Applying for jobs as a Business Analyst can be extremely frustrating. Especially when it comes to writing the perfect CV for the job you want. It might be appealing to just submit the same generic CV to as many employers as possible and hope that one of them bites. But if you really want to stand out from the crowd you need to tailor your CV to the job you want.
That is why in this post we are going to break down how to write the perfect BA CV. Starting off with things you need to do before putting pen to paper such as what to look for in the job description and how to research the company (and why you would want to). After that we will get into the CV itself, how to write a personal statement, what to includde in your employment and education history sections and finally we will briefly discuss what you DON’T want to do when writing your CV.
- 1 Read the job description / advert
- 2 Research The Company
- 3 Write A Few Sentence “Personal Statement”, and call it a “Professional Summary”
- 4 Detail your employment history
- 5 Detail your education history
- 6 CV Structure
- 7 WHAT NOT TO DO
- 8 General Business Analysis CV Tips
- 9 FAQ
Read the job description / advert
First step is of course to read the job description. We need to know what the firm is looking for so that we can properly highlight these characteristics in our CV. So read back over the job description and try and pinpoint the important points. A lot of times a firm will call things “required”, if you see this you need to make sure you include that in your CV. Similarly if certain things are repeated throughout the advert this indicates they are of high importance so we will want to make sure our CV shows that as well.
When performing this analysis take care to copy the ‘exact’ words and phrases that are being used by the hiring manager. We will want to pepper these into our CV later.
Job Description Example
One of the largest private banks in the UK is looking for a number of highly competent senior business analysts to work across a number of different projects to support the Bank with new transformation initiatives.
You’ll take on a critical role supporting the bank with implementing new functionalities that increases the efficiencies of internal and external process and ultimately helps support the Bank’s vision for simple change.
You’ll be working in a vibrant team and helping shape the future of the business.
This will prove to be a great development opportunity, to hit the ground running and take your career to the next stage.
As part of this role, you’ll be producing business requirements, supporting teams in understanding the requirements and aligning with the Banks long-term strategic vision. You’ll have an opportunity to build working relationships with a wide ranging network of stakeholders and third party suppliers across multiple enterprises.
Some of the types of responsibilities that you may have, but not limited to:
- Supporting the business with transformation ideas and translating these into requirements and work closely with the IT team to implement these.
- Capturing, validating and documenting business and system requirements and making sure that they’re in line with key strategic principles
- Frequently interacting with key stakeholders and the team to obtain and document functional and non-functional needs
- Analysing existing system documentation to summarise existing system functionality as it relates to the work at hand
- Supporting the identification of team priorities based upon feedback from the customers, key stakeholders and the team
- Previous experience and background with Banking, strong preference for Complaints and Redress
- A good understanding of the Agile methodologies and experience of working in an Agile environment.
- Evidence of technical Business Analyst knowledge and complex requirement gathering
- Proven record of delivering projects
- Experience of full project lifecycle
- Up to date understanding of analysis approaches, tools and techniques
- Strong stakeholder management skills and is an analytical thinker
- Strong verbal and written communication skills
- Ability to work on multiple projects concurrently
- Understanding of JIRA and Confluence tools which the Bank use.
Nice to have
- BCS/ISEB Foundation Certificate in Business Analysis
- Business process and data modelling experience
- Risk-based testing experience
- Business process and data modelling experience
Research The Company
Get out your Sherlock Holmes costume from Halloween as it’s time to go sleuthing. Get stuck into your target company. You want to look at their website, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, all of that. You are looking for any piece of intel that will give you the leg up.
– Find out what recent work/projects they have undertaken or will be embarking on (highlight your experience in these areas on your CV)
– Find out what software/processes they use and make sure you include your proficiency in them in your CV
See if you know anyone who works there and/or connect (LinkedIn) with people ahead of the interview. A little nepotism could never hurt and you might be able to glean more information about the role/hiring process in the meantime.
Write A Few Sentence “Personal Statement”, and call it a “Professional Summary”
Using the information discovered above tailor your professional summary to the job.
Business Analyst Professional Summary Example
- Adept Analyst & Delivery Manager practiced in all stages of the project life cycle within both the Finance & IT sectors. Regularly managed or supported projects with budgets or cost savings in the millions of pounds.
- Extensive experience using JIRA, MS Project and other tools in managing multiple facets of a large complex customer complaints operation
including but not limited to the automation of Workflow, Customer Contact and Redress.
- Excellent Leadership & Stakeholder Management Skills.
Notice how the summary states proficiency in Finance, IT, Customer Complaints, Automation, Customer Contact, Redress, Leadership, Stakeholder Management, JIRA & MS Project all in just 3 bullet points, while also dropping in the applicant’s experience in big money projects and in large multi-lane projects.
Detail your employment history
Your potential employer is definitely going to want to know where you have worked in the past. Therefore list your employment history starting from the most recent and going down in reverse chronological order.
