If your goal is to make a top salary in the world of finance, a successful career in hedge funds might be in your sites. The pay-offs can be big, even for entry-level financial analyst jobs with a hedge fund. According to the 2014 Glocap Hedge Fund Compensation report released in late October, entry-level analysts at mid-performing hedge funds were looking at annual compensation somewhere in the neighborhood of $330,000 in 2013.1
Top hedge fund managers are “notorious” for taking home millions of dollars. According to Glocap, average salaries for portfolio managers were coming in at $2.2 million.1 Sign me up you say? Well, even getting entry-level finance jobs with a hedge fund isn’t easy, and becoming one of the top hedge fund managers is even more difficult.
You need to master the art of consistently managing hedge funds well, which means you know how to reduce risks (hedging) while gaining a sizeable return for your investors. No easy task.
Tenacity and Experience Are Required
If you want to get your foot in the door, you will need to immerse yourself in the hedge fund world by doing your research about the industry, the key players and the funds you are interested in pursuing (including the sectors they specialize in and strategies they use).
Two to three years of prior experience through internships, work at other types of finance firms or hedge fund service companies (experience with prime brokerage, risk management or hedge fund administration) can help you make contacts and get the experience hedge fund recruiters are looking for in an entry-level candidate.2
It also takes a special breed to succeed in the hedge fund game. Think you have what it takes to make it? The following personality traits are common among people who succeed at hedge fund careers (as well as many other finance careers).2,3
1. Competitive. Do you have an ongoing desire to outpace and outperform your competition?
2. Can handle high stress levels. Do you thrive under pressure instead of curling up in a ball.
3. Self-disciplined. Can you get the job done without someone looking over your shoulder?
4. Analytical, number cruncher. Can you review enormous volumes of data and make sense of it easily?
5. Quick on your feet. Are you able to make fast and accurate decisions without getting flustered?
6. People person. Can you hack the grind of networking so you can make connections and get ahead?
7. Focused and flexible. Does switching gears multiples times a minute, hour, day … not throw you for a loop?
8. Concise. Can you effectively make your point in a few short sentences?
9. Passionate about work. Do you go all-in when you get a job and seek to learn everything you possibly can about it?
10. Goal oriented. Do deadlines and the opportunity to earn a big paycheck keep you at the front of the pack?
As with most finance careers, getting ahead in the hedge fund industry takes time and a dedication to growing your professional network. Use top financial sites such as Doostang’s to search for hedge fund jobs in your city of choice, apply online then reach out to your contacts to see who has connections at the funds where you have applied. This can help improve your odds of getting an interview.
1. Holliday, K. “Hedge Funds: This industry has an entry level salary of $335,000.” CNBC website; Nov. 1, 2013. Available at http://www.cnbc.com/id/101161993. Accessed Nov. 25, 2013.
2. Wilson, R. “10 Steps to a Career in Hedge Funds.” Investopedia website; July 8, 2013. Available at http://www.investopedia.com/articles/financialcareers/08/hedge-fund-career.asp. Accessed Nov. 25, 2013.
3. Adams, S. “How to Get a Job at a Hedge Fund.” Forbes website; July 23, 2013. Available at http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/07/23/how-to-get-a-job-at-a-hedge-fund-3/. Accessed Nov. 25, 2013.