When you're looking for a business analyst role, it's important to evaluate your goals and find the right type of position for your skills. Different analyst roles can have different focuses, and it's important to make sure you're pursuing a job that will match your interests and strengths. Here is everything you need to know to find the right business analyst role for your experience and career goals.
What an Analyst Does
To find the right analyst job for you starts with first understanding what the analyst role does. Generally, analyst roles are focused on gathering, interpreting, and using information. This can be to create plans for projects, programs, or products. This person doesn't typically set the overall strategy, but they can identify strategies to improve or capture missed opportunities.
The information collected by analysts can also be used to improve existing systems, projects, or products for the business. The analyst will often work across many groups of people to do their job, but they will also need to prepare the reports with the information gathered.
The analyst title can come in many different variations at different organizations. It can also overlap with other job titles. So, it is important to look at the actual description of the job that you are applying to and not limit yourself to the job title of an analyst. Similar titles to consider that can overlap or even be the same thing as an analyst at another organization includes: Project Coordinator, Product Owner, Customer Success, Program Manager, Project Manager.
Decide on the Options for You
To find the right analysts jobs for you, it is important to create a plan for all the right keywords that are right for your experience. There are lots of variations of the analyst job and you won't be a fit for all of them. Instead, you will use a list of keywords to find and filter the job postings to look for the things that you want to do in your next job.
Some of the keywords you might want to use to filter your business analyst job search include business process improvement, business requirements gathering, business case development, business analysis documentation, project management, agile scrum.
If you're looking for an entry-level business analyst job, you might want to use keywords like internship, entry-level, business analysis foundation.
Once you have your list of keywords, start by looking at the job postings and see if they include any of those words. If they do, that is a good sign that the role might be a good fit for you.
A few of the most common analyst job titles include:
- Business Analyst
- IT Analyst
- Data Analyst
- Systems Analyst
- Financial Analyst
- Pricing Analyst
- HR Analyst
- Sales Operations Analyst
- Business Systems Analyst
- Supply Chain Analyst
- Business Operations Analyst
- Continuous Improvement Analyst
- Revenue Analyst
- Operations Analyst
All of these jobs can be quite different, but they all fall under the analyst category. At the same time, the job titles on this list are not all IT or technical analysts. Instead, this list is a combination of analyst jobs that are business, technical, and under various functional areas. So, make sure that you are using the right combination of keywords to cast a wide net. From there, you can use the filters to find the right types of jobs for your skills.
Many analyst roles are done remotely or on a hybrid arrangement. This increased through the pandemic. So, you can look for analysts roles beyond your current city. You can use the job boards to find analyst postings that are in your area. And, you can look nationally for jobs using the "Remote" filters.
Although remote work is more favorable now, it doesn't mean that every company will consider candidates from anywhere. There are lots of reasons why a company may want a candidate from a particular area or timezone. So, be careful in reading the job descriptions to understand how locations really factor into their hiring and culture.
Don't hold off on applying if the description isn't clear about geography. A lot of companies simply want the right candidate and will negotiate terms of remote or in-office for the right person. Not every company will be open to negotiation, so do your research when applying.
Consulting, Temp to Hire, and Permanent
Analyst roles come in many forms. This includes consulting (temporary or contracting), temporary to hire, and direct hire/permanent. Many analysts will start out consulting to get a variety of industry and product line experience. This is a great way to build your experience and skills as an analyst.
Consulting for a long time can also create challenges in landing a direct-hire job. Alternatively, someone that has spent most of their career as an analyst can also face views that they don't have the right types of experience. This is why a lot of analysts will switch between job types over their careers.
Be strategic in each career move that you make so that you can explain why you took those steps in your future interviews. This will make you a better analyst and a stronger candidate for whatever positions you pursue in the future.
Build a Strong Resume
To land the interviews, you will need to build a strong resume to apply to the right types of analyst jobs for your experience. This means building a resume that is optimized for the applicant tracking systems (ATS).
Over 70% of candidates are automatically rejected by the ATS. There are lots of reasons why people get stuck in the black hole of resume bots. Here are the ways to get through the ATS and to stand out as the best candidate:
- The right format. Most ATS are pretty limited in their ability to parse the resume. This means that you cannot use heavy formatting, graphics, or other images on your resume. Instead, keep a clean format and focus on putting the right words on the page.
- Keywords. All ATS programs are driven by keywords and job titles. This means that you must incorporate all of the relevant phrases on your resume to get through the resume bots. You shouldn't do this in a laundry list, but instead across the resume to connect with the systems and people that will skim your resume.
- Achievements. Results are what the hiring managers want to see on your resume. Connect those keywords to your results and you build the strongest achievement statements on your resume.
- Project Lists. Most analysts will include an area on their resume to provide details about the different types of projects that they have worked on. This can be a dedicated section or a part of the details under a job.
- Certifications. Not all types of analyst roles require certifications, but they can be a requirement for some. So, make sure that you list the relevant certifications on your resume.
- Software. The programs that you have used to collect or analyze data matter. And, experience with certain programs can matter a lot for some organizations. So, don't underestimate the importance of including this information on your resume.
- Education. Be honest in your education level on your resume and don't forget to include it on the resume. You can include partial degrees or additional training on your resume as well to help stand out.
- Job Specific Requirements. Make sure to customize your resume for particular requirements for jobs. There are many variations of analyst jobs and this means that you may have to modify the resume for different jobs to make sure that you include all of the relevant details of your experience.
Want to make sure that you have the best analyst resume possible? Have one of our resume writing experts analyze it for free.
Networking in your career as an analyst is important to improving your skills. It can also make a huge difference in your job search. You can do this in a variety of ways across your career.
Start with building a strong LinkedIn profile. This will make it easy for you to connect with people and to engage them across your career. It also plays a bigger role in your job search than most people realize. In fact, over 90% of recruiters are LinkedIn every day to find or review candidates. And, most applicant tracking systems are connected to LinkedIn to evaluate people for the roles based on their profiles.
Starting with a strong profile on LinkedIn is key to building your professional network. Make sure to put that profile to work for you by connecting with people on the system. Create meaningful connections by engaging people throughout your career. Find more tips to build and engage your LinkedIn network here.
Apply to a Lot of Jobs
The most important way to find the best analyst job is to apply to jobs. Not just a few, but to be aggressive in your search. In fact, we recommend applying for at least 10 jobs a week for most people. Quality over quantity always, but the more jobs that you apply to the better your chances to find the right types of jobs.
And, remember, that job postings are only a small description of the role. You won't really know what the job is like until you go through the interviewing process. That is where you will meet the people, get a picture of the culture, and find answers to questions that can never be covered by the job description. So, don't let a job description hold you back.
When you meet most (but not all) of the requirements, you can and should apply to the job. There is no guarantee that you will get the interview. But, if you do, then you can use that time to qualify the opportunity for your career goals as an analyst. If the role isn't a fit, you can always withdraw from the position.
And, don't stop applying to jobs until you have accepted an offer for the job you want. Nothing is certain in a job search. So, keep up your efforts by applying to lots of positions. This will position you better for negotiation and make it easier for you to find that perfect fit.