What makes a winning business analyst resume? What skills do you need to include, and what layout should you use? Read on to find out.
Did you know that business analytics is one of the fastest-growing data jobs? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for business analysts will grow 14 percent from 2020 to 2030—faster than the average for all occupations. While the role is in high demand, one problem for employers is that many applicants lack the right skills. So if you’ve just completed a data analytics course, you’re already ahead of the game!
The next step? Creating a top-notch business analyst resume to help you stand out from the competition. In this post, we explore everything you need to create a job-winning business analytics resume, focusing on entry-level roles. We’ll offer plenty of examples as we go, to illustrate best practice.
- In brief: What is a business analyst?
- How to layout your business analyst resume
- Name and contact details
- Writing a stand-out introductory paragraph or objective statement
- Skills to highlight in your business analyst resume
- Business analyst work experience and qualifications
- Business analyst resume FAQs
1. In brief: What is a business analyst?
Before we start, it pays to cover the basics: What is business analytics, and what exactly does the job entail?
In a nutshell, a business analyst’s job is to improve an organization’s operations, using data to review and recommend updates to their internal processes, IT infrastructure, and general guiding principles.
Business analytics differs slightly from pure data analytics in that it requires not one, but two specialist sets of skills. While data analysts and business analysts both use data to produce actionable insights, business analysts require a much greater depth of expertise in business-related areas such as finance, accounting, IT, corporate strategy, sales, communication, and leadership.
Another decisive factor in a business analyst’s role is their objective. While a data analyst’s goal will be set for them on a project-to-project basis, business analysts have one core driver: profit. Whether they’re recommending new IT systems or improving corporate management techniques, they always have the bottom line in mind. For all these reasons, business analysts are more than just data analysts—they are trusted advisors to the business.
You may also be interested in reading our in-depth guide to the business systems analyst role.
2. How to layout your business analyst resume
Okay, so now that we understand the role, how do you go about laying out a business analyst resume for an entry-level position?
A resume’s task is to land you an interview. Getting this right is particularly challenging for a niche field like business analytics. Plus—in larger firms especially—your resume won’t always land directly on the hiring manager’s desk. Instead, it’ll be sorted by a member of the HR team, an applicant tracking system (ATS), or a combination of the two. For a role with such complex and hard-to-define skills, HR may not always have the in-depth knowledge required to draw out your talents if your resume doesn’t display them properly.
The easiest approach for an entry-level business analyst role is to follow the standard resume format. Aim for no more than one page and include, in the following order:
- Your name and contact details (at the top)
- An introductory paragraph or objective statement (ideally a sentence or two)
- Hard and soft skills
- Work experience and qualifications (prioritize whichever is more significant)
- Additional achievements (optional)
Let’s look at each of these in more depth in the following sections.
3. Name and contact details
It might sound ridiculous to guide you through writing your name and contact details—how hard can it be, right? The truth is, contact details are often overlooked by prospective candidates.
Business analysts must always strike a professional demeanor. This means writing your name in full (avoid nicknames) and limit your contact details to phone number and email address. Make sure you use a professional-sounding email, and perhaps avoid using your current work address if you prefer not to rouse suspicion that you’re job hunting!
Ellen Ripley – 909-123-1062 – E.Ripley@weyland-yutani.com
Elly ‘Killer’ Ripley – 202-555-0126 – RipleyKillsAliens@spacemail.com
If you must include your written address, do, but have a valid reason. For instance, maybe you want to highlight that you’ve just moved to the region where the job’s located. Be aware, though, that every line you use here is one less to elucidate your expertise later on. If appropriate, provide relevant links to your:
- Online portfolio
- LinkedIn profile
- Other social media
If including links, ensure that all information is up to date and context-appropriate. If your social media is full of pictures on the beach or political opinions, for instance, you might want to remove those first.
If you make it through the initial resume screening, a prospective employer might also search for you online. Even if you don’t include social media links on your resume, ensure that you’ve checked what comes up when you Google your name. If that old Twitter account you had years ago with all the cat videos appears, perhaps it’s time to retire it!
