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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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Hedge funds have long dominated the alternative asset class, both in terms of assets under management(AUM), and also in sheer numbers of firms. As reported by Prequin, hedge fund AUM reached a record high of $3.61 trillion through the first half of 2018.

However, again according to Prequin, the alternate asset universe was around $8.8 trillion at the end of 2017 and, although the hedge fund industry has a generous slice of the piewho has the rest?

The Alternative Asset Pie

Alternative assets are broadly defined as any investment that is not a stock, bond, or certificate. The primary alternative assets are hedge funds, private equity, venture capital, real estate, infrastructure, private debt and natural resources.

Arguably, hedge funds lead the list in terms of assets under management. However, private equity firms are challenging the hedge fund industry for its crown. Private equity assets under management currently stand at $3.1 trillion, an uncomfortably close second place. The alternative investment universe is expected to reach $14 trillion by the end of 2023.

If alternative assets under management do reach $14 trillion by 2023, which asset class is likely to capture the $5.2 trillion up for grabs?

What Institutional Investors Are Saying

Prequin’s Investor Outlook: Alternative Assets H1 2018 suggests that private equity firms may hold an advantage. For example, institutional investors’ general perception of private equity is 3 times more positive than is their perception of hedge funds. Moreover, institutional investors’ long term plans signal a fading enthusiasm for hedge fund investment. One in four report they plan to reduce hedge fund investment, while one in five are entertaining an increase in investment.

In sharp contrast, only one in twenty-five institutional investors plan to reduce their private equity investment, while one two plan to increase their investment in private equity.

But Wait…

Pitchbook, viewed by many as the doyen of private equity, casts doubt on the ability of private equity to dethrone hedge funds. In their Global PE & VC Fund Performance Report, Pitchbook acknowledges the difficulties private equity firms have had in beating the markets over the last decade, with only 2013 being a year in which at least on-half of private equity firms beat the market…and just barely, at that.

What about Hedge Fund Jobs?

Hedge fund job seekers should focus on the positive. If the next 5 years sees an inflow of capital in the $5 trillion range, roughly $1 trillion annually, the hedge fund industry is certainly going to see its share of that inflow.

How much of that flows to hedge funds is up for debate. However, the industry’s closest competitor, private equity, isn’t as well poised to claw in the lion’s share as some would like us to believe. Even if projections are correct, hedge fund assets under management will grow to $4.7 trillion by 2023. This level of growth, even in the most dismal of scenarios, bodes well for growth in hedge fund jobs. If the current crop of hedge fund professionals can improve performance levels, the future will be even brighter.

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What Is Going On with the Hedge Fund Industry?

October 15, 2018

Here we are, well into the final quarter of 2018, and the hedge fund industry is having something far short of a spectacular year. According to eVestment, aggregate September global hedge fund returns dipped into the negative, with aggregate industry returns of -0.17 percent, bringing year-to-date gains to 0.53 percent, a far cry from the […]

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Do Hedge Funds Deserve All the Criticism?

October 1, 2018

A recent Morningstar article posed the question, “Will Hedge Funds Ever Recover?” Any hedge fund professional should find the title of this piece, at a minimum, condescending, and at most, downright maddening. Averages and Aggregates The financial sector, by nature, relies on numbers…numbers that quantify data. One can be excused for using averages and aggregates, […]

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The Hedonic Treadmill-Is Enough Ever Enough?

September 17, 2018

Previous articles on this site have delved into questions of compensation satisfaction, work/life balance, and job security in the hedge fund industry. These were explored in statistical terms using comprehensive data published in the 2018 Hedge Fund Compensation Report. However, today’s post will look at this subject from an entirely different perspective…a theoretical perspective, known […]

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Is an Ivy League Degree a Must for a Hedge Fund Job?

September 3, 2018

Many of those who aspire to a career in the hedge fund industry believe in the necessity of an Ivy League degree. Others believe that an MBA or other advanced degree is a requirement. While these educational attributes most assuredly enhance a CV, the absence of these attributes does not preclude employment with a hedge […]

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Will Hedge Funds Win the High Stakes Race for Talent?

August 20, 2018

While there has always been keen competition for talent, the battle lines are being clearly drawn between the financial (particularly hedge funds) and the technology sectors. MBA graduates from the London School of Economics (LSE) have opted for the technology sector in large numbers since 2013, when LSE began splitting out the technology sector. Forty-six […]

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