A bond trader buys and sells bonds, which are long-term debt instruments, as well as a type of unsecured debt instrument called commercial paper. Most employers will require you to have a bachelor’s degree in a field such as finance for this job, although many aspiring bond traders earn advanced degrees as well. You also will need mathematical skills, the ability to excel under pressure and excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Experience in sales, customer service and leadership positions might help you qualify for this position. Likewise, experience with bonds and other types of investments usually is important.
Usually, bachelor’s degrees are required when you want to become a bond trader. Many employers will expect you to have at least a bachelor’s degree for this job, and common majors include those like finance or business. You may also find, however, that some companies give preference to individuals who hold Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees or similar advanced credentials.
No matter which degree program you choose, you will need to take classes that help you develop the advanced mathematical skills that are commonly used in this type of job. Not only will you need to develop knowledge of advanced mathematical concepts, you also will need the ability to perform calculations and apply formulas under pressure after you become a bond trader. This line of work commonly involves tense situations, but employers will still expect you to perform to the peak of your ability and meet strict deadlines.
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills usually are required if you want to become a bond trader. Usually, a person in this position must communicate with clients, salesman, other traders and a range of employees who work for the same firm. You can develop good communication skills while in high school and college, both through communicating with instructors and by taking classes that encourage the development of these skills. If you have an opportunity to work in a customer-service job or sales-related position prior to becoming a bond trader, this type of experience also can help you prepare for the job.
You also might benefit from gaining other types of experience if you want to become a bond trader. Any position that requires you to make fast decisions and solve problems might provide experience that you can use. This can include non-investment-related jobs and part-time positions, but gaining experience with an investment company can help you reach your goal as well. Additionally, participating in an internship with an investment firm and joining a finance club can improve your chances of getting hired for this job.