How to Write a Powerful Business Analyst CV and Get the Interviews You Need
In this article, you'll learn how to improve your existing Business Analyst CV or create a brand new CV completely from scratch (if you don't have a current CV or it's hopelessly out of date).
As either a Junior, Graduate or Senior Business Analyst you'll need to show on your CV that you have a versatile and honed skillset that can be bolted onto any type of business function. You must demonstrate that you can analyse problems and define solutions that add real value to an organisation.
- How do you make your Business Analyst CV sound compelling? Please see our CV writing services. You'll benefit from our expertise in producing a first-class CV that sells your unique business analysis skills directly to employers, so that they must interview you.
What direction do you need to take your Business Analyst CV?
- When you're writing your Senior, Graduate or Junior Business Analyst CV, you need to think clearly about your next role - will it be a highly skilled specialist role or very generalist?
- It's important that you pitch your CV just right, if it's too specialist or too generalist, then you will miss out on jobs that might have been perfect for you - so make sure you know exactly what you're aiming for.
- Most Business Analysts are sector specialists charged with spotting areas of the business that are underperforming that might be invisible to those close to the problem.
- For this reason a vast knowledge of the sector is usually critical, that said there will always be room for generalists, but at a lower remuneration.
- So from a CV point of view, it's all about the ability to scope into problems, analyse them and propose solutions that offer win-win improvements - you need to get this across clearly in your CV.
- There is often a crossover with the role of Project Manager as well - some skilled PMs are equally at home in a job labelled Business Analyst.
- If you're writing a Technical, IT or SAP Business Analyst CV, then you'll need to highlight your technical, IT or SAP skills as much as possible to make your CV stand out for an employer / recruiter.
- Are you based in the UK (or a specific country) or do you have an international remit? If you're looking for an international role, then you'll need to make sure your Business Analyst CV reflects this.
Business Analyst CV Profile
The first actual section on a Business Analyst CV is the Profile (your name and contact details should be listed at the top of your CV). As this will normally be the first part to be read it is critical to demonstrate your relevance to the role you're applying for.
- Your Profile should make the case for your suitability for the job - to this end it is advisable to ensure you cover all the bases by mirroring the requirements of the job advert you are replying to.
- This not only helps the reader but could support your application being accepted by any keyword search software that may be deployed without your knowledge.
- Do not assume the reader will be interested in you, especially if you've sent your CV to a recruitment agency (all they will want to know is can they earn a fee from you - you have to make them interested in your CV).
- It can often be especially challenging given that the first reader is likely to be a gatekeeper and not necessarily the actual decision-maker, which sometimes means they don't understand the job or acronyms / jargon used - the job advert content will drive their decision-making.
- Think about their mindset, it could be 4pm when your CV is looked at after having read 150 CVs before it. The last 50 of these CVs were terrible, so the reader will inevitably start with some negative preconceptions including "I'm looking for a reason to reject this".
- Your Profile statement must reverse this in a mere 30 seconds, so it must grab their attention instantly if it is to have any impact.
How should you write your Business Analyst CV Profile?
- It must be short and concise saying what you are, a label that mirrors the job title you are applying for (e.g. Business Analyst), and basically should that you have everything requested in the job advert!
- 6 or 7 lines should do it - any longer and you risk the reader losing interest, typically a recruiter will only work with about 2% of the CVs they see.
- Is your experience just based in the UK (or your own country) or have you got international experience? If international experience will be important to the jobs you'll apply for, make sure you mention this upfront in your Profile.
- For a Senior Business Analyst CV you'll need to convince an employer that your business analysis experience meets their requirements and that you can achieve corporate goals and make a real difference.
- Whilst a Junior or Graduate Business Analyst CV may be more about potential, rather than delivering solid results, you still need to show that you are capable of achieving organisational objectives.
- Learning to be an effective CV writer is time-consuming and might not sit well with what you enjoy or are good at. Professional help will undoubtedly be of benefit.
Do you need to mention specialist skills in your Profile?
- In an IT or Technical Business Analyst CV, you'll need to get across your technical / IT skills upfront in your Profile, as well as highlighting them in an Technical / IT Skills section.
