Archive for June, 2008

References ?

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Many candidates and professionals ask, “Who should I use as references when I am actively looking for a new position?”  The simple answer is any professional who can effectively communicate to your future employer four main points:

1.       Your work experience – your present and past responsibilities

2.       Communication skills  - both written and verbal, public speaking ability

3.       Personality – your drive, ability to handle stress, quick learner, etc.

4.       Work successes and professional goals  - promotions, awards, employee rating

This person should have first hand knowledge of these areas and ideally be your manager, client,  or work peer.  The tough question becomes, “Who to ask when you do not want anyone at your present employer to know that you are actively searching for a new role?”

In this case you must rely on your previous managers, clients and co-workers to act as a reference on your behalf for your potential new employer.  Ideally your relationship with these previous contacts has been maintained by you even though you no longer work with/for them. Ideally you would have worked with these individuals directly within the last five years. 

Of course the best and most powerful reference usually is from a present manager, client or work peer and you should look hard at your present relationships to see if there is anyone who you may trust with providing a reference while not informing anyone else of your intentions.  Your manager is usually the last person on this list but in many cases a co-worker or client can be a good resource. If you are applying for a client service role, an excellent reference from a present client can seal deal for you.  Also think about anyone who has recently left your present firm who may be able to provide a reference for you?

 

I highly suggest that you always contact anyone who you may desire to put on your reference list and ask for their permission before doing so.  This provides them with an easy out if they either do not want to give you a reference or would give you a bad reference.  Follow up with those individuals on your list and let them know if they should be expecting a call and from whom. If they are expecting a call they will be prepared to talk about you and will also be keeping alert for the call which in today’s business world can be very important.

Students and Recent Grads  Two quick points:

 

 

  1. Your parents and family members are not good references unless they have a pre-existing relationship with whomever you are interviewing with

 

 

     2.  Excellent references are Teachers, Coaches, Summer Employment Managers, Internships Advisors, Mentors, and Present Managers

 Conclusion

In today’s litigious world many companies have policies against providing references to other employers and therefore getting people to provide references except by their closest working relationships has gotten much harder. Many firms specifically tell managers to not provide references and if the managers are found to have provided references this can have an adverse reaction to their own professional career.

To be honest, the truth is that in today’s world many employers do not put a ton of value in references unless they are coming from their own associates or established business relationships, but you must always be prepared to provide a list of references.  Furthermore it is your job to make sure the list is active and correct. 

 

A New Hedge Fund Strategy Emerges – With Amazing Perks

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

As has been discussed and hypothesized in this Blog for the last few weeks with the success of Big Brown (and yes I know he did finish last at Belmont) there has emerged a new Hedge Fund strategy based on the success of future race horses.  We have mentioned in the past, Big Brown’s owners International Equine Acquisitions Holdings have planned to start marketing a horse based Hedge Fund this coming fall with the hope of raising $100million. 

Just a week ago it was announced that another collection of Horse Racing Legends were in the final stages of creating a Hedge Fund based on the future earnings of race horses.  The team for this new fund includes Nick Zitto, D. Wayne Lucas and Bob Baffert; all successful professionals in the horse racing field.  The fund Thoroughbred Legends Racing Fund is looking to raise around $100 million as well and will focus on identifying high potential horses early in their life span.

As with a traditional fund the fee structure is believed to be 2% and 20%.  Although this fund will look to make investments in horses as early as possible, hoping to avoid high cost bidding wars at the auctions, their entrance into the space will still cause the prices paid for these horses to increase.  As these prices increase so will everything else about the horse racing business.

Since both funds hope to own numerous horses and hence spread their risk out over as many as a hundred horses, even less pedigreed horses will have to be added to their stables.  These long shots will be where the real alpha could be produced even if the horses do not make it to the Breeder’s cup. And more importantly, to assure the funds return positive numbers these horses will compete in races throughout the country and a more operational/business management component I believe will become a greater part of the horse racing industry.

As I discussed in earlier Blogs I believe these funds will probably be able to raise the AUM they desire for a few main reasons:

1. The strategy has no correlation to the more traditional investment benchmarks. 

2. The assets behind the strategy can be traded and sold off at any point of the investment.

3. Although the goal is for your horse to win, this is not necessary to make a return on your investment.

4. A winning horse can offer a profitable revenue stream for many years; hence enabling the fund to show a consistent non-correlated alpha producing return for many years.

5. What other investment allows you at the next Kentucky Derby to raise a Mint Julep in the owner’s box to your horse. And if your horse wins, allows you to celebrate down in The Winner’s Circle - no other hedge fund investment has those perks!

7 Ways to Get Ready for Your Phone Interview

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Got a phone interview? Congratulations! This is your big chance to make that all-important first impression.

Yes, there is some pressure. Just because it’s a phone call doesn’t mean it’s any less crucial to you getting the job. You don’t need to stress out over it — you can do this! — but you do need to prepare.

Want some help? These seven steps will get you ready to ace your phone interview.

1.       Set a Time in Advance  You may think you’re being flexible or courteous by telling the interviewer to call you whenever it works for them, but it’s truly better for everybody if you arrange a date and time in advance. That way, you’re both available, prepared and can give your full attention to the other person. Most interviewers prefer this option over a never-ending game of phone tag.

 

Setting a time also gives you the chance to gather your paperwork, collect your thoughts and find a quiet place to take the call. Speaking of which…

2.       Choose a Good Location

Be choosy when selecting a location for your phone interview. Make sure it’s a quiet, tranquil place, free from distractions. Pick a spot you know well (so you won’t be surprised by unexpected noises or people).

If you’re job-hunting while currently employed — and your boss doesn’t know you’re looking — don’t take the call at the office. No matter how quiet it is, or how careful you think you’re being, the office is out of the question.

 

 

 

I recommend a home office (if you have one) or any room with a door that can shut out most of the noise and traffic around you.

3.       Gather Your Materials

Just because you’re on the phone doesn’t mean you won’t need the usual interview materials. Have a pen and paper handy to take notes, and keep your résumé within reach (if you draw a blank on a question, your résumé probably has the answers).

 

Your résumé is also a good reminder of how you’ve presented yourself to the person on the other end. Be consistent in how you describe your experience and qualifications, using your résumé as a guideline.

For my clients, I take it one step further. I have them complete my Interview Cheat Sheet ahead of time and keep it in front of them during the interview. (Want your own cheat sheet? Stop by my site http://www.TheResumeGirl.com)

 

 

 

All that talking, coupled with good old-fashioned nervousness, might leave you parched midway through the interview. Keep a glass of water on hand in case you need to whet your whistle or quiet a coughing fit.

4.       Answer the Phone Professionally

Answering the phone is the employer’s first live impression of you — it’s like the in-person handshake — and you must make it count.

 

I recommend answering “Hello. This is {first name}.” It’s not only professional but it also eliminates the awkward guessing game. The interviewer will know she’s talking to the right person right away.

 

If you have a shared phone line, let everyone know you’re expecting an important call and that you want to be the one who answers. Now is a good time to make sure your voice mail greeting is professional, too. Because while your friends might love calling your voice mail just to hear that one quote from Zoolander, employers won’t be impressed.

 5.       Dress to Impress

What? You’re on the phone, right? The interviewer can’t even see you!

 

True, but multiple studies have shown that people who dress professionally act more professionally. Think about it: if you’re lounging on the couch in your jammies, you’re not going to feel like — or speak like— a polished pro.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to bring out your three-piece suit and tie. Find something that’s comfortable without being too casual.

 

 

6.       Actively Listen and Talk

Because the interviewer can’t see you, you have to use your voice and listening abilities to communicate your professionalism and interest.

A great way to showcase your communication skills is to use active listening techniques like repeating questions back to the interviewer, and referencing earlier points in the call throughout the discussion.

 

 

 

7.       Land an In-Person Interview

In the simplest terms, the phone interview is just a low-cost way for the company to figure out if you’re worth the time to bring you into the office for a face-to-face interview. So to make the cut, you need to give your interviewer a reason to want to meet you in person.

For instance, if your interviewer asks if you have any questions or comments, let them know that you have some ideas you’d like to share. Tell them you’d love the opportunity to talk more about these ideas in person!

 

 

 

About The Résumé GirlLike these tips? Want more?
Visit my website www.TheResumeGirl.com to schedule your free initial consultation!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview Tips Part 2

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Here is the second half of our Interview Tips:

1.  When you arrive at the office make sure that you treat everyone you meet with respect and consideration. You need to make a positive impression on everyone for you never know who has a say in your candidacy.  I actually know one firm which will question everyone who meets the candidate from the receptionist up, and all of their input has value.

2.  When you meet your interviewer make sure to look them in the eyes and greet them with a firm hand shake.  Remember your manners. In today’s world they can set you apart from your competition.

3.  When you meet your interviewer make sure to look them in the eyes and greet them with a firm hand shake.  Remember your manners. In today’s world they can set you apart from your competition.

4.  Show your passion for the investing.  People want to hire people who have the passion for the same things.

      5.  Always remember to write a Thank You note and yes they can be emailed, emailing the note does get it to the recipient much quicker then any other method which can show passion and keep you fresh in their mind. A hand written note goes very far in today’s world if it is received within 24 hours and is readable. Try to write a thank you note to everyone you meet with for at least 10 minutes, so make sure to get business cards.

Private Equity Paths

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Not all Private Equity firm are alike and it is these differences which intelligent and professional candidates need to identify to be successful in obtaining a role with a Private Equity firm.  Although this is a somewhat broad brush stroke the argument can easily be made that there are two main types of Private Equity funds: transactional and operational.

For candidates interested in making a career in the Private Equity space they must first understand the nature of the business so they can know not only who to apply to for  a position but more importantly how to properly position themselves with each firm.

A transactional fund looks for deals where they can pay below book value or the smallest premium possible for an entity and then resell the entity in a few months to a competitor/partner or perhaps a few years for larger premium.  These funds are looking for an entity that may be out of favor at the present time but within a couple of years “at most” they believe will be highly desired.  Furthermore they look for an entity which they believe may be worth more money broken up into smaller pieces, rather then kept whole.

These firms are looking for people with strong investment banking experience accompanied with solid transactional experience.  They want financial modelers and individuals who can identify value within the different parts of the capital structure of an entity.  These transaction oriented firms typically hire from the major investment banks and in a down market such as the present one, they may hire senior investment bankers. 

An operational fund looks for deals where they can acquire an entity which they feel is being mis-managed or run inefficiently by present management.  Or they may be looking for deals where a company is searching for additional capital or operational expertise to perhaps increase their product line or build a new factory to increase production.  

Since this value is predominately achieved by streamlining operations and enabling the firms to run more effectively these Private Equity funds look for individuals who possess operational experience. These funds recruit heavily out of the management consultant ranks and other operating companies. They value candidate with real life experience and in many cases either proven operators or individuals with a strong operational foundation.

Since there are two types of funds it is very important for candidates to not only understand the value their experience offers the funds, but also which funds will properly value this experience due to their firms investment strategy.  Furthermore it is very important for candidates to know what type of work they enjoy performing. Obviously there are big differences between these two strategies and the professional career paths that are associated with these two types of firms. 

Interview Tips Part One

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

For today’s recruiting focused Blog I wanted to offer some Interview Tips which in today’s market seem to be even more important because you need to set yourself apart from the competition in order to get that exciting new job.

  1. Always be prepared for your interview.  Prior to your interview visit the firm’s website and carefully review the entire website. This also includes reading the papers the morning of your interview or searching the web to see if any articles have come up regarding the firm where you will be interviewing.  If you have access to a Bloomberg machine I would suggest looking up the firm right before your interview.  In the case of most Hedge Funds this will require you receiving a password from the firm prior to the interview.  Most firms are very open to providing you the password if you ask, so ask!

  2. Plan to arrive 5 to 10 minutes early to any interview.  This provides you some extra time if something should go wrong.  As well if the firm requires you to fill out an application this will enable you to start the process earlier and not be rushed.  If an application needs to be filled out complete it to the best of your ability at that time, if need be send a follow up email with additional information.

  3. When reviewing the firm’s website make sure to read the bio of the individual who is interviewing you if available.  Your goal is to find a commonality between the two of you which you can offer during the interview. This shows that not only have you reviewed their website, i.e. done your home work, but also when you leave he will have something meaningful to remember you by.

  4. Try your best to be properly dressed for the interview; this has become much harder in today’s more casual marketplace.  Some firms still wear suits while other have gone business casual.  If you can identify the environment of the firm feel free to wear what ever is the firms environment but otherwise I would always suggested wearing a suit.  If you are worried a suit may be too formal, put a fun tie into the outfit, this will show your personality, and most likely one of your passions.

  5. Ask well thought out questions, questions which show you have prepared yourself for the interview.

Tip’s 6-10 next week!

Hedge Fund Blog

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

In response to a recent email I received I decided to list a few of the Hedge Fund Blogs that I know of out on the web.  For the most part these are blogs that I visit on a regular basis to receive different perspectives regarding events occurring within the Hedge Fund space.

Depending on the specific blog a wide range of issues may be addressed from recent legal changes affecting the hedge fund landscape, to prime brokerage recommendations, to technical analysis, to editorials on investment ideas, to comments about street rumors and major fund implosions and defections.   

 

As I am sure that I do not know of every blog on the web if you can think of any other Hedge Fund blogs I would be very interested in learning about them.

Here is my list in no particular order:

Richard Wilson - covers a wide range of topics but is focused purely on Hedge Funds

Alphaville – covers a wide range of topics and news worthy issues in the investment space including Hedge Funds

Information Arbitrage – written by a Wall Street alum, includes postings on Hedge Funds 

NYT Deal Book – covers a wide range of topics including Private Equity and Hedge Funds

Equity Private - This blog is not focused on Hedge Funds but rather Private Equity but I include it because it can be very funny!

