No work experience/self employed

I'm curious how you would approach dealing with this gaping hole in your CV/Resume.

I graduated from a UK uni nearly 3 years ago. During uni and since graduation I have spent my time trading on sports (betting exchanges: Betfair etc.) for a living, as an individual. In addition to this I have had a real money FX account for a couple of years now which breaking even. Liquidity in the sports markets which I have been most profitable has been declining and the various betting exchange companies have been becoming increasingly greedy. Betfair for example wanted to tax 60% of my winnings with a "premium charge" for the top 300-ish users on the site or something. Basically I'm looking to pack it in due to this plus the unsocial hours (changing sleep pattern for tennis in Australia/USA, "working" thur, fri night and all weekend).

I'm interested in graduate sales & trading roles with banks (UK) in addition to physical commodity trading firms and I feel my sports trading and FX activities have given me lots of valid knowledge and experience (risk, hedging, arbitrage, fundamental and technical analysis etc.). Now here is where the problem lies. Due to my activities since graduation, in addition to a lack of internships while at uni (due to a combination of health issues and laziness), I haven't worked a day in my life for an employer.

Now my question is, how would you guys structure a CV/Resume and covering letter to communicate my solo activities which I think are very relevant to the roles I'm applying for, while negating the impact of having NO employment history? For example, could I list my sports trading/betting activities under employment history? Do I need to have a blank employment history section in my resume/CV and try to explain it in a covering letter? I certainly won't be putting employment history at the top of my CV that's for sure.

I'm hoping for some interesting takes on approaching this from my unique circumstance. I'm applying for roles in the UK so I guess we're talking about a CV rather than a Resume.

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Comments (4)

Aug 18, 2014 - 5:36pm

I know a couple people with a similar background to you. In their case, they played poker for a living. One of them is still playing poker for a living, mainly cash games. Poker, like sports gambling, is a high volatility endeavor, so I'm not sure how much he makes each year but I know recently he won $70,000 over just one weekend, so I'm guessing he's doing okay. He doesn't have to pay rent (his parents bought him a flat) so his living expenses are low. But I digress.

The other one has decided to retire from playing poker and he is trying to get a job in the financial services industry. He was also interested in sales & trading like you are, and I recall him spinning his CV in a such a way that it sounded very relevant to S&T (especially the latter). Unfortunately, the fact remains at the end of the day that he had a four or five year blank in his resume, so he wasn't able to get any looks from banks. He told me that a number of people whom he talked with thought that he a had an interesting background, but ultimately he would have to return to school (e.g. for a master's degree, etc.) before they could consider him for a position.

If going back to school is not an option, your best bet might be doing some intense cold calling of non-bank trading firms as well as the physical commodity trading firms you mentioned. There might be some proprietary trading firms who would be willing to take you in if you put up some nominal capital, but I am not sure how reputable those places are and what the implications are for a long-term career. I had a good friend who worked at such a firm (T3 trading in New York City, you can google it), and he told me its legit. You have to put up some nominal capital, but if you are successful, you can make some decent money. However, by the way he described it, it sounded like a very intense, sink or swim environment.

Aug 18, 2014 - 6:49pm

Deo et Patriae:
I recall him spinning his CV in a such a way that it sounded very relevant to S&T (especially the latter).

Hi, Thanks for the reply. Any idea how he structured his CV to do this? I'm wondering how far you can go off the beaten track with the format without making your CV an instant bin. I'm thinking about things such as including my sports/FX activities in employment/work or avoiding the past employment section completely. It's a tough one. Getting my CV to the point where it is very relevant to S&T and that people actually read and found interesting would be a great start (like your friend).

Aug 18, 2014 - 7:19pm

I think I'll write up a version of my CV where I list my sports trading in employement as 'self employed' and that will allow me to go into great detail about all the super relevant stuff (relevant to the roles I'm applying for) I've been doing. I'm not sure if having self employment is a big no-no for banking CVs (it's generally not great anywhere from what I understand), but if it isn't an instant "ding" it must be preferable to an empty (or no) employment section on my CV.

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