In most cases, you apply for sales and trading roles without specifying that you want to specialise in a particular product upfront. However, you may well be asked whether you want to work in sales OR trading. And in this case, you need a well-reasoned-out answer.
These are the key points to consider:
Sales is better if you enjoy the markets but like pitching your ideas and developing relationships more.
Trading is better if you also like the markets but enjoy the technical side and making trades more.
If you want to work in sales, you’ll need to show that you have communication skills and can explain complex ideas simply. Many of your clients won’t understand extremely complex strategies, so being able to explain technical ideas very simply is incredibly important for a sales position.
A version of this article first appeared on Mergers and Inquisitions, a website dedicated to helping people break into investment banking, and to maintaining their sanity while doing so.