- For example, in an SAP Business Analyst CV Profile, you may even need to highlight the modules you have experience in, if these are listed in the job adverts you're applying to.
- Any project management skills you have also need to be conveyed and clearly outlined in your Profile, so they stand out and grab the reader's attention.
- You may also need to mention your language skills in your Profile, if these are vital to the jobs that you will be applying for.
Major Achievements Section on a Business Analyst CV
Why do I need an Achievement section on my Business Analyst CV - surely what I do is an achievement in itself?
- This is where you may be mistaken - an Achievement on a CV is not climbing Mount Everest without oxygen or simply having aspired to a particular job!
- It's an example of how you have deployed a prioritised and relevant skill to add value in the workplace - it will focus the reader's mind on your capacity to add value at work.
- The work of a Business Analyst is very results-orientated, to command a high pay rate you must demonstrate that you have delivered previously.
- Achievements must mention outcomes or deliverables that are quantifiable - in other words a figure! For each achievement you need to briefly explain how you made it happen by using your skills.
- 3 or 4 quality achievements will serve to transform a negative preconception into 'This is what I'm looking for'. It will relax the reader and they will then read the remainder of the CV to consolidate a warm feeling they have begun to get from reading the top sections of page one.
- For a Senior Business Analyst CV, your achievements will really need to stand out, because you'll be competing against other Business Analysts with first-rate achievements and only the best CVs will win an interview.
- Even a Graduate or Junior Business Analyst CV needs to have some excellent achievements, as it can be very competitive for the better paid jobs.
- Powerfully written Achievements are worth their weight in gold on a CV, if you are struggling to compose these yourself, then perhaps you'd really benefit from some professional CV writing expertise.
Make sure that you list any specialist skills that you have:
- For a Technical or IT Business Analyst CV ensure that you show precisely how you've applied your IT / technical skills to good effect to achieve proven results.
- Within the achievements section of an SAP Business Analyst CV, make sure that you point out the SAP skills that you've deployed and how they've added value within a business context.
- If you have leadership or project management skills, then you must clearly demonstrate these within your Achievements section to ensure that an employer will see that you have these capabilities entrenched in your psyche, they must 'jump out' at an employer.
- Show any UK-wide or international expertise if this is relevant to your next role - it must stand out if you want to attract an employer's / recruiter's attention.
Career History for a Business Analyst CV
You've now got the attention of the reader with your Profile and Achievements sections. Next you need to describe your Career History on your Business Analyst CV. UK and international CVs should be focussed on the experience that is most relevant to the job you want to do next.
When you're learning how to write a CV, you must focus on getting everything right, such as employment dates - attention to detail is very important and you can cost yourself interviews if you get things wrong.
- You should list your roles in reverse chronological order, with the most recent position first.
- For a Junior or Graduate Business Analyst CV you'll be able to list all the jobs that you've held as you won't be pushed for space and employers will want to know what you've done in each job.
- Whilst on a Senior Business Analyst CV there is little value in going back more than 10 years - is what you did 15 or 25 years ago really going to influence someone today? Simply put an Additional Experience heading in and just list previous job titles.
- Gradually curtail the number of bullets as you go backwards through your career history - the most recent roles over the last 5 years will be the most relevant, things you did 10 years ago less so.
- Ensure there are no unexplained gaps in your employment history - don't tell lies or mislead but try and keep any career breaks positive, the reader will be suspicious of any prolonged and unexplained lapses in employment.
Within the Career History section, you need to continue to demonstrate your experience, achievements and specialist skills:
- Within each job, think about what you've achieved, what have been the outcomes of each project (or piece of work) you've worked on?
- In an IT / Technical Business Analyst CV, you need to continue to demonstrate any technical / IT abilities that you've deployed along with the results of your labours.
- If you're producing your own SAP Business Analyst CV, then list any SAP skills and show how you've applied them within your workplace and ensure you show how they've added value.
- Just like in your Achievements section, you must include any project management or leadership abilities, displaying how you've employed these skills to lead or manage a team / project to a successful conclusion.