4. Writing a stand-out introductory paragraph or objective statement
One of the most important aspects of any resume is your introductory paragraph. When writing it, you should presume it is the only part of your resume that a hiring manager will see. Use a couple of lines to grab their attention and encourage them to read on. Even if the rest of your skills and experience are excellent, a sloppily-written statement full of mistakes or bad grammar will send you straight to the rejection pile.
Summary of experience, or career objectives?
If you’ve worked as a business analyst (even as an intern), or in another career with transferable skills (perhaps at an accounting firm, or in finance or professional services) your introductory paragraph should briefly summarize your key experience and achievements.
Meanwhile, if you have just graduated from university, or are freshly qualified as a business analyst, then your introductory paragraph can be a short statement outlining your skills and future career objectives.
Whichever option is right to you—summary of experience or career objectives—keep it punchy. And make sure you tweak the introduction to every job you’re applying for. When sending out many resumes, this can be time-consuming. But if you align yourself with each company’s values, it will show that you’ve paid some attention to what they do. You might get away with a generic statement for a less specialized role, but in business analytics, professionalism and an eye for detail is everything.
Next, let’s look at some examples for each—both good and bad.
Summary of experience
Goal-focused business analyst. Two years’ hands-on expertise boosting revenue at FinTechCorp. An adept ICT / business process specialist, I boosted company profits by 23% using Power BI to identify and fix inefficiencies in existing products. Following a track record of success, I’m excited to take on new challenges at FinanceSolutions Inc.
Been a data analyst in finance for two years now. To be honest, not finding it very challenging at my current role so I’m looking for new options. I’m really open to anything. But having read your job description I think that I might have all the basic business analytics skills you want for this job. So let’s talk more in an interview.
In the first example we see an active, upbeat applicant. They’ve highlighted their area of expertise (financial products), backed up their achievements with statistics (23% profit boost), and have briefly name-dropped their skillset (Microsoft Power BI.) They’ve also mentioned the company by name (FinanceSolutions Inc.), which demonstrates that they’ve targeted their resume to this specific job—and all this in 50 words!
Meanwhile, the second example lacks enthusiasm. It uses questionable English (‘looking for new options’), focuses on the negatives (‘current job not very challenging’), and shows a lack of self-confidence (‘I think that I might have all the basic skills’). And despite being wordier than the first example, it actually offers no specifics about the candidate’s skills or achievements.
The takeaway here is: be specific as possible, stay positive, and remain punchy. It’s possible to do all three!
Objectives (for entry-level jobs)
Graduated from Maggie Smith University with a Bachelor’s in IT. Have fostered a keen interest in business, particularly process and system design within accounting and finance. After taking CareerFoundry’s Intro to Data Analytics Course, I’m now eager to put my newfound skills into practice at FinanceSolutions Inc.
Received a degree in IT and now looking for opportunities. Did an online business analyst skills course. Open to any route into a new job with analytics involved.
Here, once again, the first example is specific and upbeat. It tells the reader what kind of degree the applicant has, where they received it, what their areas of interest are (process and system design) and how they aim to work in these areas in the future (they took an online course, and they named it).
Meanwhile, the second example does none of these things. It shows little more than a peculiar combination of desperation to find a job and fatigue in the process of applying for them! Not a great approach.
Remember: whether you are an experienced business analyst or a total beginner, your introduction tells the hiring manager about more than just your skills and achievements. The tone you use will help them identify whether you have the right attitude. Often, skills can be learned. However, a positive attitude is a rare find.
5. Skills to highlight in your business analyst resume
Following your introduction, the most important section of your business analytics resume is the skills section. There are a few ways you can present your skills, and how you choose to do so may depend on your level of experience.
If you’ve worked as a business analyst already, you can weave your skills into your experience section, in order to save space and to highlight how you applied these skills in practice. If you’re completely new to the field, create a section in its own right. Presuming the latter is most appropriate, you may want to divide these into hard skills and soft skills.
Hard skills for your business analyst resume
Hard skills are the teachable skills required to do the technical aspects of a business analyst’s job. They include things like data analytics, data modeling, and SQL querying. They also include any other business-related qualifications you might have.
