Business

Best of BATimes: 4 Common Mistakes Made When Looking For Your First Business Analyst Job

Published on: May 12, 2021

Often when I coach Business Analysts to land their first Business Analysis Job, I find that either they have no strategy and just throw darts and hope one of them hits the bullseye, or that they make some serious errors in how they approach it.

Darts does sometimes work, but not always (read my e-book on 13 strategies for your first Business Analysis Job) and if you do the following errors then it takes just as much wasted effort.

Let’s look at some of the common errors I see:

 

1. Don’t Have A Plan Or Strategy

Many prospective candidates who want to break into Business Analysis don’t have a strategy or plan. They send their CVs out to every job ad that mentions Business Analysis.

The first thing I look for when I get CVs for job ads is if the person takes the time to match his/her skills and CV to the position they are applying for.

A successful business strategy comes down to the following. First, what are your goals? Getting a job as a Business Analyst isn’t a SMART goal.

If we think of SMART then it comes to the A – achievable ask yourself is this achievable i.e. are you accountable for it.

I think it is important to have a goal you are accountable to achieve, no one else. Getting a job isn’t entirely in your control, is it? Someone else has to agree to it, and you don’t have that authority.

An appropriate goal would be something like:

“I will engage at least x recruiters per week with my CV”, or

“I will spend at least x hours a week looking for Business Analysis jobs that match my skill set”.

So let’s test those two through SMART:

S (Specific) – Yes, I am specific about what I wish to achieve.

M (Measurable) – Yes, I can measure how many

A (Achievable) – Yes, because I am responsible for them.

R(Realistic) – Yes, I can do either one.

T (Timeous) – They follow a schedule.

 

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2. Your Resume Or CV Makes You Sound Like You Know You Know What A Business Does – Not That You Can Do The Job

When receiving a CV, I also look at it to determine if it seems like the person has a good understanding of what a Business Analyst does and if their experiences on the CV reflect that.

You don’t have to actually work as a Business Analyst to have real Business Analysis experience. You can have it regardless of what you do.

So I am looking at the title.  Even the BABOK 3.0 says it is not about the title but the tasks when defining what a Business Analyst is.

It is the skills, the experiences, and the tasks and related activities that a candidate performed in that role that speak to their understanding of a Business Analyst, and that even the candidate can recognize the tasks they have performed that are applicable to a Business Analyst.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to an employer and they told me about how many CVs they are rejecting just because the CV does not position a candidate with relevant Business Analysis task experience.

 

3. Your CV Must Speak The Language Of The Job You’re Applying For

You putting job before experience and not experience before job

A few days ago I was coaching a client who wanted to become a Business Analyst. They are in a non-Business Analyst role. I was trying to find out how much experience they have in tasks related to Business Analysis.

I asked what I could do to fill the gaps of experience. He said there are none and I will wait until I have a Business Analysis job to acquire the experience.

Here is the problem. Employers value experience. It is no different in any job application. Even doctors have to go through a community service program before they are allowed as practicing doctors.

You must embrace it, so think about how you can gain relevant experience at your current location.

I love the saying “We grow into opportunity”.  Apply the skills now and learn, gain experience, and reflect that on your CV.  Then the opportunity will come.

 

4. Focus On Certification

As a member of the IIBA, and CBAP certified individual, you are probably raising your eyebrows. Let me explain.

Certifying yourself is one good way to learn about Business Analysis, gain accreditation with peers, and boost your confidence. Yes, it does play a role in getting a job.

However, for an entrant in Business Analysis you must understand that employers want experience foremost.  A certification doesn’t give you that. Just like a degree doesn’t give experience, it gives knowledge.

Do the certification to gain knowledge that you can apply to gain experience.  Back to having the right goals again.

You need to put in the time and have SMART goals that you can achieve. Then, your strategy flows from there. It’s not an overnight thing either. Work at it, and adjust your strategy as you go.

When you have worked hard for your first opportunity, it will come.

 

For more strategies download my free e-book “13 strategies to getting your first Business Analysis job” – https://www.altitudejourney.com/ba-career-starter

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