The Best Business Analyst Resume Skills and Keywords [Updated for 2023]

Enlisting the right skills in your business analyst resume can help you achieve three things:

  • Grab the recruiter’s attention in a pile of resumes.
  • Portray yourself as a self-aware and confident candidate, which means a great first impression and higher chances of landing interviews and jobs.
  • Negotiate a higher salary based on your skills and achievements.

In this blog, I will share a list of skills and keywords that you can include in your business analyst resume to increase your rank in recruiter screening scans. I will also share a business analyst resume sample to show how you can add those keywords to your resume.

If you’d like to see a resume cheat sheet in which I break down where you need to put your best keywords and how exactly to back them up with hard, tangible accomplishments, download my resume cheat sheet below:

One of the best ways to improve your interview rate is by optimizing the keywords in your business analyst resume for an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). An ATS is a tool that recruiters use to analyze resumes and shortlist candidates.

How do ATS systems work? The average ATS scans a resume for “keywords.” Keywords are nouns or noun phrases that describe specific skills required from a job. There are two types of keywords: hard keywords and soft keywords.

Hard keywords are those that can be quantified or that someone can take a test for. This can include business analysis tools like SPSS or Tableau. Soft keywords are skills that you cannot test for but they are critical to succeeding at your job, for example, strong interpersonal skills.

Hard keywords are those they would search for, say using the LinkedIn search bar, to find someone like you. Soft keywords are strengths they'd look for when reading between the lines of your resume -- can you work well in a team? Are you a good problem solver? Can you communicate well with executives? And so on.

The employer enters a list of hard keywords into the ATS and waits for it to return a list of shortlisted candidates whose resumes have those keywords.

To succeed, your business analyst resume must contain the keywords an employer wants.

Top Skills for Business Analyst Resume:

After studying a large variety of business analyst job descriptions and postings, I have created the following list. They contain some of the most important skills and keywords for a business analyst resume.

Business Analysis

  • Process Mapping
  • Product Innovation & Improvement
  • Business Transformation
  • IT-Business Alignment
  • Business Process Improvement
  • Project Management & Prioritization
  • Metric Development

Customer Service Excellence & Leadership

  • Client-Needs Assessment
  • User Requirement Gathering
  • Stakeholder Relationship Management
  • Cross-Functional Collaboration

Data Analysis

  • Data Visualization
  • Product Management
  • Data Warehousing
  • Statistical Analysis Tools
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Analytics Reports & Dashboards Development
  • Business Intelligence & Reporting

Technical Support

  • Troubleshooting
  • Solution Building
  • System Testing
  • Automation Technologies
  • Automation Development

Tools & Technologies

  • Power BI
  • Looker
  • Tableau
  • SQL
  • Excel
  • Python
  • Qilksense
  • MicroStrategy

Business Analyst Certifications

  • IIBA Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)
  • Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA)
  • IIBA Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)
  • IIBA Agile Analysis Certification (AAC)
  • IQBBA Certified Foundation Level Business Analyst (CFLBA)
  • IREB Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering (CPRE)
  • PMI-Professional in Business Analysis (PBA) Certification

Business Analyst Associations

  • International Institute of Business Analysis
  • Association of Business Process Management Professionals International (ABPMP International)
  • Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • American Management Association (AMA)

How to Add Keywords Throughout Your Business Analyst Resume

You might feel tempted to dump as many of these keywords into your resume to improve your chances of getting an interview. But that’s not the right way to incorporate skills and keywords into your business analyst resume. This approach may help your resume get picked up, but you will fail when a recruiter actually reads your resume.

"This person has included all the right keywords in their skill section but I’m not seeing the proof. I’m not sure if they’re a good person to call in for an interview."

I'm sharing two ways to prevent this from happening to you by using snippets from a business analyst resume sample.