Ensuring you include the skills outlined in the job description is especially important. Many organizations, especially larger firms, now use software called applicant tracking systems to automate the early stages of the hiring process, by searching for keywords and filtering out resumes that don’t match the required skills of the job.
Let’s look at some examples of how you might want to present your skills.
Hard skills for business analytics, example 1
First things first, look at the job description: this will contain the hard skills the job requires. It might also contain a list of desirable skills. Try to tick off as many as possible. If you have any skills that aren’t on the list but seem relevant to the role, mention those, too.
To make the best use of space, divide your skills into the most common categories required for business analyst jobs. For example:
Business skills: Business development, business strategy, product roadmaps, process design, IT systems implementation, quality control, training materials production.
Data skills: Research, data collection, data modeling, cleaning, and processing; statistical analysis (predictive analytics and system analysis), machine learning, and AI.
Software skills: Python, R, MS Excel, Apache Hadoop, Apache Spark, Microsoft Power BI, Tableau.
As you can see, this approach can cover many skills, while making efficient use of space.
Hard skills for business analytics, example 2
If you don’t have that many skills beyond the basics, you can also use what’s called a ‘skills bar’ to highlight your level of expertise. You might want to represent this graphically, using a 5-star system, but it’s up to you.
IT systems implementation: Beginner
Quality control: Intermediate
MS Excel: Expert
Simple though this approach is, it’s a good way of flagging your skills in a very visual way. Whatever approach you take, try to mention your skills elsewhere too. For instance, you might want to include the most salient ones in your introduction or experience section. This will help satisfy the applicant tracking system and increase the chances of a busy manager’s human eyes landing on your resume!
Soft skills for your business analyst resume
Soft skills are the personality traits that can support you in getting a job done effectively. They are invaluable for all jobs, but working in business analytics relies especially heavily on soft skills—the role requires the ability to communicate and persuade, often selling your viewpoint to stakeholders within the business. Soft skills can also include the non-technical transferable skills you’ve honed in other jobs, or through your education or extracurricular activities.
You can either include soft skills in a section on their own (like we did for hard skills), add them to the end of the skills section, or weave them throughout the narrative of your resume. Indispensable soft skills for business analysts include:
- Meeting management
- Conflict resolution
- Narrative and storytelling
- Critical thinking
- Time management
- Risk awareness
- Presentation skills and public speaking
When including soft skills on your resume, try to incorporate examples of how you’ve used them to overcome challenges or to deal with high-pressure situations. This provides evidence to back up your claims. Remember: you don’t need to have worked as a business analyst to demonstrate these skills; you could have picked them up through your degree, a job working in retail, or just through general life management.
6. Business analyst work experience and qualifications
Your work experience and qualifications should come after your introductory paragraph. Usually, work experience comes first. However, if you’re a recent graduate, you may choose to put your qualifications first.
Either way, list your past jobs and education in reverse chronological order. Include the job title, the company you worked for, and the dates. Next, write a short list of key responsibilities and tasks, perhaps mentioning an interesting or challenging project that you worked on.
Now, we’ll provide a good and bad example of how to present your job history.
- Mapping complex informational flows across the technology stack.
- Leading ongoing reviews of business processes and optimization strategies.
- Working with Python backend architecture/MySQL to code server-side enhancements using AGILE development processes.
January 2021—November 2021
- Visualized timeline of biological shipment samples using Grafana software.
- Reduced heavy vehicle maintenance costs by 2% by identifying inefficiencies.
- Generated monthly shipment error reports using Salesforce CRM.
- Worked as part of the business analytics team
- Led reviews
- Delegated important tasks
- Identified inefficiencies
The first example is relatively punchy but it still provides important information, such as: what the candidate did, which tools and software they used, and some evidence of their success.
Meanwhile, the second example is also punchy, but at the expense of any useful detail. The candidate ‘led reviews’ but reviews of what? They ‘delegated important tasks’—is this the right message to be sending? They haven’t even included dates or job titles. So, while you need to keep your word count down, never do so at the expense of crucial details.
