Becoming a registered representative and getting into a broker trainee program isn't easy. That's because the business and hiring process is becoming increasingly competitive; however, there are ways to increase your chances of getting hired and being accepted into a trainee program. Read on for a few simple ways to do exactly that.

Jazz Up Your Resume
These days, many resumes are scanned by computers, instead of people. Programs are set up to specifically recognize and set aside resumes that contain certain key words and phrases that the firm finds attractive. With that in mind, there's no guarantee that including any one item, detail or keyword will get your resume noticed. However, there are certain things that should be emphasized because they can increase the chances of your resume being picked out of the lot.

For example, high grade-point averages, well-known school names, honors, licenses or significant career accomplishments should be emphasized, as well as associations with well-known organizations (the New York Society of Securities Analysts, for example) or affiliations with well-known firms, such as Merrill Lynch or Morgan Stanley. Another item that should be highlighted on a resume is any cost savings or revenues that you were able to generate for a prior employer. Broker-dealer firms tend to be quite interested in how you have been able to save and/or make money.

Intern, Intern, Intern
Keep in mind that brokerage firms ideally want to hire individuals who already have an understanding of the securities business and who'll be able to hit the ground running. To that end, prior to applying for a broker trainee program, consider obtaining a job as a cold caller, an assistant or some other position that demonstrates your eagerness and desire to learn and succeed in the securities industry.

There a couple possible ways to line up an internship. First, if you're currently in college or graduate school, contact your advisor or guidance counselor; he or she may have an intern program already in place with local firms. You may even be able to obtain college credits for your efforts.

If you're out of college, probably the best way to obtain an internship is to send an email or letter to a firm you're interested in and tell them about your objectives and background. Also, if you're willing to volunteer to work for minimal pay - or for free - you may increase your odds of landing an internship as well. An internship is usually worth all of the effort because it can help set you apart from other candidates with less experience.

Make Contacts
Have you ever heard the old adage, "It's not what you know, it's who you know"? On Wall Street, this saying tends to ring especially true. Try to seek out someone, a mentor perhaps, who will assist you in your career and/or provide you with a solid reference so that you can get into a program.

Again, a good way to find contact is to tap your college, or contact older friends who may have already landed jobs at a good securities firms. Also, consider joining professional associations, where you can meet professionals who can help you get your networking started.

Develop a Unique Pitch
Would-be broker trainees should consider developing a unique sales pitch and/or way of contacting and obtaining clients that will set them apart from others. The pitch might entail a predetermined and well-thought-out set of lines that may be spoken over the telephone to a prospect, or a unique method for getting yourself in front of potential prospects. This pitch may then be demonstrated and/or discussed during the interview process with the brokerage firm. Remember, setting yourself apart from the crowd is key! (And the fact that you've made an effort to think these pitches through in detail, will likely impress those meeting with you.)

Impress Your Interviewer
During the interview, consider demonstrating and/or pointing out things like your phone voice to the person conducting the interview. If possible, also consider discussing how you plan to get leads and build your business. It may also be helpful to mention your contacts in the business world.

Finally, if applicable, emphasize the fact that you live in the local area and have the ability and desire to work long hours. This can go a long way, because firms are often reluctant to hire those that don't seem to have the drive or ability to work extended hours.

The Bottom Line
Getting into a broker training program isn't easy; however, you can significantly increase your odds with some careful preparation and thought.

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