1. Add keywords underneath your resume summary

One of the places I'm sure you already know to add keywords to is the top one-third of your resume, also known as the resume's “visual center.” This is the most valuable piece of real estate on your resume because this is where you make a critical first impression on recruiters.

If the visual center succeeds in engaging the recruiter, they’re more likely to read the rest of your resume as well.

This is how I added keywords and skills to a client’s visual center:

skills for business analyst resume visual center

By placing the keywords toward the top of the resume, I immediately highlighted this candidate's skills. Additionally, this adds weight to his candidacy.

However, just adding your skills to the summary is NOT enough.

2. Weave Keywords To Your Experience Section

The experience section of your resume is where Applicant Tracking Systems "pay the most attention." If you have the word "Tableau" in your most recent experience, for instance, and you worked there for two years, most ATS can pick up that you have two years of experience with Tableau. Therefore, the ATS will give your resume more weight than if you just include "Tableau" in your summary.

However, merely dumping the word "Tableau" in each experience isn't enough -- you have to show that you used Tableau to achieve something.

A common mistake that a lof of job seekers make is to fill the resume with just their responsibilities. This is a bad idea because you don't want to show that you're a mediocre candidate that is just responsible for things; you want to show that you excel with whatever is assigned to you.

Not including accomplishments in your resume leaves a lot of doubts in the reader's mind:

What analytics tools did you use?

Which bottlenecks in business analysis processes did you help overcome?

How did your analyses help make business decisions faster or easier?

All these questions will go unanswered and you look mediocre.

How to Improve Your Resume

If you’re wondering how you can add more accomplishments to your resume, answer the questions below. This will help you uncover your best accomplishments. The best part about these questions is that they are based on business analyst keywords. So answering these questions with your resume will help you get picked up by ATS, too.

Business Analysis:

  • What technical solutions did you develop to solve critical business problems?
  • What was the impact on the company’s bottom line?
  • Do you remember identifying any unforeseen issues while analyzing a project?
  • Did you recommend improving the existing process of analyzing problems?

IT-Business Alignment:

  • What steps did you take to bridge the gap between IT and business?
  • Was there a time where you brought up an instance of misalignment between IT and business goals?

Data-Driven Decision-Making:

  • What research did you conduct to support executive decision-making processes?
  • Did you identify any opportunities to increase the use of data analytics to improve decision-making?
  • Did you improve any analytical processes to improve the quality of decision-making?

Data Analysis:

  • How did you use statistical techniques and machine learning tools to extract meaningful data insights?
  • Did you introduce the use of new analytical tools to improve analytical processes?
  • What process redundancies did you help eliminate?

Quantitative Analysis:

  • What was the impact of developing and implementing mathematical models to support financial decisions on risk management, investment, and pricing structures?
  • What kind of quantitative analysis were you asked to do on a job or project?

Requirement Gathering:

  • What steps did you take to gather and consolidate business and technical requirements?
  • Was the requirements-gathering process adequate or did you help improve it (for any project)?

Project Management:

  • What project management tools did you use to eliminate roadblocks and ensure on-time and within-budget delivery?
  • Which project prioritization protocols did you put in place?
  • What was the impact of your suggestions on operational efficiency and revenue?
  • Did you ever help prevent a project from missing its delivery deadline?

Data Visualization:

  • How effectively did you communicate complex data findings using advanced data visualization tools?
  • Did you make any recommendations to improve data visualization on a report or dashboard?
  • Did you introduce any new tools for better data visualization?

Business Intelligence & Reporting:

  • What steps did you take to strengthen reporting and internal controls?
  • Did you identify any weak areas in existing reporting processes? How did you improve them?

Process Improvement:

  • How much cost-savings did you achieve as a result of mapping operational processes and identifying and closing gap analyses?
  • Did you help eliminate process redundancies?

By asking yourself these questions, you will be able to identify accomplishments that will elevate your business analyst resume. As a result, you will create a resume that will quickly wow recruiters and gets you interviews.

Here are a few more resources you might find helpful:

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