Response to Comment from PrivateEquityJobs.com Blog

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

“In my job search I’m seeing quite a few “Private Equity Investor Relations Associate/Analyst” listings. Is there a clearly defined career path for these roles? Do the infrastructure roles enjoy the same “carry” opportunities as the investment side?”

Comment posted by Gary P. in response to an earlier blog posting. 

The career path for an Investor Relations professional is not very well defined within the Private Equity space; and this role can actually lead to many different roles including Director of Marketing, Chief Operations Officer, and Managing Partner.  To reach these higher level positions typically requires that the professional must join another firm where their rolodex will be extremely valuable, although this is not always the case.

An Investors Relations professional’s greatest value is their rolodex and their ability to raise assets using their rolodex.  As a more junior Investor Relations professional one learns “how the game of raising assets” is played. 

As you learn these skills, you will have constant interaction with both present clients and potential clients, including Investment Consultants; your network and rolodex will be constantly growing.  It is extremely important at that point to learn how to manage your rolodex effectively in order for you to provide a high level of service which will enable you to take your rolodex with you to another firm.

During the interview process both you and your rolodex will be interviewed. It is very important for you to truly understand your rolodex and both its strengths and weaknesses.  For instance do not interview with Real Estate strategy fund if your relationships focus on equity investments.   Many professionals will say understanding one’s rolodex sets apart a good Investor Relations/Marketing professional from a bad one. 

A good Investor Relations/Marketing professional understands how their entire firm operates and in many cases these professionals possess the keys to the assets i.e. client relationships and this is why they can become Chief Operating Officers or Managing Partners. 

Although most junior Investor Relations professionals do not receive a defined part of the “carry” they do receive a performance driven bonus usually based on a couple of stats including assets raised, assets kept, and the fund’s overall performance.  As an Investor Relations professional becomes more senior and starts to handle more marketing and operational duties within the firm they almost always have a defined percentage of the “carry.”

In regards to Infrastructure roles as a whole, these positions typically do not receive a defined part of the “carry” until they are more senior within the firm, such as Director of Marketing, CFO, COO, or Partner.  The lower level roles do receive a performance driven bonus which comes from the funds fee pool but they rarely are offered a defined percentage of the carry. The bonus is usually calculated by a combination of qualities including fund’s performance and employee’s performance.  The bonuses paid to more junior professionals are usually paid on a yearly basis and sometimes a small bonus is paid at the completion of a capital transaction.

How to Make the Most of Your Summer Internship – Part II

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

In my first posting, I posted five of my top ten tips on “How to Make the Most of Your Summer Internship.”  If you didn’t check it out, do it now!  It has great content for both summer interns and working professionals alike.  And if you don’t, you’ll be missing some great advice!  So, without further adieu, this week, I’m polishing off the top ten list with tips #6-#10: 

Tip #6  Conduct Informational InterviewsNot only do informational interviews serve as an excellent avenue for primary industry and company research, but one that is well planned can even lead to potential job interviews.  So reach out to colleagues and other professionals within your organization and conduct informational interviews with them to learn more about their positions.

 

 

Tip #7  Build Your Professional NetworkIn your internship, you’ll be surrounded by professionals in your field of interest so take the initiative and network with them.  Ask them to lunch.  Attend social networking events.  Be a presence at intern socials.  Now is the time to make the important connections that could lead to a full-time job offer so don’t miss out on your best opportunity to build your professional network.

 

 

Tip #8  Solicit Professional References and Letters of RecommendationYou should solicit professional references and letters of recommendation before the end of your internship as you’ll definitely need them during the interview process for a full-time position and even for future internships!  Be sure to only ask individuals who can provide you with a positive recommendation and can give specific examples of your performance and character traits.  And try to use an indirect approach when soliciting them.  Doing so politely provides individuals with the ability to decline if they feel they cannot provide you with a positive recommendation or reference.

 

 

Tip #9  Prepare for Your Exit InterviewThis is not only your opportunity to receive constructive feedback on your overall internship experience from your supervisor, but also your turn to re-cap your internship highlights to them and discuss potential “next steps.”  To do so, you’ll need to have an updated copy of your résumé that showcases all of your internship accomplishments, responsibilities, and completed projects.  So be prepared and get your résumé together in advance of this meeting.

 

 

Tip #10  Leave on a Positive NoteLeave on a positive note by hand-writing a “thank you” note to your supervisor and colleagues.

 

 

About The Résumé Girl

Like my tips?  Want to learn more about how I can help you? So, visit my website www.TheResumeGirl.com to schedule your free initial consultation! (I specialize in helping college students, recent graduates, and finance professionals land their dream job or internship.)