How Do I Find a BA Job in a New City?

Reader Question:

I have been working for a business analyst for several years. Now, for other reasons, I am moving to a new local area. How do I go about finding new BA opportunities in my new area?

When moving to a new city, it can be difficult to get your bearings at first.

Laura’s Response:

While business analysis as a profession is a universal art + science, roles and jobs tend to vary within specific local areas. As I meet more and more BAs through Bridging the Gap and our virtual courses, I am learning about how each location is idiosyncratic in some way.

Roles tend to vary a bit. The employer mix, professional culture, and industry specializations have a different impact on the roles.

  • In New York, we’ve got the rise and fall of the financial industry making a significant impact on BA jobs.
  • In the New Jersey area, there is a significant presence of pharma and biotech.
  • In Los Angeles, there’s the movie industry.

This isn’t to say that industry 100% determines the jobs available, just that awareness of local factors can help you anticipate potential opportunities. When you are looking at job postings and the same industry comes up over and over again, it can seem as if that industry holds all the opportunities. It’s best to build an awareness of whether or not that’s really the case and build an appropriate job search strategy early on.

Here are 6 steps I recommend when moving to a new city to help you find a BA job:

  1. Establish a job search budget. It takes time and effort to build relationships in a new city. Establish a budget of time and money. Be prepared to invest several hours per week finding a new job, possibly treating job search like a full-time job itself. Be prepared to spend some money as well. You’ll want to have business cards, may find meetings to attend that charge fees, etc. Set a comfortable budget — it will help you make decisions and prioritize your efforts.
  2. Research IIBA chapters and begin participating. We talk about the value of joining IIBA all over the place here (see Doug Goldberg’s article on “Must a BA always align with an IT organization?“, Adrian Reed’s post on “What jobs lead to a BA role” or Scott Sampson’s post on “How do I succeed in my new business analyst role?“). When moving to a new area, getting involved with local professional groups will be your quickest path to building new relationships with local professionals. Ask about the job market, the key organizations, the influential industries. Meet recruiters that can further inform you about what key qualifications are important for local business analyst jobs. Learn. Learn. Learn.
  3. Expand your network beyond BA. Look for groups within your industry or target industries. Find related groups such as those about technology, process, or business. Get a flavor for the professional culture and big industry players. Take time to build individual relationships with other professionals. In a decent-sized city, there will be more opportunities that you can afford (in time and money). Prioritize and focus on quality over quantity.
  4. Leverage LinkedIn. Even before you move, you can begin to reach out to professionals in the city to which you are moving. Find them in LinkedIn groups, whether local or BA-related. Reach out and let them know you are moving and just looking to find out more about the profession in the area. Ask questions. Set-up informational interviews. Again: Learn. Learn. Learn.
  5. Discover what makes you unique and qualifies you for local jobs. Maybe you have experience with a competitor or you bring an expertise that is sorely needed in your new local area. I once had a contact tell me that I was unique in Denver because Denver professionals tended to value time in the mountains over a strong work ethic. That was valuable information about how I could differentiate myself in the job marketplace. Find what makes you special in the local area. Hopefully this will be something that intersects with your BA career path as well.
  6. Focus your search and update your resume. Finding a focus is the first step to finding available jobs. Knowing what strengths you bring and what relevant qualifications you hold will help you craft a resume that speaks to your unique qualifications.

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  1. Tarun Sharma says

    I am currently working in Telecom VAS industry, my present role is Marketing & Operations(key account management) where in i have to keep in touch with clients i handle, update them with new products & get the feedbacks on delivered product/services, analyse the product performances which are currently utilized by the client, den do RCA in case of poor performances & also i handle content catelogue managemnt ( life cycle management of products/.services offered to client). But i wanted to work in complete consulting/analyst profile where in i can work completely on process related things like Process designing(as is /to be process) & for the same thing i have done Sixsigma(green belt) & ITIL v3F after taking the guidance from seniors of industry like you, But unfortunately for me i am not getting interview calls from companies which require candidtates with ITIL & six sigma (reason being no practical exposure or projects experience based on these certifications). meed your guidance how can i get in to Business process Analyst profiles in the industry. As i also wanted to be the part of BA fraternity

  2. Jenny Nunemacher says

    Also, for anyone, it is important to make those new social connections. I very heartily agree with the suggestion to get connected with a local professional group (the IIBA, a particular user group, or even a general networking group). However, I would also add that it will help to get involved in for-fun extracurriculars. For me, this is always ultimate frisbee, which is a very welcoming and low-key community. That kind of networking usually takes time to pay dividends, but true connections are very valuable for years to come. My college alumni association is also a great resource for connecting with people in new geographic areas.

    As for Facebook, for me it is also a personal social outlet, but because they are friends and family, I definitely enlist them in my job search efforts. If nothing else, I make sure they know I am looking and give them updates about successes (and failures). It sustains you through the challenge of moving and looking for work.

  3. I agree – Facebook is definitely a personal presence for me too. As I started reconnecting with high school and college friends, I realized many were in IT or had IT connections, and I’ve seen this new/old network help some friends out.

  4. Thanks, Karie. Great suggestions. I tend to overlook Facebook as part of job search, just because its more of a personal presence for me than a professional one. But I really like the idea of reaching out to friends specifically about job opportunities. A lot of my contacts from college are on Facebook (even though they are not connections on LinkedIn) and we could be great connections for each other in the right situations.

  5. What a thorough and informative post! Honestly at first, I couldn’t think of any other suggestions. LOL But then I thought back to my own experiences (having relocated to new cities multiple times) and wanted to add a couple thoughts.

    Networking with recruiters has hands-down been my most effective method. Find them on on the job boards – even if they don’t have a specific position listed that you’re interested in, this will give you an idea of which recruiting companies have current opportunities. Check out their websites and reach out. They’ll be able to get your resume presented to multiple companies with actual openings – and increase your chances of your resume actually being seen.

    And don’t forget Facebook. Like LinkedIn, reach out to your network of friends and let them know you’re looking. I have a few friends who recently found employment quickly by asking their friends for connections.

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