Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Controversial and cynical, but if you can't put 100% of your effort into the job from day one, you'll immediately lag behind everyone else in your intake. You got the job but there is no room for resting on your laurels.
In your first few days, you should be learning as much as possible. If you don’t know something, try and find the answer yourself. And if you still don’t know, then now is your time to ask.
If you start behind the 8-ball, you'll never get in front. Do everything you can to fully commit to the role every minute you're in the office.
Planning a holiday or sorting out where you want to live isn’t for the middle of a busy trading day.
Once you're in the role, your focus should be on the market and nothing else.
Face reality – trading isn’t glamourous
Be honest with yourself and work out if being a trader is really what you want to do.
Perhaps a cliché, but to say that “being a graduate trader is a lifestyle and not a job” would be more fitting, perhaps now more than ever. Whilst start-up Silicon Valley firms may be moving towards nap pods and other outrageous work perks, competition in financial markets has never been higher.
Succeeding in any trading role from scratch will consist of you living and breathing trading. You'll be trying to improve consistently.
Most of your days will consist of long and mentally taxing hours where you will constantly be trying to expand your understanding.
You will find you may not have as much time for other parts of your life as you did before. If you don't think you are willing to make sacrifices, then the role isn't for you.
The light at the end of the tunnel is different for everyone, so figuring this out early will save you months of headaches.
Commit to the role 100%
The number one reason for graduates failing at the start is their lack of mental commitment to the role.
This stems from people neglecting to research what life is like in trading. They have just watched a few seasons of Billions or Industry and think it will be like the shows.
But once you're in the role, you must dedicate yourself to it for at least a year.
You should be the first one in and the last one out – there's no replacement for hard work, no matter how talented you might be.
So - spend your weekends sleeping, plan to eat healthily, and dedicate your time at work to really get the most learning in. The results will show.