Junior Business analysts analyze organizations and market segments to predict growth, changes in a certain business or trends within certain areas to see how a company or group of companies will performance under a set of circumstances. They research, conduct interviews and issue reports and opinions related to their findings, which are viewed by the media, consumers and financial professionals tracking investment options. In many ways, starting a career as an analyst is the same as any other area: It takes training, education and persistence.
1. Evaluate yourself against the fundamentals. Find a good book on business analyst fundamentals and determine what you know about business analysis and what your knowledge gaps are. If you have gaps, look for ways to fill them including classes or other study opportunities.
2. Begin accumulating business analyst experiences. Look for opportunities in your day-to-day work or personal life to apply business analyst practices. Practice listening, analyzing problems and facilitating discussions.
3. Meet business analysts and other technology professionals. Evaluate your local area for professional networking events. Ask analysts to participate in informational interviews so you can obtain a first-hand perspective about the profession.
4. Frame your target position. Based on what you’ve learned, decide if you are ready for an entry-level business analyst position or should look for a transitional role.
5. Update your resume. Focus on outcomes, not responsibilities. Optimize your resume to focus on the business analysis experiences you’ve accumulated. Use the catch phrases you are finding in job descriptions to describe your experience.
6. Conduct a job search. Use online job boards to find business analyst jobs, recognizing that not all analyst jobs will have "business analyst" in the job title. Evaluate the responsibilities to determine if this is really a business analyst job or not. Leverage your professional network to find opportunities that are not posted or to help you get an in to opportunities you find online.
7. Prepare for the interview. Practice telling stories about your business analyst experiences. Focus on what you accomplished. Seek out the perspective of your hiring manager and other interviewers. Make sure you address their concerns. Prepare work samples, even practice ones, to represent specific technical skills.
8. Evaluate the offer. Assess the cultural fit of the organization, your personality fit with the hiring manager and the opportunity offered by the position. As a new business analyst, you may want to focus on coaching, training and experience opportunities over a specific level of financial compensation.
Ø Be creative in how you think about accumulating business analyst experiences. Look for opportunities to take on responsibilities that capture any part of the business analyst role when you are just starting out. One business analyst experience tends to pave the way for another. Be creative in your job search and look beyond "business analyst" as a job title. Consider "product coordinator," "requirements analyst" or "technical project manager." Build your online professional profile by contributing comments to blogs and forums. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date. Use your real name so recruiters will find these contributions if they search for you online.
Ø Be wary of certifications for entry-level business analysts. Evaluate educational programs very carefully. Look for programs that offer a self-directed pace and the opportunity to receive feedback on real or simulated project work.