Are you an investment banker who’s looking to make the switch to the buy side? While some hedge funds are cutting costs and paying less, others continue to add headcount. Some recruiters believe that to be successful at a hedge fund, you need to be even smarter than those who work at investment banks. To get your foot in the door at a top hedge fund, your resume will have to be close to perfect.
Even though your sell-side role is different from what you’d be doing on the buy side, make it clear how your investment banking experience will translate to a hedge fund, using specific examples.
“In investment banking you have to be able to analyze financial statements, and on your resume you want to highlight your involvement with actually evaluating deals,” said Alyssa Gelbard, the founder and president of Resume Strategists. “Sometimes junior investment bankers aren’t doing much evaluation and actually making decisions."
“Most hedge funds are a lot smaller than the bulge-bracket banks, so use verbiage in the resume having to do with working in small groups, working independently, being adaptable, being a self-starter and being flexible and resourceful,” said Roseanne Donohue, an executive recruiter, resume writer and career coach who worked previously at J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup.
If you’ve driven revenue or brought in new clients, share quantifiable results that demonstrate how you moved the needle with your ability and effort.
“What happened in the investment banking deals you worked on? Can you show any direct results? Performance is the key to impressing a hedge fund hiring manager,” Gelbard said.
Anytime you can show where you’ve solved a problem and had a proactive approach to solving a problem, it will make you look good in the eyes of a hedge fund.
“If you’ve ever had a time when you’ve had targets or goals and you achieved or surpassed them, that’s great. Good thing to include,” Gelbard said. “List instances where you’ve taken initiative and gone above and beyond.”
Hedge funds have become institutionalized, so they like names – big names. If you’ve worked with a well-known executive, even as a summer analyst, or if you’re a member of an Ivy League club, don’t fail to mention it.
“Of course the pedigree factor is helpful in terms of the schools you’ve attended,” Gelbard said.
Highlight times when you’ve generated good ideas, either investments or business plans.
“Have your ideas been implemented? Can your ideas influence a portfolio manager?” Gelbard said. “If you have any experience with that somebody implementing your ideas, even on the sell side, you want to show that [on your hedge fund resume].”
Most hedge funds want rather unorthodox, niche technical skills that fit their particular focus, according to Chris Apostolou, a former analyst and economist who’s now the managing director at Arbitrage Search and Selection.
For example, rather than an analyst just having analyzed the banks to assess their debt or credit rating, it’s better to have technical knowledge of different tiers of bank debt such as tier-two, illiquid loans or CoCos, he said.
The CFA isn't well-known for being a requirement among hedge fund recruiters, but it's still the most sought-after qualification on the buy-side.
“The CFA can be helpful,” Gelbard said. “It’s not as desired in investment banking, but some hedge funds really value it.”