From the category archives:

Hedge Fund Careers

Regardless of one’s level of preparation, the hunt for a hedge fund job can be exasperating at times. Setbacks and rejections are inevitable, as is the case for most on the job quest, and setbacks and rejections are certainly not exclusive to those seeking a career in the hedge fund industry.

Improvements in unemployment rates do not translate into the hedge fund industry, which is, and will continue to be, a highly competitive arena. In short, it has always been a challenge to break into the industry and the broad improvement in the overall job market has had little to no effect on one’s prospects in the hedge fund industry.

Maintaining Your Edge

Job seekers need to guard against the debilitating effects of setback and rejection. While the emotional wear and tear is all too real, allowing it to overwhelm you, only spells disaster for future opportunities. Job seekers of all stripes, but particularly those pursuing ambitions for a hedge fund job, must project an image of unshakable confidence.

Avoid be overwhelmed by recognizing that you have no control over the obstacles you face, while understanding that you have total control over how you react to these obstacles. After all, most of what you are experiencing emotionally is the result of having no control, so let go! Accept it, and work only on that which you can controlyour reaction.

Avoid the Negative Spiral

After weeks of sending out resumes, mining your network and endless interviews, with no success, one’s natural reaction may be to push even harder. While a laudable notion, such persistence can become mindless and unproductive. The experts tell us that we need to disconnect, so that we can restore our energy and recharge our minds.

Establish a job-search routine, carve out time for yourself, and engage in physical activity to avoid the negative spiral.

Seek Feedback from Those You Trust

Having taken the opportunity to step back, restore your energy and recharge your mind, open yourself to the constructive criticism of those you trust. In concert with family members, trusted friends and associates, review your cover letters, resumes, social profiles, and digital footprints.

Make certain your qualifications are clearly and accurately stated, any supporting documentation is error free, and your digital footprint is professional and pleasing to prospective employers.

Consider mock interviews with a mentor to gather a better understanding of how you are coming across to hiring managers because, the longer you have been searching, the greater is one’s tendency to become negative.

Make the Necessary Adjustments

Armed with fresh perspectives and a refreshed mind, one must make the appropriate course corrections as revealed through interaction with family, trusted friends and associates, and mentors. The job-search process can be a humbling one―it can damage one’s confidence and diminish one’s positivism. Be alert to this reality and be constantly on guard with respect to your thoughts.

Ensure that you remain positive and always strive to make course corrections as the need arises. Most of all, recognize that this situation will not go on forever―you will land that hedge fund job!

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This may not be the time. While it is true that hedge fund starts are outpacing closures, the fact is, new hedge fund firms are not likely to be in the market for hedge fund professionals in the middle stages of their careers.

Why?

Because the majority of startups are firms seeded by established funds, senior colleagues are brought over to the new fund and the focus, necessarily, is on junior level hires. This is the reason most newly launched firms are usually on the hunt for experienced, early-career-stage professionals, although there are opportunities for senior level people who have the ability to draw clientele…rainmakers.

Operational hires typically come from the ranks of experienced professionals that have proven their ability to generate revenue and are not overly risk averse. This means senior level people who then hire junior level staff to mentor. Hedge funds are more inclined to hire less expensive junior staff that they can rotate as necessary rather than hiring mid-level staff with specific sector/industry experience.

This staffing philosophy holds true with back and front office staffing. Hires will include senior managers and junior staff, but mid-level staffing is deferred.

Where Are the Best Opportunities?

As stated earlier, opportunities for junior level staff abound, but perhaps the best opportunities in the industry at present are for those with hard-science degrees, which include mathematicians, engineers and developers. Quantitative traders and analysts are in high demand, as are programmers with expertise in MatLab, SQL, Java, Hadoop, Q, kdb+, C#, C++, HTML5, Python and R, and other programming languages such as Julia, whose growth rate is impressive, with hedge funds being foremost among early-adopters.

It is important to recognize the developing interest fundamental hedge fund firms are showing in artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data. A number of funds pursuing a fundamental investment strategy have shown a keen interest in blending quantitative strategies with existing fundamental strategies, which creates an even larger market for the skill sets identified earlier. These blended strategies have been dubbed ‘quantamental’.

As greater numbers of hedge fund firms launch hybrid quantamental funds, there has been a substantial increase in data science hires from academia and from Silicon Valley. Quantamental firms are also showing interest in candidates with artificial intelligence and/or machine learning experience, capable of helping portfolio managers make investment decisions.

Final Thoughts

While mid-level hedge fund professionals may be best served by concentrating their efforts on earning a promotion at their present firm, those at the junior level, those with hard-science degrees and those with programming skills are currently in the best position to find placement in a hedge fund firm.

The hedge fund industry has witnessed extraordinary growth in quantitative strategies and now appears poised to see similar growth in quantamental strategies. The result is that in the current job market, opportunities for employment are peaking for junior level professionals and for those with hard-science skills.

For those with a combination of junior level and quantitative skills, the world is your oyster.

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Does an MBA Provide a Fast Track to a Hedge Fund Job?

March 19, 2018

Let’s begin by saying that no one should be discouraged from pursuing an MBA. However, it is important that one is clear on the motive for doing so. If the motive is to fast track employment with a hedge fund, one might be in for disappointment. Some Harsh Facts According to the 2018 Hedge Fund […]

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What Do You Think About the S&P 500 as a Benchmark Now?

February 19, 2018

The January 2018 results for aggregate hedge fund performance have been published. According to HFR, the industry showed a 2.8 percent gain. In contrast, the S&P 500 gained 5.7 percent in January before plummeting in the wake of February’s correction. Year-to-date gains for the S&P 500 as of February 16 stood at 2.19 percent, 61 […]

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How Bright Is the Future for Hedge Fund Jobs?

December 11, 2017

As 2017 marches to its close, thoughts inevitably turn to the promise and challenge of the New Year. The hedge fund industry is on track to achieve its most successful year since 2013 in terms of gains and assets under management. Year-to-date gains, by most reports are 7.5 percent and assets under management have reached […]

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Can You Write Your Way into a Hedge Fund Job?

October 16, 2017

People of diverse backgrounds have found a home in the hedge fund industry – lawyers, computer scientists, investment bankers and public accountants, to cite a few. According to the 2017 Hedge Fund Compensation Report, the previous professional backgrounds of about 14 percent of hedge fund professionals are lumped into an amorphous category termed “other”, which […]

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NYC Job Seekers Need to Prepare for a Change in the Law

October 2, 2017

Have you heard? In an effort to close the wage-gap between men and women in the workplace, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) signed an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law. This law takes effect on Halloween. Commencing October 31, no employer may inquire into the salary history of prospective […]

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