While you may be e-mailing your resume these days instead using paper and envelopes, a cover letter can still be one the most effective ways to differentiate yourself from other candidates.
But as you can expect, hedge fund managers and principals are extremely busy, so you have only a few seconds to capture their attention. It’s best to follow a simple, 3-step format that gets into the heart of your message in a hurry.
The first paragraph should simply introduce yourself and explain why you are writing. Mention the specific position and why you are interested in it. However, if you had any personal contact with the person you are writing to, or were referred to them by a third party, be sure to mention the person’s name. This paragraph should be no longer than two sentences.
Your second paragraph is where, in the most concise and powerful way possible, you highlight your unique qualifications and experience. This is where you pull out 2-3 key points from your resume and put them front and center.
The key here is relevance. As with your resume, your cover letter should focus on the specific skills or experience that you’ve acquired that relate to investing and hedge fund jobs. This could include proof of your passion or long-term interest investing, a successful investment track record, your particular investment philosophy, awards or recognitions. This paragraph should be no longer than 5 sentences; you may want to split it into two paragraphs if it’s too long.
Next time, we’ll look at how to close your hedge fund job cover letter, and some other tips to make it more compelling.