The biggest challenge that I am currently facing is advancing in my field.
I can’t get anyone to call me back when I submit my resume.
I am looking at the possibility of changing to IT as a business analyst.
I have a masters certificate in Business Analysis and loved the classes.
During the classes I worked with a lot of IT professionals and know that I can already do most of what they do.
I feel very comfortable performing the tasks of a BA and recently I have started taking IT classes (Intro to Java Development) to make myself more attractive to an employer.
The problem is I still am not sure how I am going to get that first job.
Being a recruiter I see that a lot of companies will not hire someone who does not have experience.
In the market that I am in experience outweighs ability and potential when it comes to getting interviews and that seems to apply to all fields.
If you can’t get an interview you can’t get the job.
Spruce Up Your Resume’ and Cover Letter
Imagine receiving a valuable gift, but it’s wrapped in garbage. The presentation lessens the value and may even cause the recipient to throw it in the trash, unopened.
This is exactly how your resume’ could be coming across to potential employers when it is “wrapped” in a poorly-written cover letter.
This is your chance to tell your story, but no one will listen unless you first capture their attention and make it worth their time.
Once the resume is “opened”, you’ll want to make sure it reflects solid business analyst experience.
You need to build your resume to showcase your best talents and prove that you can do the job.
In many cases, this is simply a matter of rewording your cover letter and resume.
Other times, it will require gaining more experience before you can complete your resume.
Baby Steps: Small Opportunities Grow
When a baby learns to walk; he doesn’t usually just, all of a sudden, stand up and walk across the room.
It typically takes many times of attempting to take a step and then falling down.
The baby will get back up and try to take another step until he gets it right.
It’s the same way with landing your first Business Analyst job.
Instead of looking for a chance to get up and walk, or for that one big break, look for opportunities that may even appear to be insignificant or small to build your business analyst experience.
You’ve probably heard stories of actresses being discovered from the most unexpected circumstances, but these stories happen infrequently.
The more common story is an actor beginning as a child in a preschool play, taking acting lessons, continuing on into Broadway plays and putting a lot of hard work and long hours into landing the big break toward stardom – not overnight.
But, there are little opportunities along the way that lead up to the big break moment.
Your goal in seeking a business analyst profession is not to jump into the spotlight unprepared, but to make the most of every small “baby step” opportunity along the way.
Begin Where You Are
The best place to start is to practice your business analyst skills right where you are – within your current job.
As a recruiter, you meet with clients and work with staffing requirements. This puts you in a great position where you can discover problems your clients are experiencing and then take steps to provide a solution.
Begin listening to your clients right where you are. By doing this, you are not only building relationships and trust, but you are getting hands-on real-world work experience as a business analyst without leaving or risking your current position.
Another great way to gain experience is to find a non-profit organization and get involved in helping with their business planning.
This will be volunteer work, but will give you valuable experience.
Do you have a friend or acquaintance who operates a small business?
They have a great business idea but need a plan to follow to make it take off. Step in and offer that plan.
Many jobs are gained because a relationship was formed. Begin to network with other business analysts through social networking sites online where you can create a professional profile that reflects your business analyst skills.
Seek out mentors and coaches both online, through your current organization, and join your local chapter of the International Institute of Business Analysts (IIBA).
Documentation is an important part of what the business analyst does.
If you are going to prove that you can do the job of a business analyst, now is the time to practice those skills.
Properly document everything you do, as if you are already a business analyst on the job.
Use a business case and other relevant documentation as you practice your documenting skills.
Final Step – Resume Update
Before you start sending out your resume again, look it over and ask yourself if your resume’ demonstrates strong, effective business analyst skills that reflect your newly-acquired experience.
Search for entry-level jobs and be prepared to send off your resume’ with a custom-written cover letter that spotlights the areas showing where you are competent and highly skilled specifically for the company you are applying.
Your cover letter is your chance to shine, make the most of it. Mention only the applicable skills that the particular company is looking for and make sure you include the name of the person who referred you or any other connections you have to the company.