If you are not getting calls back about the BA jobs you are applying for, it’s a good sign that something is off with your resume or your job search process.
In what follows I’ll walk you through 5 tips for landing more job interviews for business analyst jobs.
1. Be Current
If you are unemployed and have a employment gap to address on your resume, let them know what you’ve been doing to advance yourself professionally. Volunteer work for as a business analyst in an organization, shows that you’ve been keeping busy and continuing to grow. Training and professional development shows you used the time to hone your skills. Although business analysis skills date less quickly than say software development skills, a strong awareness of the latest tools and practices will help you show that you are ready to achieve success for your new employer on day 1.
2. Read the BA Job Postings
This might seem obvious, but I can’t tell you how often I talk to people who do not read the job postings before they apply. And many of the questions we received showed a focus on job titles over job responsibilities. This is a great way to completely miss a great opportunity or to create a lot of noise in your BA job search process. It’s not a great way to actually find a job.
Look closely at the job responsibilities and not just the titles. While in a purist sense, we might define a clear difference between a business analyst and a systems analyst or a process analyst and a business analyst or a business process analyst and a functional technical analyst ….and so the list could go on…the titles are used inconsistently in job postings. Reading the responsibilities and requirements will typically give you a good insight into what the job actually is and could open up more opportunities for you.
(By the way, our best-selling book How to Start a Business Analyst Career will help you dissect the qualifications in job postings so you can get past titles to see what’s a BA job and what’s not.)
3. Use Language from the Job Posting in Your Resume
Many business analyst hiring managers are less informed about business analysis techniques than you might assume. And recruiters or HR representatives are often less so. By using the terms from the job posting in your business analyst resume (provided they accurately represent your business analysis qualifications) you can make it easier for a manager or recruiter to pick out your relevant qualifications and see your career history as relevant to the current position.
4. Network Professionally to Find Hidden Opportunities
We all know it, but few do it. The best success stories I’ve heard recently all come from professional networking. The best interviews are when someone contacts you about a job. You get to skip the whole application process completely! Getting involved in your IIBA Chapter is a first place to start. You’ll meet BAs and if you can prove to them that you are dependable and smart, they are much likely to fill you in when there’s a new opportunity in their organization.
I know this works. I recently helped connect one of our IIBA Denver volunteers with an organization and she landed her first BA position. I felt confident recommending her because she had helped me document one of our Chapter business processes.
Moreover, recruiters at IIBA meetings come mostly to meet candidates. They are scoping out local talent. They are a great resource for what’s happening in your local job market and for helping you find open positions. At our last networking meeting I made a connection with a recruiter who might be able to help me find part-time contract work in 2011.
And beyond IIBA, professional associations for related roles, industry associations, job seeker groups, and any place where you’ll be in contact with business leaders can be great ways to make new contacts that might help you with your job search.
5. Break the Rules
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to your job search. In answer to a question about “what’s the ideal amount of time to build a BA experience?” I said (of course) “it depends.” It could be 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, or 2 years depending on the nature of the experience, the constraints in your work environment, and the amount of knowledge you need to accumulate to be successful. What matters most about putting an experience on your resume or talking about it with a potential employer is that you achieved a meaningful result that you can speak to with clarity. There’s not a rule, but there is a purpose or principle to consider.
In a similar fashion, you can break the rules, including those in this post. My feelings won’t be hurt. 🙂 Just be sure to understand what rules you are following and what you intend to accomplish through those rules. Consider some other options. You never know when you might realize your rules are marching you consistently away from your goals.
Get the Book
In How to Start a Business Analyst Career, you’ll learn how to assess and expand your business analysis skills and experience.
This book will help you find your best path forward into a business analyst career. More than that, you will know exactly what to do next to expand your business analysis opportunities.