16 Trader Skills To Develop for Success

Updated June 24, 2022

Financial traders work on behalf of individuals, companies and banks to trade equities and other financial commodities. This requires an understanding of economics and finance and a combination of technical and soft skills. In this article, we discuss what trader skills are, examples of trade skills, how to improve trader skills and how to highlight your trader skills when applying for jobs.

Related: How To Become a Stock Trader: A Step-by-Step Career Guide

What are trader skills?

Trader skills are the skills that financial traders, stock traders, investment traders and securities traders use to complete their day-to-day activities. These skills help prepare traders to work in high-stress, highly competitive environments and stand out from other traders. Traders use these skills to build relationships and buy and sell assets, bonds and shares. These skills also help traders effectively develop strategies to reduce risk and maximize client assets.

Examples of trader skills

An understanding of the financial industry, the stock market and trade practices are important for all types of traders to develop. However, there are other important skills that can help you be successful as a trader. Some of these skills include:

Numeracy skills

Numeracy skills refer to your ability to use mathematics to solve real-world problems. This includes analyzing, using, interpreting and communicating information. Numeracy skills involve basic mathematic functions, such as addition and subtraction, and more complex practices, such as interpreting data and working with statistics.

Read more: Numeracy Skills: Definition and Examples

Teamwork skills

It's important for you to develop teamwork skills. Although you may complete much of your work alone, it's essential that you work well with others. This will help you understand your clients' needs better to make better trades for them.

Communication skills

Developing communication skills help you complete trades. It's especially important to build strong verbal and written communication skills. These skills will help you communicate with clients, other traders and your coworkers.

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills refer to skills that help you form and strengthen relationships with other people. It's important for you to earn the trust of your clients and build beneficial relationships with other traders. Interpersonal skills may also help you develop empathy and understanding, both of which are important for helping you advise your clients on personal matters, like their finances.

Read more: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples


Working with integrity involves being honest and acting with good moral principles. As a trader, it's important for you to act responsibly and in the best interests of your clients. Integrity also means you take responsibility for any bad trades and develop strategies to correct and improve the situation.

Independent thinking skills

Independent thinking refers to your ability to assess information and determine your own conclusions about its validity. This involves identifying and analyzing trends. Independent thinking skills are important for traders to help them determine if something will be a good financial idea or not to recommend.

Ability to work under pressure

It's important for financial traders to be able to work under pressure. Traders often work in stressful situations. It's important for you to be decisive and show good judgement even in high-pressure situations.

Analytical skills

Analytical skills refer to the ability to analyze information or a situation to develop a solution. Trades often analyze data to identify trends. Traders use these trends the make recommendations and decisions about trading.

Read more: Analytical Skills: Definition and Examples

Research skills

It's important for traders to develop research skills to help them best keep up with the latest trends and understand how the trends could affect their trades. Keeping up with trends can help you better prepare for changes in the market. This may make you more successful as a trader and set you apart from other traders.

Ability to focus

It's important for traders to be able to focus on what's most important about trends. Developing the ability to focus may help you spot critical data that may affect your trades. Your focus may also help you build skills to develop a specialty.


Traders often deal with successes and failures. It's important for them to practice self-control and discipline to help them control their emotions. Self-control may help you process a loss and reset your focus to align with your initial trading plan or strategy.

Record keeping

Record keeping helps traders track their plans, strategies and trades. Thorough records allow traders to create a track record of their progress. These records also help them analyze trends, what worked and what didn't work to adjust and improve strategies.


Markets constantly change, and no two trades are alike. It's important for traders to be able to adapt to changing market conditions. Many traders also develop their own approach to trading, and it's important for them to frequently modify their approach based on patterns and trends.


It's important for traders to be patient. As a trader, it may take you time to see the benefits of your work. However, these wins may help you become successful. Also, there are often new trading opportunities for you to consider.

Risk management skills

Risk management skills relate to your ability to analyze possibilities and develop a plan or strategy to avoid making bad trades. These skills may help you lose as little as possible with bad trades and gain as much as possible with good trades. Risk management can help you make informed decisions, making you a great trader and distinguishing you from other traders.

Read more: Risk Management: A Definitive Guide

Mental stamina

Working as a trader can be difficult. It's important for you to prepare yourself mentally for the various challenges. Good traders have the mental stamina to help them handle frustrating losses, modify strategies and persevere for their next challenge.

How to improve trader skills

Many traders learn their skills through education or on-the-job experience. However, good traders continue to improve their analytical and technical skills alike. Here are some ways to help you improve your trader skills:

1. Focus on your skills

Focus on trading as a way to improve your skills more than you focus on trading as away to make money. This may help master the basics to be successful. Consider the money you earn through successful trading as a benefit of your skills, not the motivation for your career.

2. Continue learning

Make a commitment to continue learning new things. Read articles and books, listen to podcasts or watch videos to help you keep up with the latest trends. A working knowledge of current trends may help you make better recommendations or trades for your clients.

3. Trade what you know

It's important for you to trade what you're familiar with. This may help you master the basics before you pursue anything new. Complete thorough research into new trade areas or trends before getting involved with them.

4. Look for a mentor

Working with a mentor may help you build your skills. They have real-world experience to help you better understand what it takes to work as a trader. A mentor can also provide you with feedback and advice you may not otherwise receive.

Trader skills in the workplace

Here are some examples of when you may use trader skills in the workplace:

  • Discussing strategies with clients

  • Gathering information about assets and data

  • Identifying market trends

  • Completing trades

  • Sharing information about the most important or relevant trades of your day

  • Determining pricing

  • Keeping records of trades

  • Analyzing data and trends

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How to highlight trader skills

It's important for you to highlight your trader skills while applying for jobs. Your experience and commitment to developing your skill set may distinguish you from other candidates. Here are some tips to consider when showcasing your trader skills:

Trader skills on a resume

Include a separate section for your skills on your resume. Highlight your most important skills, and organize them in a logical order for a hiring manager to read and easily understand. Consider including adjectives to emphasize which skills you are most proficient in.

Trader skills in a cover letter

A cover letter provides you with the opportunity to show your personality and make an impression on the hiring manager. Include highlights of specific projects you've worked on or training experiences you took part in. Use this as an opportunity to show how you've applied your skills to real-world problems.

Trader skills in a job interview

Prepare more in-depth examples to share during your interview. Discuss how you use your skills to be successful. Consider how you would discuss what your biggest strengths and weaknesses are and why. This may also provide you with the opportunity to discuss your previous training and what you do to hone and improve your skills.

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