- You need to outline all international or nationwide experience that shows an employer what you're capable of and how you can interact with other teams and departments across and outside your employer.
The biggest mistake we see people making on their Business Analyst CV is including job description phrases with a very long list of duties and responsibilities under each of you current and former roles - why?
- If the reader understands what you do all day (within reason), then including this on your CV will only tell them something that they had already worked out for themselves. Your CV will become boring to read as a result.
- Clearly this will not get the reader too excited to want to meet you and discuss the vacancy further.
- Somebody else could put their name at the top of your CV if they were doing the same job and equally use the CV for their own purposes, as what is written is generic and not personal.
- However, the worst point apart from totally failing to make your CV personal is that you are not championing your skill usage or telling the reader how good you are, why should you be picked for an interview?
- A competitor job applicant could steal your interview because they have sold their skills more effectively, albeit they might not be as good as you at doing the job.
- Ensure you focus on how you deployed the skills you are looking to promote and identify the value that was added as a result of actions you took. In other words what did you deliver and how did it benefit your employer or client, etc.
Education / Qualifications on a Business Analyst CV
A Business Analyst's Education and Qualifications section should generally be very short, unless you've just left school or graduated from a college or university and you're at a fairly junior level.
- On a Senior Business Analyst CV this section should be short - there is no value in putting secondary education that took place 15 or 20 years ago!
- While a Graduate or Junior Business Analyst will include more details, especially if they've only got one or two jobs to list in their Career History.
- Always try to keep this section relevant and prioritise qualifications that will be pertinent to the specific applications you'll be making.
- An irrelevant qualification gained just after leaving school will have no interest to the reader when applying for a Senior Business Analyst job 25 years down the road.
Additional Information for a Business Analyst CV
The final part of a Business Analyst CV will be short and can be titled Additional Information.
- This is where you will bullet point things that don't fit in the other sections of your CV like driving licence or IT skills - items that would complement your application but will not naturally fit elsewhere on your CV.
- If you speak any foreign languages, then include them in this section or list them in a separate section, if they could be relevant to what you want to do next.
- For an IT Business Analyst CV, you'll need to pick out your relevant software / IT competencies, for example SAP, Microsoft Office, etc.
- You may want to list your IT skills in a separate section if they are a very important part of your job, rather than listing them under Additional Information.
- On an SAP Business Analyst CV, you should list the modules that you have particular experience with, as this could be very important for an employer or recruiter.
- Project management skills such as PRINCE2 may be worthy of a mention if you're proficient and these skills are relevant to your next role - if they aren't then leave them out to avoid inappropriate calls from recruiters.
- Even if you're not writing a technical Business Analyst CV, you might still want to mention your technical, IT or project management skills.
Make Sure You Pitch Your CV Right
- Quite often Business Analysts are on a contract day rate basis as the methodology will be common but the application or business may vary.
- It is always imperative that you indicate on your CV that you have the ability to add value through your skill deployment. This is fundamental to contract work - there will be a budget and a problem to be solved in a given timescale and you are responsible. The paymaster wants to be assured you are capable of delivering results.
- For this reason your CV must be a 2-page sales brochure that focusses on your ability to make a difference to the business.
- Remember that your CV only deals with interest-raising headline issues that will excite the reader - detail will not! Although important to you because you were there it is a lot less impactful to a stranger who might be a gatekeeper who doesn't understand the jargon and isn't really interested in who gets an interview.
- There is no question that as a Business Analyst your CV has to show how you've delivered tangible results - the role is very quantifiable and high-profile, your CV should reflect this and not be full of generic and meaningless waffle.
Discover How Your Business Analyst CV can be Substantially Improved and Get More Interviews
Please take a look at:
- Our Professional CV Service can make a real difference to the number of interviews that you'll receive.
- Free CV Review of your existing Business Analyst CV - find out the mistakes you've made and how to improve your CV.
- CV Examples - check out these professionally produced CVs and learn how to improve your own CV.
- More CV Tips from Alec.co.uk to help you get the perfect Business Analyst CV.