If you’ve ever seen Wolf of Wall Street, and you don’t know much about the stock market, you’re answer to everything is probably penny-stocks. While his get-rich-quick scheme may have worked for him, becoming an honest and successful stockbroker takes a ton of hard work.
Managing other people’s money and consulting them in a way that’s in both of your favor is a hard thing to do. Before you base your desire to become a stockbroker off of Leonardo DiCaprio, consider the long hours and competition you’re bound to face.
You need to have the right personality
A stockbroker spends the majority of his or her day on the phone trying to make trades. With limited face-to-face interaction, your personality and voice needs to sell the client. You need to have great communication skills and be even overconfident in yourself. A great salesman with the right financial background makes a great stockbroker.
Get the right education
A college education isn’t even a question nowadays when it comes to managing people’s money. You should aim to get a 4-year undergraduate degree in a business area, preferably finance. If you really want to stand apart from other job applicants, get your Master’s Degree. Many schools around the country have more specific programs that can help you target your stockbroker career goals.
Walking into an interview for an entry-level stockbroker position at a big firm isn’t going to go in your favor if you have absolutely no experience in the finance industry. Many recent graduates argue that they couldn’t have gained experience because they just spent 4 years going to school full-time. Successfully completing a summer or winter internship will do amazing things to your resume. Even if you don’t get to intern as a stockbroker, get your foot in the door with a firm you like. You can check out the internships that companies like E-Trade, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, or Scottrade offer. Financial consulting (apart from stocks) will even be beneficial so don’t be scared to check out accounting firms or banks.
Many students don’t even consider the possibility of shadowing, because those opportunities are most likely not paid. Shadowing is when you follow around someone in his or her full-time job and learn about what they do. Sometimes shadowing can be even more educational than an internship because you’re learning the tasks that are most relevant to your end goal rather than getting stuck making copies and going on coffee runs. Don’t turn down any opportunity that offers experience unless you have a great reason for it.
To become an official stockbroker, you have to pass the series 7 and series 63 exams, which allow you to buy bonds, stocks, mutual funds, and other securities. The series 7 is a more general exam, whereas the series 63 focuses in on state laws. In order to even sit for the exam, you have to be sponsored by a broker, so get your foot in the door somewhere. After passing those exams, depending on where you practice, you may have to obtain licenses like series 3, series 31, series 65, or series 66. Because your position puts other people’s money on the line, you’re going to want to keep your personal funds in check, because a background check is not out of the question.
Network, find your firm, and utilize tools
Many larger firms offer great stockbroker training programs, which would be a great fit for you if you were just starting. No matter where you end up, you’re going to have to build your client list by meeting people, talking to strangers, and gaining a great reputation for referrals. Once you get the ball rolling, don’t ignore useful tools to help you do your job to the best of your ability. For example, the ETNA trading terminal is a terminal that streams live quotes, charts, and price alerts so that brokers can stay competitive in real-time. If you even decide to break off into your own firm, an ETNA trading terminal can be the difference in success and failure. Today, you need technology to help you survive in such a fast paced industry. Take this help!
Becoming a stockbroker is not an easy feat, but if you’re up for the challenge and ready for a lucrative career, get going today.