How to Break into Business Analysis

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Credit: | How to Break into Business Analysis |Whether you are looking to change career within the business world, move up to acquire a position of responsibility, or even to start up your own consultancy business, breaking into the world of business analysis can be a daunting and difficult prospect in what can seem an exclusive sector. However, rather than failing to reach your aims to become a business analyst or to follow a similar career path in the business sector, here are some of the top steps that you can take to break down the barriers that have been put up between you and your dream career. 


  • Specialize in an In-Demand Area


One of the major steps that you should take if you are dedicated to your dream career in business analysis is to specialize in an in-demand area, such as data science. Rather than be in competition with many different candidates who may have a more advanced resume than you, specializing in a certain area will limit this competition and will ensure that you are qualified for an exact role. Not only this, but specializing in an in-demand and growing sector will ensure that there are many different job opportunities for you to apply for across the industry and that you will have a larger chance of career progression. Luckily, due to the overwhelming increase of technology and digital integration within business, there are a host of roles that are currently in-demand within the business analysis career path. To find out more about them and hear about the latest hiring opportunities that are available to you, Aston University has compiled the career specialisms that are available for their students to consider.


  • Network with Businesses and Recruitment Managers


As most people in business know, one of the best ways to break into the career of your choice is to start to network with many other professionals and businesses within your chosen field. This will enable you to meet prospective new clients who may be interested in your services, or allow you to make connections which you can harness at a later date. You should also consider networking with recruitment managers, as this will allow you to become known in the business and will ensure that your resume will remain at the top of the pile when it comes to the next hiring drive. Additionally, networking will often allow you to hear of open job positions or recruitment drives at some of the top businesses in your area. 

In order to network effectively, you should: 

  • Attend industry events and conferences
  • Join your local and nationwide networking groups
  • Consider applying for online networking associations, which often hold virtual events for their members. 

However, when you are networking, you are presenting yourself in a certain light. To network effectively, you should avoid asking direct questions about job opportunities in the sector, listen to what the other person has to say and ask insightful questions, and avoid taking up too much of their time or making a beeline for the recruitment manager that you have been searching for. 


  • Progress in Your Field


The number of companies that are recruiting internally is on the rise, with internal hires being 25% more successful than those that have been hired externally. Then, why not consider opting to look for internal career progression in business analysis?

If you want to become a business analyst but are unsure how to break into the sector, you should consider progressing or finding relevant job roles within the sector that you already work for, rather than looking for exclusive job opportunities within other businesses and sectors. This can be one of the easiest ways to break into a new career path as you will be applying for jobs within companies that already know you and your expertise, making it more likely that you will be able to get hired within internal recruitment drives. Not only this, but you are also more likely to have the specific knowledge that you need to become a business analysis within the company or sector that you already work for, rather than having to learn the ropes for a second time. Once you have gained the basic experience that you need within this company, you will then be able to look further afield for the job position of your dreams. 


  • Consider Volunteering as an Analyst


Although you might not believe that volunteering is one of the most direct routes to breaking into business analysis, you would be mistaken, and there are many volunteering opportunities that can help you to hone your skills within the world of business and data. Many non-profit companies and charities seek business analysts to help them to grow and to ensure that their projects are a resounding success, and this can be an excellent opportunity for budding analysts to get a foothold into the industry and to gain the basic experience that they need. 

You should also learn to volunteer within the company that you already work for, such as putting yourself forward to head projects that require the skills of business analysts, even if this is for a temporary period or if you do not get a pay rise for your efforts. All of this experience can be added to your resume, and may even allow you to become known for your skills within the sector.


  • Develop and Display Your Skills


However, it is unlikely that you will be able to break into business analysis if you do not have the right skills or if potential employers do not know that you have them.

The skills that you need for business analysis include: 

  • A good understanding of math and data
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Excellent IT skills and an understanding of innovative technology 

In order to develop the skills that are required for the role, it is paramount that you look at attending training courses and other add-on certifications after the completion of your degree. You should also consider looking at online webinars or finding a mentor who can help to guide you and advance your skills as preparation for the business world. You can also develop your skills by reading and studying online journals for business analysts, which will also allow you to understand how the sector operates. This can give you a more detailed idea of how to break into the sector. 

Once you have developed and practiced your skills, you need to advertise them and display them to those that are able to employ you. Not only can you demonstrate these skills in the workplace, but you should also look to get qualifications that can show others that you have the necessary skills that you need. You should also consider joining professional organizations, such as the IIBA, which can prove to those that are looking to employ you that you are serious about your goals and that you have the professional skills that are necessary within the business. 


  • Give a Good First Impression


If you do not have any contacts in the industry, you are going to have to break into business analysis through the more traditional route of applying for jobs. If you are looking to do this, it is paramount that you can create a great first impression by creating a professional resume that is catered specifically for business analysis. To do this, instead of compiling your CV in relation to date order, all of your qualifications that are related to business analysis should be at the top of the resume, along with the qualifications that you have. You should also create an inspired cover letter that focuses on your prowess in analysis, your experience in the sector, and what you can give to the business in question. 

Once you have passed the resume checks with flying colors, you will have to combat the interview stage of the job process. In order to increase your chances of interviewing well, you should research some of the most popular questions in business analysis interviews and ensure that you have honed the skills that the job posting mentions recently. You should also compile some questions about the specific company that you are interviewing for, and check that these are insightful and focused around the role of a business analyst. This is also your opportunity to show what you know about business analysis, and you should try to use the jargon of the role and provide evidence that you know and understand the basic concepts of business analysis.

Breaking into business analysis can seem like an impossible venture. However, with the role becoming more and more in-demand and more businesses looking to hire those in the business analysis sector, it is important that you know what you need to do in order to break into business analysis and avoid any of the common barriers that you may encounter to your dream career in the future. However, by using this guide, you will be able to overcome many of the reasons why business analysts cannot break into the industry and ensure that your career is long and successful.