I figured that I'd give back/pay it forward in one form or another after being in the industry for a while. Frankly, the most relevant thing I could think of was advice on people searching for new opportunities. My advice is more tailored towards fundamental investing hedge fund recruiting as that's where most of my experience lies.
The competition for hedge funds is surprisingly strong and weak at the same time. The disparity between how well candidates are prepared is frankly astounding. This is not only in level/quality of experience but how well candidates know how to communicate their message or pique someone's interest. Here's a list of ideas on how to stand out / what not to do below.
1. Your network
Your best application is sent via a referral. Use and abuse your network. Not only do referrals have a much higher chance of getting you an interview, your resume is likely landing in more relevant shops as well.
2. Include a pitch
If your background isn't top tier, I'd strongly recommend sending a pitch with your resume. This pitch should be extremely well thought out and should demonstrate peak ability. Pitches do not need to be long, but excellent pitches that would pique my interest demonstrate ability to understand a business (beyond what IR tells you), ability to model, and ability to conduct primary research. It frankly doesn't matter exactly what you pitch as most interviewers, including myself, likely don't get real leverage from work done outside the firm except a "this could be interesting." What matters the most is demonstrating ability, and frankly, this isn't always a good investment pick unfortunately. A good pitch isn't the same as a good investment. I've chosen to interview people with less than ideal backgrounds because of a pitch attached.
3. Due dilligence
Before you interview, do your due diligence on the founder or PM of the fund and tailor your answers to what would be acceptable to someone with researched philosophy. While I wouldn't overdo it, I would for example, not try to explain why my quarterly modeling led to unique insight to a long term investor. If there's a real difference in philosophy, don't apply.
4. Stock pitches
If you haven't done it yet, always have 1 - 2 solid stock pitches ready. Part of my interviewing process is picking at holes in a pitch. If you have enough experience in the industry, you can usually spot them quickly. It's also ok not always know all the answers and admit weakness. "I don't know" is a better answer than making something up 99% of the time.
5. Process vs results
On your resume, you should demonstrate results in process and not result for results sake. It's actually a negative for most people to say they beat the market by X%, especially if they're more junior. Writing "interviewed 20 primary contact sourced organically, leading to investment" reads much better than "stock pitch went up 50% versus industry being up 10%".
6. Interview questions
Try to not answer too quickly and really think about why the interviewer is asking you the question before answering.
7. Tailor your resume
I would have multiple versions of your resume ready based on different opportunities
8. Career trajectory
Before you apply, think about career trajectory. If you are a financials analyst applying to a financials focused fund, chances of you being able to lateral to anything but yet another financials fund are slim. At some point you will likely have to specialize, but I personally recommend figuring out the direction yourself than it being chosen for you.
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