Applying to Prop Shops as Junior Trader/Trainee - RESUME Question

MillyFed's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points 9

I have a question before sending my resume to a few prop shops. Throughout the last 3 or so years, while in school, I have been involved in the stock market - trading equities in the last 2 years and equity derivatives in the last 9 months or so.

Last year was a rough year for my portfolio - this year was also challenging, as I have been fighting the Fed for all of 2012. My understanding of derivatives is very indepth and am more than familiar with derivative trading strategies.

My dilemna is, if, in my resume, I list my experience and trading skills developed, prop shops will ask me about performance. As of now, performance has been lackluster, most likely because of my exposure to derivatives. If I DONT list trading experience, employers will ask, "What have you been doing in the last 6 months?" BTW I was an analyst at a large Canadian bank with exposure in US (easy guess). Also, most prop shops want "trainable" and fresh individuals with little experience (unless have been historically profitable).

My background:
-Trading since November 2009
-Graduated with a BBA in Investment Finance in Dec 2011
-Worked as analyst from June 2011 to Feb 2012

Any ideas, as far as what to include/exclude in/from my resume would be great.

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Comments (15)

Aug 24, 2012

PS This is my first post!

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Aug 24, 2012

You want yo apply for trading positions yet you want to hide what you've traded because of losses?

The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.

    • 1
Aug 24, 2012

Sounds more like you're passing judgement rather than giving advice.

Had I been trading for an institution, it would be a completely different story. You have to consider the fact that my trading consisted of incorporating strategies learned in class, with my own capital, without previous "training." Past performance is not an indication of future returns, especially in entry-level status, but it sure as heck tends to mislead.

Thanks for your "opinion."

    • 1
Aug 25, 2012
MillyFed:

Sounds more like you're passing judgement rather than giving advice.

Had I been trading for an institution, it would be a completely different story. You have to consider the fact that my trading consisted of incorporating strategies learned in class, with my own capital, without previous "training." Past performance is not an indication of future returns, especially in entry-level status, but it sure as heck tends to mislead.

Thanks for your "opinion."

You think you won't be judged in interviews? What the hell do you think the whole purpose of these are?

That's just not the right attitude. It just sounds like a bullshit excuse for you making losses. Of course, not everybody wins all the time, but having a positive annual return on your portfolio isn't uncommon at all, even for college students.

At least you got that right, but I can sure as hell say that a good past performance outstrips a bad one any day. So I wouldn't mention you're "I know the theory, BUT, have a negative return, BUT, I am a good trader so that's why I'm applying to your firm".

The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.

Aug 24, 2012

You should definitely still mention your trading record even if you had losses. Explain your strategy and your mistakes and through that you will show your trading prowess. Don't necessarily put your trading record on your resume, but rather indicate the period of time you have been trading and a brief description of your trading strategy and explain your record during the interview.

    • 1
Aug 25, 2012

Thanks ky0ung - sounds like mentioning my experience, describing trading strategies implemented and explaining the returns for each year is the most effective way to portray my achievements as a trader. No excuses for losses - just an indepth explanation of my trading thesis, performance, and what I've learned.

Aug 24, 2012

PA trading, win or lose, don't cut any ice with me

Aug 24, 2012

Just curious, what is your idea of "lackluster" performance?

Aug 25, 2012

Year 1 (Nov '09 - Dec '10): +32%
Year 2 (2011): -55%
Year 3 (2012 YTD): -70%

Definitely a mirror image return of some traders interviewed in "Market Wizards," at the start of their careers, that is. The lessons learned are priceless, however. The biggest challenge to date was aiming for 6-8% return per week, to feel comfortable living off of trading income. Live and learn.

Aug 25, 2012
MillyFed:

Year 1 (Nov '09 - Dec '10): +32%
Year 2 (2011): -55%
Year 3 (2012 YTD): -70%

Definitely a mirror image return of some traders interviewed in "Market Wizards," at the start of their careers, that is. The lessons learned are priceless, however. The biggest challenge to date was aiming for 6-8% return per week, to feel comfortable living off of trading income. Live and learn.

What, exactly, have you been doing? To say that making 6-8% per week is a big challenge is the understatement of the millenium.

Aug 26, 2012

SirTradesaLot - I swing trade call and put spreads, mostly directional plays. Also implement straddles ahead of catalysts and incorporate calendar spreads - long monthlies, short weeklies. 60% of book was allocated in underlying shares while 40% of funds were used for day and swing trading options. Derivative trading was the short-term cash flow generating portion of the portfolio - basically, the strategies were implemented to generate income.

For about 2mo, I met my 6-8%/week goal - the hardest part is "underperforming", relative to that objective, and attempting to compensate in the following weeks. Expected returns increase quite a bit as you exponentially increase your portfolio's risk exposure because of that. Funny thing is, my portfolio's performance was outstanding when I DIDN'T depend on my trades to pay for living expenses. When I was dependent solely on trading gains is when the overall performance decreased as risk appetite increased.

Aug 26, 2012
MillyFed:

SirTradesaLot - I swing trade call and put spreads, mostly directional plays. Also implement straddles ahead of catalysts and incorporate calendar spreads - long monthlies, short weeklies. 60% of book was allocated in underlying shares while 40% of funds were used for day and swing trading options. Derivative trading was the short-term cash flow generating portion of the portfolio - basically, the strategies were implemented to generate income.

For about 2mo, I met my 6-8%/week goal - the hardest part is "underperforming", relative to that objective, and attempting to compensate in the following weeks. Expected returns increase quite a bit as you exponentially increase your portfolio's risk exposure because of that. Funny thing is, my portfolio's performance was outstanding when I DIDN'T depend on my trades to pay for living expenses. When I was dependent solely on trading gains is when the overall performance decreased as risk appetite increased.

6-8% per week is something over 2,000% per year. I wouldn't be counting on that regardless of the circumstances.

Aug 26, 2012

Right, if it is compounded. I should've been more specific - 6-8% per week on ORIGINAL capital invested was the goal. No compounding. Nonetheless, still a grueling task.

In your opinion, should I include my trading experience on the resume when applying to prop shops? Thanks in advance.

Aug 26, 2012

Not really. I think it's fine to include something that shows you have an interest. But the normal question is to ask, how have you done? The answer is not good.

Also, if you are withdrawing the earnings every week, it is the same compound return either way. To be frank, if you told that return expectation to a professional, they would laugh at you for being a noob in the best case and dismiss you in the worst case.

Aug 27, 2012