listing the actual tasks performed, there are many different approaches and different employers favour different things. However, we would suggest that you avoid simple bullet points such as “Reconciliations” and instead aimed for a punchy descriptive such as “Daily reconciliations to service providers with exception reporting to Head of Operations”. This would give the potential employer an idea of the tasks that you performed and your understanding of reporting and escalation.

4. Systems knowledge is a necessity when it comes to roles where people are looking for experience. Employers can generally be picky, so if you have used a system – list it. Don’t be tempted to list every application you have ever opened but industry portfolio management systems, execution systems and order management systems should all be considered. Experience of prime brokers platforms as well as any work performed integrating them into your daily work will be seen as a plus from an employer. Increasingly, automation and developing skills are being introduced across all levels of the investment manager, so if you can genuinely code in VBA and Matlab but lack the practical experience for a risk job, the systems knowledge could give you the edge.

5. Applications for roles should be considered. Hedge funds and agents are closely interlinked and the industry is relatively small. If you are spamming every job that you see with one of fifty key words in, you are unlikely to be considered. If however, you apply for a handful of specific roles with a bespoke, well thought out CV, you are more likely to gain the correct attention.

We hope that has been a useful summary and good luck with your job hunt.

HFH team


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