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How to Get a Job in Securities Sales and Trading

Trading typically involves moving commodities, brokering bonds, or buying and selling stocks. The work is most definitely challenging but the rewards are limitless. If you feel your personality is well suited to the daily stresses financial services can bring then this article will give you an idea of career paths, necessary certifications, and what recruiters are looking for in a new hire.

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After the economic downturn of 2008 government regulation changed the landscape of trading jobs. Freedom for traders to take risks has been stifled. However, there are plenty of excellent career paths in trading and lucrative bonuses to be earned. Often, trading jobs are found at hedge funds, asset management firms, and investment banks. With proper licensing, education, and certifications, job seekers can become very competitive in this arena, but their personality must have what it takes. Some common trading job paths are as follows:

  • Hedge funds: these are the most wanted trading positions in the world of finance. Traders can make enormous sums of money throughout their careers and may eventually start their own hedge fund. Individuals seeking a hedge fund job should be comfortable with the idea of taking discretionary risks with large amounts of customer funds.

  • Asset Management firms: portfolio managers analyse the stock market extensively and make internal asset allocation preferences. Buy-side (internal) traders will then be instructed by the in-house portfolio managers to execute trading at optimal times and prices.

  • Investment Banks: new trading employees typically enter investment banks as product development specialists. Job descriptions involve using bank capital to purchase specific securities, such as fixed income and equities, in order to expand bank profits.

Getting Hired

Investment banking recruiters will seek specific personality traits such as the ability to handle rejection before hiring a person as a junior trader. It is not unusual for a candidate to take extensive personality tests before series 7/63 sponsorship. Upon the successful completion of a series 7 and series 63, new hires become junior traders or assist tenured firm partners.

College education goes a long way when staying competitive in the investment banking world. The industry values financial degrees as well as mathematics and MBAs. Many traders and investment banking professionals begin their career directly out of a respected university and learn the trade through entry level positions. The ability to enter investment trading positions without advanced education is on the decline.

Finding Success as a Trader

The investment trading industry as a whole has a cutthroat reputation.  It is competitive and volatile. Many professionals will fail or be fired because they lack specific character traits necessary to hunt for the next big client and take rejection to heart. Successful traders are truly dedicated to the art of selling and closing deals and can overcome objections easily. They cultivate extensive social networks because they understand the next big account can be landed anytime and anywhere. Talented investment traders control client interactions through strategic decisions and can turn conversation on a dime.

RELATED: Trading Floor Compensation: The Real Story


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