First, realize that not all broker-dealers sponsor employees for the Series 7. It costs them $290 just for you to sit for the test, pass or fail. It also costs them to have you fingerprinted, processed and vetted for security reasons as part of your application on Form U-4. Then, many firms incur the added expense of paying for test prep courses. After a while, this starts to add up - especially when you consider the volume of people who want to get into this business. Most small firms simply will not hire somebody who does not already hold a current Series 7 license.All the big, white-shoe banks do, and the chart on the following page provides contact information for some of the larger independent broker-dealers. It is best to talk to the recruiting department. Just Apply, What do you have to lose?The vast majority of broker-dealers that make the league table rankings do not typically sponsor Series 7 candidates. They would much rather let someone else mint the representative, then hire him or her away. Nevertheless, this system would not be possible if firms did not occasionally make exceptions. In reality, almost everyone makes an exception to the "No Unlicensed Candidates" rule. Often, the rule stems from headquarters' policy, but the hiring decisions are made at the branch level. If your local office of a large broker needs to hire somebody today and there are no licensed candidates available, you just might get your shot. It helps that many of these branch offices are run by entrepreneurs operating under some loose affiliation and that they are empowered to make their own hiring decisions.Alternately, you might consider an internship or a staff position that is a step away from actually handling trades or providing investment advice. It may not be glamorous and it may involve hundreds of hours of grunt work, but at least you will be meeting people in supervisory and hiring positions, and you will have access to in-house job posting information.Establishing a NetworkDo not underestimate the power of networking. If you are a student, consider joining a finance club on campus. Your best bet may be a student chapter of the Financial Management Association. For more information, visit this site: Financial Management Association: Undergrad and MBA Students.

What FINRA is Testing

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