Advice for getting a job in trading

This is a discussion on Advice for getting a job in trading within the Home Trader forums, part of the Trading Career category; Thought I would just have a quick rant because I see so many posts along the lines of "I really ...

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Old Mar 22, 2008, 5:07pm   #1
 
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Advice for getting a job in trading

Thought I would just have a quick rant because I see so many posts along the lines of "I really want a job as a trader but I've got no experience..."

Guess what? Traders trade.

Is it really hard to get experience buying and selling when nowadays you can open a trading account in under five minutes?

I don't think it even matters if you lose money, the fact you BOTHERED to do something; to try and actively learn will stand in your favour.

If you want to be hired by firm you need to demonstate INTEREST.

I tell you what it was so disheartening to sit in rooms taking tests with hundreds of graduates who p*ss all over me when it comes to maths ability and then hear them outside in the reception area saying: "God, did anyone know what the price of a barrel of oil is? And what about where the FTSE closed at? I didn't think of checking that in the FT this morning..."

I sat through test papers with a blank look on my face because I'm not that quick - I can't tell you the answer to 1457 X 19 in 8 seconds but I can tell you the closing price of close to 80 markets, what moves them and ways to trade them profitably.

Seriously; I'm gobsmacked: You're interested in the markets but you don't know what the price of oil is? You don't know where the S&P last closed at? Give me a break.

Why do you want a job as a trader? Because it offers the potential to make a huge amount of money and be a big swinging d*ck or because you are genuinely interested in the markets, the way they move and how to use your own skill and judgement to profit from them?

If its the former then you might as well give up now because the odds are stacked against you unless you really want it enough and I believe the desire to make money is not enough. I strongly believe you have to LIVE the market to be a very profitable trader and the only thing that is going to get you through the hard times - the stress, the worry, the fear and all the rest - is the love of it.

I have a feeling thats why the traders I know that are taking home £250,000 a week are still coming in at 7am every morning and leaving at 9pm at night when they could be sitting on a beach sipping Pina Coladas.

Just my 0.2 cents.

Last edited by trader_dante; Mar 22, 2008 at 6:31pm.
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Old Mar 22, 2008, 6:51pm   #2
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TD,

Which is the most difficult area to master - knowledge of the markets or maths skills? I reckon it's the maths. And for those with maths degrees, the banks will teach them how to trade.

The relevance and contribution of higher qualifications, eg maths degrees, is a popular topic for discussion (wasn't one of the most successful locals on LIFFE an ex-carpet fitter?). But from a practical point of view, who has the greater potential for success; who would you bet on - graduates or non-graduates? The problem with no qualifications is a lack of reference or starting point for development.

Grant.
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Old Mar 22, 2008, 7:24pm   #3
 
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TD,

Which is the most difficult area to master - knowledge of the markets or maths skills? I reckon it's the maths. And for those with maths degrees, the banks will teach them how to trade.

The relevance and contribution of higher qualifications, eg maths degrees, is a popular topic for discussion (wasn't one of the most successful locals on LIFFE an ex-carpet fitter?). But from a practical point of view, who has the greater potential for success; who would you bet on - graduates or non-graduates? The problem with no qualifications is a lack of reference or starting point for development.

Grant.
Hi Grant,

I agree with you somewhat in that qualifications offer a starting point for development but I am not really arguing whether one needs qualifications or not. I'm arguing about the level of actual interest in the markets demonstrated among applicants.

I'm having a pop at all those people who turn up on boards and say: "Where do I start - I've got no experience..."

It's not HARD to get experience. Anyone can trade. That's the beauty of it.

The applicants that turn up and rely on simple maths ability and then don't get in are, in my opinion, like turning up to a Hollywood acting agent and saying: "Right, I'd like to star in films please...I'm good looking".

