Hedge Fund Career Guide Part 3: Building a Winning Resume

cayman-hedgethink Hedge Fund Career Guide Part 3: Building a Winning Resume

Although networking and making personal contact are important steps towards landing your dream hedge fund job, it will all count for nothing if your resume doesn’t stand out from the crowd. And we’re not talking about the presentation here – although that is of course important. What we’re talking about is the content – and this is something that you may have to spend years working towards.

A strong resume is built on three pillars – specialised knowledge, authority, and proven results. Today, we’re going to talk about the importance of each of these, and the steps that you can take to improve upon each one.

Specialised knowledge

Specialised knowledge can be loosely defined as being knowledge that is practical, functional and specific to the area you work in or the abilities you use in order to excel at your job. The main value of specialised knowledge lies in the time it can save you – and the people you work for.

It could, for example, make the difference between spending 18 months on a task or being able to complete it within just 3 months. It helps you to identify more opportunities, move on them quickly, and execute the necessary tasks efficiently – and when it is multiplied across several years, marks you out as having a strong advantage over the competition. Here are some ideas to help you develop your specialised knowledge:

  • Read two books a month for two years on the area of specialised knowledge that will most help your career.
  • Subscribe to three of the best newsletters from experts in your industry. Try  to focus on those that provide insights, analyses, and white papers, as you learn next to nothing from reading re-hashes of the latest market news.
  • Do a certificate course that is specific your area of specialised knowledge. Being able to show that a third party can verify your specialist knowledge will have a lot more credibility than merely detailing your reading habits.
  • Write one anonymous blog post on your thoughts, best practices, and any lessons learned in your niche area of professional interest, bringing together your learning and other ideas to create your own original concepts.

Authority

In order to position yourself as an authority on your chosen subject, it is well worth creating structures around yourself or your firm so that you can communicate your knowledge and abilities. Ideally, this should be a good match for your area of specialised knowledge, and can be the fruits of gathering this knowledge.

For example, let’s imagine that we have two professionals with the same level of specialised knowledge. One is an armchair critic with a small group of consulting clients, while the other one has written five books and does over 50 press interviews a year on the subject.

Which of these two do you think would come across as being a greater authority on the subject? Of course, it’s the second one – who will likely reap rewards from the opportunities that are coming their way, rather than having to chase them. Here are some tips to help you position yourself as an authority:

  • Publish your own newsletter or blog. Even if you only publish something every two weeks, over time you will still build up quite an impressive library of content.
  • Interview one professional each month for your blog/newsletter. Many professionals are keen for any kind of exposure – and you can leverage this to bring traffic to your blog, gain specialised knowledge, and position yourself as an authority. For example, if you can say you have interviewed 20 of the top experts in the industry, and that you have noted several prevailing trends in their thoughts on certain issues, it can be a powerful way to build your authority on a subject. Of course, in order to attract these top professionals, you have to have strong credentials of your own, and the strength of your specialised knowledge is key to this. As you interview more of them, your questions will evolve into ones that are more refined, pointed, and interesting to answer.
  • Self-publish an e-Book based on your blog posts. This is very easy and cheap to do, and can be a real short-cut to positioning yourself as an authority on a given subject.
  • Create a list of all your past clients. This will show that you have experience and depth, and that you are respected by others to the extent that they have all paid for your services in the past.
  • Speak at conferences. It’s actually a lot easier than you might think to land (unpaid) speaking spots at conferences, seminars, and networking events. As well as helping you to crystallise your ideas on the topic(s) you talk about, it also gives you credibility because it shows that others have invested their valuable time to listen to what you had to say.

Tangible Results

Being able to show real, tangible results is perhaps the most impressive thing you can put in a resume, but it’s also one of the most difficult. This is especially true in service businesses such as the fund management industry, where the extreme levels of confidentiality prevent you from being able to show others what you have achieved for your clients, and how. That said, there are some kinds of tangible result that can be shared, including:

  • Printed out versions of part of the service or end result of the product or service
  • Testimonials from past and current clients, and plenty of them. Also, the more specific they are to the immediate need of your potential employer/client, the better.
  • An offer to give away the first 15-20% of the product or your service for free or on a trial basis to demonstrate your confidence that they will be satisfied with it.
  • Case studies of past clients or employers. This proves that you can work with firms that have differing needs, and that you have found solutions for them, and allows the
  • reader to imagine you solving their problem.
  • A quick tip, lesson, or takeaway in your sales letter that gives your client an immediate benefit. This shows that you are an authority, that you can come up with the goods, and that you have their best interests in mind.