In an increasingly competitive marketplace, the practice of resume writing is not what it used to be. Resumes must be more clean, concise, and convincing than they were in recent years. Today’s business analysts need every edge they can get. The following tips may be helpful in preparing your resume for a competitive job search.
Write for people. Your resume should read well, be clear and concise, and have even formatting and fonts. If grammar and syntax are not your strengths (or even if they are), it would be useful to have an editor or proofreader give your writing a second look once you feel the piece is finished.
Also, most modern resume designs are a bit sleeker than the more staid ones of the past. For some ideas on contemporary resume layouts, do a web search of resume templates and layouts. Examples abound, and you are sure to find one you’re comfortable with. A word of caution: Be contemporary, but be conservative. While the business analyst profession is forward-thinking, it is not, as a whole, edgy enough to embrace pastels, self-photographs or intricate designs. Think clean, sleek, modern, and professional. Use bullets and white space to keep the resume looking readable and organized. Finally, try not to exceed two pages.
Write for machines as well as people. Be aware that the first filter your electronic resume encounters may very well not be human. “Inundated with hundreds – or thousands – of resumes for some positions, many companies are using technology to streamline resume screening.” Another site notes, “If your resume doesn’t have the keywords related to the job you are applying for, you will be out even before the game starts.” To that end, include plenty of applicable keywords in your resume, such as those that typify your skill set, and be sure to reflect the language used in the job posting. Also, use variations of relevant keywords, such as business analysis, business
analyst, systems analyst, requirements, UML, business objectives, business goals, and so on. You may also want to consider creating multiple versions of a resume to have readily available to send out for various types of positions (more technical versus more business-oriented, for example) or for various types of organizations (such as larger ones where you would be strictly an analyst or smaller ones where the job description may include multiple disciplines). Be sure to tailor the keywords in each type of resume to the position and company for which it is intended.
Include any cross-training expertise that you can bring to the table. As companies downsize and learn to do more with less, many business analyst job descriptions, even at larger companies, also include other fields – such as testing or quality analysis; software development; support; or training. If you have experience in any of these fields and would not be averse to helping in those areas, be sure to note it as something that you can bring to the table.
Quantify, quantify, quantify. Include any relevant quantitative elements related to your past work. Numbers and statistics often communicate more powerfully than words, and make resumes more clear and competitive in the 21st century.
Quantify your accomplishments. If you know that you elevated the standard number of users your company interviewed for requirements gathering from 2 to 20, include that. If second and third revisions of software fixes fell 30 percent during your tenure with the company, note that.