Looking to get started on your Business Analyst resume? Check out these tips to make your resume stand out from the crowd. This resume example focuses more on a career changer who already has some experience.
1) Provide up-to-date identification information. Obviously you want your name and phone number. Your physical address is optional these days, and often not used, because almost all job search correspondence happens by email. You should of course provide an email address.
When providing an email, choose one that meets the following criteria:
- It’s one you check very frequently, preferably daily.
- Use one that includes your name. It’s not a good idea to use a cute nickname or something that is professionally inappropriate.
- If you go with a webmail provider, choose Gmail. That option is viewed as the more “modern” option compared to some of the other service providers out there.
- Don’t use your work address if you don’t want your employer to know you are looking for work. Remember your employer can search through your email at any time.
2) Work “Business Analyst” into your title if you possibly can. If you have done ANY BA-related work whatsoever you should work “Business Analyst” into your title. It doesn’t matter if it’s not your currently official title! (My official company-given title was “Software Engineer” for years even though I did tons of Business Analysis). But do make sure that if you do use the title that there is concrete experience you can point to that is similar to BA work.
If you do not feel justified in using the title, then try to pick something from your experience that comes closest and that is related to BA work. For example, words like “process,” “analytics,” “requirements,” or even just “analyst” are a good choice.
Whatever you choose, the employer needs to feel like there is a strong relationship between your resume and the job they are looking to fill.
3) Highlight your core competencies at the very top of your resume, choosing those that directly relate to the job you’re applying for. The truth of the matter is that an employer is likely to spend less than 30 seconds reviewing your resume before deciding whether you are a potential candidate or whether your resume will go in the trash. Make those 30 seconds count!
At the very top of your resume you should put your two or three most important competencies as they relate to the position you are seeking.
4) Replace an objective statement with a paragraph that describes what you bring. Objective statements are so very 1990’s. Instead, use the top of the resume to provide your “elevator speech” that fully describes why you are a great fit for the Business Analyst position you are seeking. For added emphasis you can add a few bullet points to highlight additional skills that didn’t quite make the cut for the very top of the resume.
Whatever you put in this section must be directly supported by the rest of the resume. Don’t put something up here and then leave the reader wondering where your resume supports what you’re saying.
This is a great place to highlight interpersonal and communication skills. A great Business Analyst is a great communicator, so make sure to highlight accomplishments around communication, negotiation, and other “soft skills.”
5) For job history include position title, employer, location. Again, don’t feel compelled to use your “official” title if your actual duties were closer to that of a Business Analyst. It’s important that the employer see a track record of BA-like work if at all possible.
6) Provide chronological dates, preferably without gaps. For some reason, long gaps in employment are seen as a severe negative point for a job candidate (although it can be overcome!) Try to avoid gaps if at all possible. If your employment spans a period of years and you had a multi-month gap, consider just using years for your work history (e.g. 2011-2012 as opposed to “October 2011-June 2012.” That can hide an inconvenient gap.
Another strategy is to list your employment by grouping employers by functions you performed or titles you kept, (e.g. you might group all financial analysis jobs and list them first, followed by management jobs.) That can hide gaps in between employers or make them more difficult to notice. But this should be used sparingly since the expectation really is for a chronological list and using a different format will often raise suspicions.
7) Use action verbs and measurements to highlight BA-like work you have accomplished. Works like “managed,” “led,” “spearheaded,” and others like them stand out strongly and provide you with an aura of leadership and initiative-taking. Make sure you highlight work tasks that support your candidacy for a BA position. If possible, try to show measurable results with statements such as “increased/improved X by Y percent/number of dollars/etc.,” where you are giving a concrete measurement that shows the worth of your accomplishment to the employer with actual numbers.
Highlight technical skills wherever possible. While Business Analysis is technology-neutral, having any knowledge of technology can give you an advantage because it denotes a connection between your analytical capability and the technology needed to implement business changes. Examples could include managing a database or knowing Standard Query Language (SQL) or a programming language. (That said, many Business Analysts do not possess technical skills, particularly at the beginning of their careers, so that’s OK too.)
8) Include volunteer work! Volunteer work is work. If you are currently not employed you should seriously consider volunteering to cover an employment gap. You should highlight your accomplishments there just like you would with paid work.
9) List your education last unless you have truly zero job experience (including internships). Most employers care about your work experience far more than where you went to school or even what your major was, especially in a field like Business Analysis that can benefit from a variety of different fields. Include your major and graduation year (or pending year), but not your GPA unless it was spectacular.
10) List any course work taken or certifications received in support of your BA job search. If you have taken courses or received a certification to learn more about Business Analysis, make sure to include them. It doesn’t matter if the course work is online and/or free! However it does help to receive a certificate of completion from an online course to show proof if necessary.
11) Make your resume one page. Two pages tops, if you have many years of experience. Again, most employers will spend 30 seconds or less on your resume. Having a resume that goes for page after page will not help you. Highlight the most important points on one to two pages. I have yet to meet a professional outside of academia or government that needed more than two pages to fully convey depth of experience. Besides, learning to summarize large amounts of information into shorter meaningful statements is an important Business Analyst skill, so practice it on your resume!