Author: Geri Schneider Winters
I get a lot of emails and blog posts from people who want to be Business Analysts, but are not sure how to go about finding a BA position. This article is the first in a series discussing techniques for finding a BA position.
One of the issues all Business Analysts face is that the role is poorly defined. There are efforts to define the role – Prince 2 and CBAP – but I don’t think there is widespread agreement throughout the industry yet on really what is meant by Business Analysis.
In other articles on this site, you will see that I have defined a progression of BA roles. You can look at the pages for Starter Project BA, Mid-range Project BA, and Senior Project BA for descriptions of those roles. Having these descriptions in hand will make it easier for you to talk with a hiring manager about what he or she thinks a Business Analyst is. They will also help you communicate how you can bring benefit to the project team or company.
You need to think about whether you are changing jobs within your current company or looking outside your company. The techniques are quite different in these two kinds of job search.
If you are looking outside your company, the first obvious step is to apply to job ads. This does not work for me, nor have I known it work for many other people. In fact, a friend told me about some research where the best people in a company were asked to put a different name on their resume and send it to their own human resources department in response to some job ads. This was to see the effectiveness of applying to job ads. Not one of those people was offered an interview!
The basic reason is that the people in human resources get a lot of resumes in response to job ads, so they use automated tools to do keyword matching. If the tools do not find the right keywords in your resume, then it is rejected. If your resume is rejected, very often no human has even looked at it.
The next technique you may try is working with a recruiter. A lot of BA positions are only advertised through recruiters. If you find a good recruiter, that person will understand the position you are applying for and will be working closely with the hiring manager. If you do not find a good recruiter, your results will be the same as applying to human resources through a job ad.
In this series of articles, I outline some other strategies for looking for a job outside your company and inside your company. These techniques include networking, direct marketing, and creating a transition plan.
If you try out some of those techniques, post your results on this blog. If you know another way to find work, post that as well, so we can all learn more ways to effectively look for a job.