Your resume is a key tool in your job search. If it is not good enough, it will badly hurt your chances of landing a job you are looking for. This new video on Why Change channel reviews the typical resume mistakes you should avoid.
Mistake #1: your resume is very generic – there is nothing in it related to business analysis
Your resume should demonstrate that you understand what the job is about.
Show your experiences related to business analysis, even if you’ve never had the job. Have you analyzed, validated, documented, modeled or explained anything? Have you worked with customers to help them solve their problems? Have you documented or improved business processes? Analyzed data or talked to experts to determine what causes a problem?
When you apply for a job – any job – you have to research what the job means, and demonstrate in your resume why you should be considered for the position.
Mistake #2: Business analysis skills do not stand out
If you already have a business analysis experience and apply for a senior position, your resume should show a variety of business analysis activities and deliverables. Don’t just say “documented requirements” or “captured user stories” over and over.
Have you worked with stakeholders to analyze a problem root cause? Proposed improvements to a business process? Reviewed test scenarios? Analyzed business rules? Have you done any business modelling? What diagrams have you created? Have you ever reviewed solution design to ensure it satisfies the requirements?
If you want to come across as experienced in business analysis, make sure your resume shows it.
Mistake #3: Overload of meaningless phrases
Business analysts should be experts in communicating clearly. Your resume should convey this.
Do I want to hear about you “streamlining focused collaboration”? “Proactively engaging in out-of-the-box thinking”? “Creating synergies in the team”?
These phrases mean nothing.
Don’t fill up your resume with pompous fluff. Use the keywords relevant to the job, focus on specific experiences, and demonstrate that you are ready to work, not talk.
Mistake #4: Spelling and grammar issues
With all the tools available today, we should not even talk about it. Yet, resumes still have typos, grammar issues, or use inconsistent verb tenses. In a resume, it indicates unprofessionalism, sloppiness, and laziness. It also shows that you have never read any of the thousands of articles with advice on writing resumes. Or even worse, you have read some, but you did not learn from them.
Spellcheck, several times. Re-read, ask someone to review it for you. Anything less is inexcusable.
Mistake #5: Muddled, unclear writing
A business analyst is accountable for communication. For helping people understand each other. Errors in understanding of requirements can be very costly. If I read your resume, and don’t understand what you mean more than twice, I stop reading.
Practice clear writing. Remove all the words that can be removed. Get rid of at least half of the adjectives and adverbs. Shorten those sentences. Read it to yourself, aloud, and really listen – does it make sense?
When you learn to communicate clearly, you gain a skill for life, not just a means to polish your resume.
Mistake #6: Your resume is a mirror image of the job description you are applying for
When you apply for different types of jobs, you may need to adjust your resume. That’s fine. What is not fine is copying every bullet from the job description you are applying to into your resume without bothering to change a single word. That will simply flag your resume as insincere – or fake.
Mistake #7: The same bullets repeated over and over
When you lists the same three or four bullet points under each job experience, this signals one of two things: one, that all this experience is fake, and this is what you believe is expected from a good candidate. Or two, you are the type of person who wouldn’t make an effort even for their own resume. Neither of these explanations are in your favour.
Every job you have done must have been unique in some way. Different projects, goals, teams, and your duties. Being honest is not only good for you but it will give you better keyword coverage.
Mistake #8: Your resume is all about documentation
Junior analysts sometimes think that their job is just to document requirements. And that this is done with just text: business requirements documents or endless “As a user I want” sentences.
As analysts, we need to use a variety of tools to support requirements: models, diagrams, matrices, mock-ups, business rule tables and decision trees. Show that you are familiar with different tools and models, mention them in your resume, and be prepared to demonstrate what you can do in an interview or a hiring test.
Mistake #9: Too much technology, not enough competencies
Technologies change, companies replace their tools, but key business analysis competencies are always in demand. These are your durable skills – managing stakeholders, facilitation, leadership, analysis, modelling, explaining, validating, and managing complexity. Sure, mention tools and platforms, but don’t forget what makes a business analyst special.
Mistake #10: Careless design
We talk about it last, but this is often the first thing that can turn a reviewer off. It’s a careless, sloppy or inappropriate design and layout. You are a professional, and creating clear documents, diagrams and visuals will be part of your job. So your resume should convey that you are up to the task.
Don’t use five different fonts. Don’t bold half of the resume. Create clear indentations and separations, align all the bullets, and use white space to help reviewer see the sections of your resume.
Don’t include important information as images, as it will get lost if the resume is filtered by an automated algorithm first. Place most important information in a prominent place. Include hyperlinks to make it easy for the reviewer to look things up.
Your resume has to look good. Period.
When you work on your resume, think like an analyst. Put yourself in the shoes of the person reviewing hundreds of resumes. They need to find the right candidates to interview. They do not have hours for each resume. Make their job easier for them, and increase your own chances, by being clear, articulate, and professional.
This article is based on previous Medium post in Business, Architected publication.
To practice and prepare for interviews, enroll in my video course Job Interview Clinic (with BA Extras).