Hedge Fund Career Guide Part 1: Essential Attributes


Welcome to the Hedgethink Hedge Fund Career guide – a new information and advice resource for those who are interested in pursuing a career in the hedge fund industry. Throughout this series, we shall be looking at several aspects of the industry from a careers point of view, including:

  • What jobs are available, and what do they entail?
  • What qualifications and experience will be required?
  • How can you prepare for a career in hedge funds?
  • Where can you find the opportunities?
  • Where can you find more information and resources?
  • How can you increase your chances of landing your dream role?

Today, we shall begin by looking at some of the things that hedge funds tend to look for in an employee. While there are many examples of successful hedge fund professionals that make over a million dollars a year without ever having graduated from high school, there are some attributes that can increase your chances of landing a job in the industry, such as:

  • Industry certification – for example the Certified Hedge Fund Professional (CHP) qualification
  • Educational background – MBAs and PhDs from well-regarded universities, particularly Ivy League, can be a big help, as can the connections made at these institutions
  • Evidence of loyalty, humility, and passion
  • Big names on your CV – for example, experience in a large wire house
  • Quantitative experience and abilities
  • Capital raising skills: how much money did you personally make or bring in to the firms you have worked for?
  • A willingness to, and experience of, working primarily for high bonuses and commissions

But while some hedge funds – such as Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates – have very strict criteria for the people they bring in, others have less stringent requirements. In the main, hedge funds are looking for candidates who are hungry, humble, and smart.

Hedge fund career advice from the pros:

“You’re not just looking for someone to come in and learn all about your strategy and how you operate and then move to another firm or spin off their own firm. This industry is not one that [fosters] a 9-to-5 job. You want someone that will come in early and put in those extra hours — even on the weekend, when necessary — because your benefits are going to be exponential.” Evan Rapoport, CEO of HedgeCo networks

“The competition to keep the edge and to outperform is very high. Consider not only whether you truly thrive under pressure but also whether you’re good at synthesizing and evaluating a lot of data quickly.” Constance Melrose, Managing Director for North America at eFinancialcareers.com

“Hedge fund types have short attention spans, and they are not very comfortable networking,” he observes. That means you have to push hard yourself and avoid taking rejection personally.” Roy Cohen, author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.

“Leverage whatever contacts you have,” she says. Because hedge funds are unregulated and tend to keep their business under wraps, they don’t hold events that are open to the public. “You can’t just walk into a hedge fund conference and sign up,” Constance Melrose

“Since hedge funds use lots of metrics, you should be specific when presenting your own accomplishments. For instance, if you played sports in college and set a record or captained a team, note that on your résumé. Or if you’ve worked as an institutional salesman and you want to make the transition to hedge fund fundraiser, note your concrete sales accomplishments. Use numbers wherever you can.” Roy Cohen

“…you will experience failures both in your personal life and career. I hope you won’t fail as spectacularly as I did and get rejected on your first 29 job interviews, but some failures in life are inevitable. Work through them and, most importantly, learn from them.” Glenn Dubin, Highbridge Capital Management

“Collaborate with the best people you possibly can. When you see a person, get to know a person, who seems like a great guy or great gal to work with on something, try to find a way to do it because that gives you some reach and some scope and it’s also fun to work with terrific people.” James Simons, Renaissance Technologies

“I don’t think that there’s a problem if people have weaknesses and they know they have weaknesses. The greatest barrier that people have in their own personal evolution is not understanding their weaknesses and running into them all the time.” Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates