Crafting an impactful resume for a business analyst role

Sep 14, 2023

5 mins

Crafting an impactful resume for a business analyst role
Kaila Caldwell

Freelance writer and translator

Looking for a new role as a business analyst in tech? Well, you’ll want to get your resume in check. Business analysts play a key role in translating complex business needs into user-friendly solutions. For you to stand out to the recruiter, you’ll need to make sure your BA skills are front and center on your resume. How exactly, you may ask? With the help of executive coach and career growth strategist, Diana Alt, we have the answers! Alt shares key tips garnered from over 20 years of experience in product development and business analyst roles—just what all future BAs in tech need to build their resumes.

Identifying the job title you’re applying for

One of the most common mistakes BAs make is failing to clearly state the job title they’re applying for, according to Alt. This omission makes it challenging for hiring managers to understand your career objectives. To address this, place the job title you’re seeking directly below your contact information. For instance, if you’re applying for a senior business analyst role at XYZ Corporation, explicitly mention it at the top of your resume. Alt emphasizes, “Get really specific with the job title. Tailor it to the position you’re applying for. Hiring managers want to know exactly what role you’re seeking.”

The executive summary

Alt places great emphasis on replacing outdated objective statements with a more impactful executive summary. “You don’t use an objective ever. 1987 called and wants its resume back!” She advocates for a crisp executive summary to capture the essence of your professional persona. “Your executive summary should cover what you do, how you do it, and what you’re known for. All in three sentences. Think of it as the compelling blurb on the back cover of a book, encouraging the reader to delve further.”

For business analysts, it could look like this:

“I am a senior business analyst with deep experience in designing systems and managing requirements for large enterprise platforms. I use my expertise in business process analysis, operations, and software development life cycles to create effective solutions alongside developers. I’m known for managing both business and stakeholder relationships effectively and for making complex technical topics feel simple to non-technical audiences.”

This summary packs in the business analyst’s skills, working style, and unique selling point, creating a succinct yet powerful introduction.

Powering up your key skills section

The next thing Alt suggests adding to a business analyst resume after the executive summary is the key skills section. But don’t title the section she says; just start listing keywords based on your skills. “A business analyst resume must include 10 to 12 high-level, transferable skills,” she advises, emphasizing the importance of showcasing a versatile skill set.

For example, Alt says a business analyst might include skills such as:

  • Project management
  • Business analysis
  • Customer journeys
  • Customer experience
  • Product backlog
  • Agile methodologies
  • Process diagramming
  • Data analysis

Job descriptions highlighting your work experience

Job descriptions offer a golden opportunity to share your professional story. Begin with a brief one or two-sentence description of the company you worked for to provide context. Then, focus on your specific accomplishments and responsibilities. Use bullet points under each job, says Alt. Usually, a job only needs about three to seven bullet points, depending on how long ago was your work experience. “If it was 15 years ago, keep it to three points,” she adds. For constructing your sentences, Alt wisely suggests, “You’re trying to answer the question, ‘So what?’ Why do your achievements matter?” Thus, detailing how your contributions impacted the business positively lends credibility and impact to your resume.

Quantifiable metrics and numbers are highly effective in demonstrating the impact of your work. However, Alt warns that you should do so properly to avoid confusion. “The issue of throwing around numbers on resumes is that they often don’t have context. For example, ‘Reducing errors by 10,’ is way more interesting if there were 20 errors to start with than if there were 200.” Make sure you’re including both figures and context so the impact of your quantified successes can be understood.

Alt gives an example:

“Designed and implemented a new hire tech onboarding process. This process was used by 25 employees in 90 days and resulted in 75% fewer IT support tickets being logged in the first 45 days on the job.”

The number of employees listed could feel either small or big to the reader, but everyone would find a 75% reduction in tickets compelling.

Additionally, consider including side hustles, community service, or involvement in professional organizations if they are relevant or showcase valuable skills. Highlight significant contributions and initiatives undertaken in these areas, just as you would with your professional work experience.

Spotlight on relevant certifications and education

Certifications and continued education can significantly enhance your resume and showcase your commitment to professional development. Alt recommends creating a separate section for certifications and relevant training. This helps hiring managers quickly identify your qualifications and demonstrates your dedication to staying current in your field.

Alt suggests certifications from reputable organizations such as the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) and the Project Management Institute (PMI). However, Alt emphasizes the importance of balance and avoiding the perception of solely building a resume through certifications. Remember to showcase a genuine interest in professional growth and a willingness to acquire new skills. Certifications should be seen as a complement to your experience and expertise.

When it comes to education, include your college degrees and any additional relevant coursework or training. While education may be placed toward the bottom of your resume if you graduated a while ago, it is still valuable to showcase your academic background, especially if it aligns with the requirements of the job you are applying for.

Tailoring your resume

Alt underscores the necessity of tailoring your resume to the position you’re applying for, ensuring that you’re highlighting the most relevant skills and experiences as per the job description. “This is where many candidates falter,” she shares, “They prepare a one-size-fits-all resume when in fact, each job application deserves a unique approach. Highlighting the skills most relevant to the position can significantly enhance your chances of catching a hiring manager’s eye.”

When customizing your resume, incorporate keywords strategically throughout. Integrate them into your skills section, work experience bullet points, and even your executive summary. This targeted approach not only demonstrates your suitability for the role but also helps your resume pass through applicant tracking systems (ATS) used by many companies to scan resumes for relevant keywords.

The power of proper resume formatting

While substance should always take precedence over style, it is essential to present your resume in a clean and organized format. Keep the design simple, using clear headings and subheadings to structure your resume effectively. A cluttered or overly creative resume may distract from the content and make it difficult for hiring managers to navigate.

Alt advises against using templates that prioritize aesthetics over readability. Instead, focus on creating a visually appealing yet professional-looking document. Use a consistent font, proper spacing, and bullet points to enhance readability. Ensure your resume is error-free by proofreading it multiple times.

In addition to your resume, it is essential to maintain an up-to-date and engaging LinkedIn profile. This platform allows you to showcase your professional achievements, connect with industry professionals, and further demonstrate your expertise to potential employers.

Your resume, your story

Crafting a captivating resume as a business analyst involves more than just listing your qualifications and experiences. As Alt concludes, “A well-crafted resume doesn’t just communicate your skills; it tells your story. It’s a narrative of your career, showcasing your growth, achievements, and readiness for the future.”. Crafting an impactful resume for a business analyst position in the tech industry requires careful attention to detail, targeted customization, and effective communication of your skills and experiences. By following these strategies and tips, you can create a resume that captures the attention of hiring managers and increases your chances of securing your dream job.

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