Have you taken any acting classes?(in trading terms, gone to seminars or read extensively on the subject)

Have you actually acted before? Even if it was an amateur production, have you applied to theatres, read The Stage, gone to auditions, been cast in roles, been on stage or even in student films? (in trading terms the equivalent of opening an account, trying to trade, learning what works, getting actual experience)

I'm not trying to change the world, Grant - I know that's how life works. It's largely unfair.

I'm personally working at a prop firm now because they were good enough to look past the fact I failed their tests and see I had an interest and an ability - at least from the P&L records of my own account. But it still took me a few years. You get grads with some maths ability and no interest in the markets other than a way to get rich quick and then people like me (back then) that are fascinated by the markets; that give up their time and energy to learn about and trade them and don't even get a look in at a firm.

Last edited by trader_dante; Mar 22, 2008 at 7:31pm.
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Old Mar 22, 2008, 7:28pm   #4
 
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TD,

Which is the most difficult area to master - knowledge of the markets or maths skills? I reckon it's the maths. And for those with maths degrees, the banks will teach them how to trade.

The relevance and contribution of higher qualifications, eg maths degrees, is a popular topic for discussion (wasn't one of the most successful locals on LIFFE an ex-carpet fitter?). But from a practical point of view, who has the greater potential for success; who would you bet on - graduates or non-graduates? The problem with no qualifications is a lack of reference or starting point for development.

Grant.
I used to be involved in a different field but one requiring great skill, discipline, knowledge, quick thinking - sometimes all in a stressful situation. Graduates, especially clever ones with proper degrees, had the greatest difficulty in coping when the going got tough. This was often due to the fact that, because they were "clever" and had sailed through school & college, they had never before experinced failure or extreme difficulty and weren't equipped to deal with it.

Whether or not this relates to pro trading I don't know - perhaps TD can tell us. TD's remarks at #1 are very illuminating, and when you think about it, not that surprising.
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Old Mar 22, 2008, 8:14pm   #5
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I'm personally working at a prop firm now because they were good enough to look past the fact I failed their tests and see I had an interest and an ability - at least from the P&L records of my own account.
Yeah t_d, plus the fact that compared to you, Messrs Depp, Cruise & Clooney looks like the elephant man.
Actually, joking aside, regardless of how handsome you may or may not be, you are young. I reckon that if I applied to your prop firm with the same track record and enthusiasm for the markets that you have, I wouldn't even get a 1st round interview on account of my age. Now in my mid (ish) 40's, I'm an old git! I bet you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of traders at your firm who are over 30?
Tim.
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Old Mar 22, 2008, 8:40pm   #6
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TD,

“an interest and an ability... it still took me a few years”.

This is probably what employers are “’hoping” for in due course from their graduate trainees. Now you have it, and you deserve a chance with all the work you’ve put in.

It is a good point you make (and one I’ve always believed) – you’ve got to put in the time studying to understand markets – what drives them and even how they inter-relate (no market works in isolation). Some argue this isn’t necessary but I say if you know the current state of play, you have a context which, at the very least, will reduce the probability of being wrong-footed.

There’s more to trading than a couple of stochastics. You may have set a precedent re recruitment at your firm. Best wishes for the future.

0007,

Thinking more on this since my initial post, and on reading yours (and TD’s), I remember a tv programme some time ago where a UK medical school recruited not new graduates but those who had already worked (in other fields, including a two from the City). Age range was c 30 – 45 years. To cut it short, they did brilliantly. Indeed, in many cases they were better than the new graduates. Experience and wisdom through maturity has a lot to commend it.

Grant.
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Old Mar 22, 2008, 11:36pm   #7
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Im sitting here smiling --- its a fun conversation !


"in theory, theory and practice are the same --- in practice, theory usually blows up !"

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Old Mar 23, 2008, 2:11am   #8
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Tim,

The City may be racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-semitic, whell-chairist, maybe even ageist but first and foremost, they are capitalist and if you can make them a fortune, all prejudices disappear, as if by magic. Don't be put off.

Grant.
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