Employers value recent experience over all else. You do not want to go over 2 pages (as noone will read them) so as you go further back in time reduce the level of detail accordingly.
Finally, do not just list off all of the responsibilities of your role. Use your responsibilities as context to showcase your achievements so instead of saying “Responsible for requirement solicitation” say something like “Sourced the requirements for 10 projects with a combined budget of $10,000,000 and a 100% rate of coming in on time and in budget”. See how the second example shows the employer that you oversaw the requirements gathering for the project but also highlights that you have experience in multiple million dollar budget projects that have a history of successful deployment. Much better.
Detail your education history
Remember I said we need to keep the CV to 2 pages or noone will read it. The education history section is a place that takes up far too much space in most CVs. If you have a degree employers are not going to care what A levels you have, if you have A levels employers are not going to care what GCSE’s you have. (For my American readers, if you have a Bachelor’s degree noone is going to care about your GPA)
People who list every single one of their GCSE and A-Level results are just clogging up their CV with details that most, if not all, employers will simply disregard immediately (if they even read it at all).
The only exception would be if one of your older education achievements is highly relevant and you want to highlight that experience. For example if you are applying to be a BA for an accounting firm and you have zero experience in that industry, then you might want to include your A level in accountancy.
Other than that niche example you will want to stick with Bachelor Degrees and Post-Grad / Professional Qualifications only. When your CV shows that you have a Master’s degree the employer is going to know full well that you made it through high-school.
Tactically structure your cv to the ‘most wanted’ attributes of the job description. For example If the job description was valuing “qualified” then whack your qualifications first, if they wanted someone with RECENT experience stick your last job up top. If they want multiple years of experience highlight your tenure.
I always recommend that you have a Professional Summary up top (after your name/contact info) as it will be the first thing that anyone reads. As discussed above this should be tailored toward the job advert and showcase your experience and skills in what the employer is looking for.
A fairly typical structure would go:
- Name and contact info
- Professional Summary
- Current (or most recent employment)
- Education & Professional Qualifications
- Employment History
WHAT NOT TO DO
So we’ve talked about what you should be including in your CV, let’s now look at some things that you should avoid doing.
Do not include personal history or likes. Management are not going to care about your hobbies, so unless you have some inside gossip that the hiring manager only hires people who play football at the weekend (for example) then leave your Sunday League team off your CV. This does not extend to things like volunteer or charity work. Definitely include that if you have the space.
Do not list your skillset and the tools/applications you have experience with. It takes up valuable space and is often obvious (Skilled in Excel…?). Instead include these in your achievements section (Example: “Used Jira when managing defects for X number of projects”)
Do not include references or “references available on request”. If employers want a reference they will ask you for them, otherwise this is just wasted space on your CV.
Do not include a photo of yourself unless specifically asked. I know that this is mainly a cultural thing and does not apply to certain countries. However in the UK and US you should not include a photo of yourself on your CV/resume. Companies don’t want you to do it as it opens them up to liability and there is absolutely nothing for you to gain by doing so – plus you are making it easier for firms to discriminate against you either implicitly or explicitly.
Do not use any fancy graphic or artistic CV format, unless your BA position also has some element of graphic design in the job description. Most CVs come in a standard format, as such recruiters and hiring managers are able to easily pick out the key pieces of information that they need quickly based on their experience. If you throw them a CV in a artistic format they are more likely to get annoyed and throw your application away. This is not a situation where standing out is good. You want your skills/experience to be noted not your CV format.
Do not include your previous salaries. This will severely impact your negotiation abilities down the line
General Business Analysis CV Tips
Stick to 2 pages only
Use the words as written in the job description
Use action words rather than passive words
Use numbers when showcasing your achievements
Have Someone Review Your CV/Resume for typos and to see how it reads to fresh eyes. Preferably have someone with hiring experience do this.
Should I put my address on my CV?
No, your employer does not need your physical address at this stage. Your CV should include your email address (please make it a professional sounding one!) and your phone number only. If an employer rejects you for not having a physical address on your CV in this day and age then that is not an employer you want to be working for in the first place.
Should I put my social media account on my CV?
LinkedIn account – yes if you have room and your profile is up-to-date. Other accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) should not be put on your CV unless you use them for professional purposes e.g. you issue BA tips on your Twitter.
Should I put that I failed my degree or dropped out of University on my CV?
No, unless you have a seriously good reason for dropping out I would not include it as failed here. You are only going to be asked probing questions about why you quit and regardless of the reason the hiring manager is very likely to consider it a negative when evaluating your application. If you absolutely must put it on your CV, mention it as ongoing and that you are arranging for night classes / online learning in order to complete your degree.
Should I add references to my CV?
Unless you are specifically asked to include them then you should not. If a hiring manager requires references they will ask you for them and call them up personally. If you do include them you are not providing any additional benefit and are taking up valuable space on your CV – remember 2 pages maximum is optimal.