If you want to trade on the floor of a big bank, you’ll need to have certain qualities that can take you from being an average trader to being one of the top traders in your company. Here are the top 10 qualities that most banks look for in their traders, along with some advice on how to build these qualities within yourself and how they affect your trading performance.
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Qualities You Need to Trade for a Big Bank
Trading is not an easy job by any means. It requires persistence, resolve, and great patience. And even if you are equipped with all of these skills, you still have to deal with hundreds of other traders who will likely be just as committed as you are. So even though trading can be incredibly rewarding, it’s not for everyone.
If you want to enter into high finance, make sure you can handle stressful working conditions before making your move. No matter how good you get at dealing in contracts, markets will always go through cycles—and when they do go south (which they inevitably will), their downturn could take you right along with them. Commitment will help you ride out a financial storm and learn from it.
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Resilience is critical when trading for a big bank. The volatility of trading can be highly stressful and demanding, leading many traders to quit before they’ve started, but if you are resilient, you can power through these difficult times. Remember that no matter how hard it gets, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
When things get tough, remember why you chose to become a trader in the first place. In trading, as in life, focus on what works for you and stop worrying about what doesn’t. Through resilience, anything is possible!
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Self-discipline is one of those skills that can sometimes be overrated. No matter how brilliant you’re trading, if you don’t have discipline, nothing else matters. It’s one of those deal-breakers when it comes to hiring traders. If you aren’t disciplined, you won’t stick with what needs to be done every day and long term.
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There are many ways to describe work ethic, but one definition is as simple as your attitude toward work. It’s your desire and dedication for what you do. In trading, if you have a strong work ethic, it means more than just working harder—it means showing up prepared with a hunger and passion that shows through in everything you do. A trader who works hard but has poor execution will lose over time.
Trading at a big bank is not easy. If you are serious about trading professionally, you need to trade under any market conditions. Some days are up, and some days are down, but you have to find ways of making money. Traders who can make money no matter what markets do will eventually succeed more than those who only trade when things are going their way.
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Trading in financial markets is at once an intensely social and individual activity. To succeed, you must develop your ability to communicate clearly and effectively with your colleagues, superiors, and clients—and be comfortable doing so in front of large audiences. Communicating efficiently with other traders during fast-paced trading sessions requires highly developed skills in reading others’ body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions and speaking quickly and persuasively when someone else gets the bid or offer wrong.
This practice can help prepare you for working alongside colleagues who may have very different cultural backgrounds than yours. Put simply: don’t expect that your boss will always give you clear directions on what they want to be done next. Practice self-assurance, being direct about what needs to get done ASAP—and being able to confidently deal with any pushback from other members of your team.
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It takes some serious brainpower and mental toughness to make it as a trader in a big bank. Take it from one who knows: respect your peers and senior management. These people have seen things you haven’t, so it pays to listen when they share their knowledge with you. In other words, shut up and listen! The chances are good that these folks have been through all sorts of stressful situations during their time at a bank or hedge fund.
So, please take advantage of any opportunity to learn from them. They may even steer you away from making a costly mistake at work by pointing out potential pitfalls earlier than others may notice them.
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Ability to take criticism
No matter how successful you are, your job is to be criticized. While it’s not fun, traders must learn how to take criticism. It’s like anything else - if you want improvement, you need feedback. Your boss has your best interests in mind; criticism can help train you to work better and avoid mistakes. So next time your boss criticizes you, try to understand why rather than take offense.
You must learn how to think independently but also recognize that someone else may have a better idea. This takes time and practice. If you have trouble accepting criticism initially, it can be helpful to surround yourself with people who aren’t afraid of speaking their mind—or take advantage of an online forex community where feedback is given in support of each other.
Passionate about trading
Passion is what separates good traders from great ones. If you don’t love trading/investing, you won’t put in all of those late nights and extra hours necessary to truly succeed in the financial industry. The best traders love it so much that they can’t imagine doing anything else.
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Set realistic expectations
It’s not just passion —it’s also essential to have realistic expectations about your job. A trader at a small company isn’t going to have unlimited access to all sorts of research, tools, or clients just because they happen to work at that firm—so your day-to-day may not be as exciting as you think it will be when you start. The key thing is to stay motivated, keep your head down, and keep going. You can do this!