An excellent way to gain the skills and experience necessary to be employed as a business analyst is to undertake relevant contract work through specialist employment or consulting agencies. Look for work that you can do at your current skill level but which will extend you and will provide additional opportunities to prepare for the role you want. Most business analyst roles are considered IT (Information Technology) jobs with most positions filled by technical experts who have additional business training and experience. However, if you have only IT experience, you will not qualify for jobs for business analyst professionals. If you are currently in IT and you wish to transition to business analysis, look for a position which requires both technical skills and some business analysis. It will be easier to move into the mainstream business analysis field if your current role already involves a significant amount of business analysis work.
If you are currently employed in a relevant position and environment, you can increase your opportunities by networking and building relationships with colleagues, customers and clients, suppliers, and anyone else you are involved with. When you get to know people personally, you often have the opportunity to talk on a more personal level and to share your goals. You may find yourself in a position to help others, and they may well be able to help you. Opportunities can also result from joining business networks and associations and attending breakfast meetings and seminars. Get to know people; you never know where it will lead.
If you do a combined business and computer science related major and look for graduate work in the field of business analysis, you will be in an excellent position to start out with one of the entry-level business analyst jobs available. Associate business analyst positions are generally entry-level opportunities, which will provide the skills, training and experience to be promoted to more senior analysis positions or to seek work as a business analyst consultant. You can give yourself a competitive edge in applying for these positions straight out of college by undertaking relevant internships during college vacations.
You can find associate business analyst jobs along with other business analyst positions on online job sites. There are specialist job sites, which only advertise business-analyst related positions and there a number of large job sites which advertise jobs across all the major categories. You can search by category or do an advanced search on the job title you are looking for as well as search by location and salary. Using online resources to find jobs for business analyst associates is an extremely effective way of locating and applying for advertised positions. It's more immediate and a lot quicker than scouring employment advertisements in newspapers.
When you apply for business analyst jobs, it is important to have a professional resume and to write letters of application which directly address the selection criteria for various positions. Emphasize your relevant accomplishments, not only your credentials, as employers are looking for people who are results oriented and are able to deliver the results they are seeking. If you are not confident that your resume and letters of application are able to pass a tough recruitment process, it would be worth obtaining professional help. Career psychologists who specialize in helping people into jobs they want (and out of those they don't want) can convert your experience, skills, and qualifications into highly professional documents designed to gain you an interview.
If you don't already have a portfolio containing evidence of your achievements, it is time you created one. This folder should contain information about projects you have completed successfully. Include the original analysis, the improvement plans, and evaluation of the implementation. Provide evidence that you achieved the desired results. If possible, include acknowledgment of the client or employer that the job was well done. Your portfolio will ideally have a number of project examples for you to display to an employer or client. However, it is important to gain the permission of the company you did the work for, as they may see this as a breach of confidentiality. Minor disguising of information should satisfy most people.
Business analyst positions are highly sought after and are well paid. However, if you prepare well before applying and put time and thought into creating professional applications, you will very likely be offered the interviews you desire. Dress professionally and behave confidently and personably at the interview. Be willing to answer questions about the projects you have highlighted in your portfolio and make sure you know something about the organization you are applying to. How well you perform at an interview will ultimately determine whether you are offered a position.