Following your work experience section, you should add the qualifications section in a similar format, i.e. reverse chronological order, with dates. Don’t forget to include any relevant technical qualifications, such as the APMG Agile Project Management qualification, or PRINCE2. If you’ve recently finished a data analytics certification program or data bootcamp, put this on your resume, too!
7. Business analyst resume FAQs
Before wrapping up, let’s cover some frequently asked questions that might come up when writing your business analyst resume. You may want to use this section as a checklist.
Should I include a headshot with my business analyst resume?
Tempting as it might be, never include a photograph with your resume. It might seem like a great way to stand out, but many organizations have anti-discrimination rules, and a headshot can breach these guidelines. The same goes for including your date of birth. Avoid both. Instead, let your skills speak for themselves.
Should I use fancy fonts and graphic design elements?
No. Keep your resume simple. Use standard fonts and avoid heavy use of color or additional visual elements. While these might be suitable for a graphic design resume, for a business analyst role you should keep it plain and professional, and stick to the facts.
Should I include a hobbies and interests section on my business analyst resume?
It’s not essential, but it never does any harm to include a short section outlining your extracurricular interests. However, only do this if you have the space to spare. The interests you include should also highlight skills that will benefit you in the role. Although it’s a personal choice, this section can be especially helpful when you have limited work experience.
Ask yourself some of the following questions: Have you volunteered for any charitable organizations? Perhaps you managed a sports team, or won an award of some kind? Have you attended business analyst meetups? Maybe you’re a member of a professional organization, such as the International Institute of Business Analysis. All these kinds of things are worth mentioning in your interests section. You don’t have to cover everything, but it’s nice to have some talking points for an interview.
Should I optimize my resume for certain keywords?
While your resume should primarily be written for human consumption, remember that it may also be processed by an applicant tracking system. Include keywords that match the main skills in the job description, as well as any other industry terminology that might be relevant. Never do this at the expense of readability, though—poor grammar will win you no points.
Who should I get to look over my resume?
If you have someone in your network, ask a professional business analyst or data analyst to glance over your resume before sending it out. They should be able to offer fresh insights, spot mistakes, or provide insider tips on what hiring managers are looking for.
Completed a data analytics program? Then ask your mentor. Otherwise, if you’re completely fresh to the field and don’t know anyone, try finding someone who works in business or in an HR or talent acquisition role. Failing that, get a family member to check it. It always pays to have a second set of eyes on your resume, even if they aren’t an expert on the field.
How long should my business analyst resume be?
Keep your resume to one side of A4. Always. If you’re highly experienced or have years of data analytics work under your belt, consider up to two pages but, even then, try to avoid it. It’s better to get creative with columns and bullet points or to write in note form than to have a CV that is too long. If you have more to say, direct employers to your online portfolio or website, where they can learn more about you.
Can I use a business analyst resume template?
We’d recommend starting your resume from scratch if you can. However, we understand that grappling with layout and formatting can be an unnecessary cause of stress when you’re applying for jobs. In this case, there are free templates online that may save you a bit of time. We would avoid paying for a template, though, as this can be a bit of a con. Whatever template you use, always use your own words rather than those in the template! You can find free business analyst resume templates on numerous job sites, including CV Template Master and resumegenius.com.
There we have it—the full guide to writing a business analyst resume! When you’re applying for business analyst jobs, a winning resume is fundamental for helping you stand out from the competition. In this post, we’ve explored the main things to consider when putting together a resume for an entry-level role:
- Include your name, contact details, an introductory paragraph, key skills, work experience, and qualifications.
- If you want, also include additional achievements—but only highlight interests that further promote your skills for the role.
- Always keep your business analyst resume to one page.
- Always check your skills against those in the job description.
- Remember that your introduction is a hook to draw employers in. Take your time over it to make sure it has an impact.
- Business analytics requires very specific skills. Make sure that you’ve provided evidence of your qualifications, and weave these throughout your resume to increase your chances of being invited for an interview.
To learn more about data analytics, try this free, 5-day data analytics short course. You can also read more introductory topics in the following posts: