Stockbrokers need a sponsor to obtain the licenses required to sell securities, so most entry-level stockbrokers start out as stockbroker trainees, spending much of their time in training and learning the ins and outs of the securities business. Once they earn their licenses, entry-level stockbrokers are on the phones with customers providing information about the products their companies offer and making investment recommendations.
Above all else, an entry-level stockbroker needs communication and customer-service skills. Stockbrokers are securities sales agents, so they must be able to make their customers feel comfortable and build trust, often without ever meeting customers in person. They must also be able to effectively communicate highly technical information to customers who may not be experts in finance and securities trading. Entry-level stockbrokers work long, potentially irregular hours, so they need to have the endurance to work more than the average person and the ability to adjust to varying sleep schedules, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Stockbrokers must be able to deal with the considerable pressure from supervisors to meet sales goals and the stress of having an income that is tied to performance.
Stockbrokers receive much of their training on the job, especially during their first few months. During working hours, they attend training seminars sponsored by their employers that teach essential skills and techniques, such as finding clients or prospecting, making sales and keeping those clients coming back for repeat business. Entry-level stockbrokers also must learn about the markets in which their brokerage specializes and the basics of analyzing company financial statements to gauge the value of securities, according to the BLS. Companies provide stockbroker trainees with license exam preparation materials that they must study to gain the knowledge of regulations and best practices required for licensing.
After passing licensing exams, trainees begin their duties as entry-level stockbrokers and put into practice the skills they learned during training. They spend much of their time searching for clients. To do this, they may make cold calls, which are calls to people with whom stockbrokers have never spoken, participate in social groups or ask their current customers for referrals. Entry-level stockbrokers answer calls and questions from their clients to help them better understand the products their companies offer. They then make investment recommendations based on their conversations.
Entry-level stockbrokers need a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Your undergraduate major does not need to be business or finance, but some coursework in these areas, as well as accounting and economics, is helpful in landing a job. Related internships during college or shortly after graduation are also helpful, the BLS reports. To become licensed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, you must answer questions about your criminal, personal and professional background, which your sponsor must verify. For this reason, entry-level stockbrokers can't have any serious crimes, regulatory actions, customer complaints, terminations, civil actions, judgments or bankruptcies that exclude them from licensing, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Securities, Commodities and Financial Services Sales Agents
- Career Rookie: Stockbroker Trainee
- Navisis Financial: Stockbroker Trainee
- Zip Recruiter: Stockbroker
- Taleo: Sales Associate
- Career Builder: Stockbroker Trainee
- Financial Industry Regulatory Authority: Registration and Examination Requirements
- Financial Industry Regulatory Authority: Form U4 Instructions
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