There are tons of BA jobs out there and it’s a great career path to follow if you are a business, economics, science, engineering or arts major. Basically, you can major in anything and pursue a career in this field if you like solving business problems.
If you pursue the job search process strategically, it really isn't that hard to become a BA. We will share a few tips, which hopefully will make your job hunt experience better. On a lighter note- if your recruiter asks you too many questions and whys, learn how to defend your work through the following video.
Note- If you want to become a Business Analyst, this free BA course with exercises and projects might help.
OK, now on a serious note lets look at the key aspects of the typical job hunting process!
Keep it simple and ideally ONE page long. Be concise & use bullet points. Remember nobody reads it, they SKIM it in <20 seconds.
Present interesting stuff about yourself articulately. Example- awards, fellowships, scholarships, internships should stand apart.
Use KEYWORDS relevant to business analysis (example- Excel, SQL, Salesforce, Tableau) on your resume. Usually companies automate the process of resume selection by shortlisting the resumes based on keywords.
The following video is a good explanation of how recruiters skim over hundreds of resumes everyday.
Looking for Job Opportunities
Explore 'Business Analyst' , ‘Business Intelligence Analyst’, ‘Business Associate’ etc kind of positions on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, your school portal and Indeed. Keep in mind that some roles strictly need work ex. So assess suitability based on your work experience.
Make a list of around 50 jobs that interest you.
Make a list of the main skills/tools that most jobs need (keywords).
If you know those skills/tools, make sure to add those keywords to your resume.
Be smart about assessing your skills. For example if you are good at MySQL DBMS and your favorite job needs Oracle experience, don't lose hope. Watch some Oracle tutorials online to get familiar and then add that to your resume.
Some jobs need a cover letter. Write a concise letter (<300 words, the example is longer than needed) highlighting your achievements, skills and work ex but don't put too much energy into that.
Increasing the odds of getting an interview call
Start early. Keep at-least 2 months aside for your job search. The earlier the better.
Apply more. The more you apply, the odds of getting at-least an interview call increase. Apply to at least 50. Most job applications are fairly quick and easy. Based on our experience so far, Glassdoor applications are pretty effective- so don't miss those.
Apply to smaller companies. If you have no prior experience or contacts, don’t expect to get hired by a big/popular company easily. You will need to start with internships, contractor positions, startup jobs etc before transitioning to bigger companies.
Find friends/acquaintances to refer you. If you know someone in a company you want to work for, reach out to them and request a referral. Buy them lunch or something. If you don’t know anyone in the industry, then no worries- try going for BA meetups/events and try to network. Networking can be phony & exhausting, so find your rhythm, focus on quality networking over quantity and be patient. This video might help.
Don't EVER feel dejected. There are more applicants than there are jobs. So you might get rejected several times. Moreover, recruitment processes can be pretty random and some of those suck. So don't beat yourself over rejection- just keep trying and learning. This Princeton Professor's resume might give you some motivation.
Preparing for an Interview
Know your resume inside, out. Make sure you can defend your work experience/projects in detail. If you have exaggerated about anything, practice how to defend it. If an exaggeration can be defended its not an exaggeration after all (don't go overboard though).
Research about the company, get a sense of their culture, so that you can explain why you want to work for them.
If you know who your interviewer is, look them up online. Be informed. It helps to know common interests, affiliations etc to have a more interesting conversation.
Steer the interview and stay calm. Try to take the interview in the direction you favour. Talk about projects you are most confident about and ask logical questions to steer the conversation.
Hope this helps you aspiring BAs out there. All the best with the job hunt.