There is undoubtedly a “war for talent” here in the Sydney market, with more jobs than people and a wealth of opportunity out there for talented professionals to make a positive name for themselves in the Project world. But when the right opportunity does come up, how do you go about differentiating yourself?
Through speaking to both candidates and clients day in, day out and focusing specifically on the Business Analysis market, it got me thinking about where people are really smashing it as Senior Business Analysts (BAs) and where they are falling short. With this in mind, I’ve put together a list of the top five traits every strong BA should have if they want to make themselves more marketable and enhance their personal brand within such a tight market.
Resilience is a key attribute to have in any role, particularly one where you are acting as a conduit between a multitude of stakeholders, both technical and business-focused. Managing expectations is absolutely essential, and it is also vital to not be a ‘yes person’ – simply ticking boxes and doing things for the sake of doing them.
Whilst your role is centred around making things happen, you should also have the autonomy to have a voice and make suggestions on how processes could be improved, or in some cases, completely reinvented. That way you will add value, whilst also earning credibility. Keep in mind that even if you have 100 ideas and only two of them are successful, those two ideas far outweigh the other 98 that were discarded.
Accountability is essential for any good Business Analyst, so always take ownership of the project and take pride in your work. Proactively drive key outcomes and be gratified at the end that you were able to deliver something successfully. That way, when you move to your next project, you can talk enthusiastically about the real impact you had and not have to hide behind others’ work.
Where I see a lot of candidates falling down is when they make statements such as “At company ‘A’ we delivered X, Y and Z”. Rather than defining your personal contribution to the project, this merely provides an overview of what the project team as a whole rolled out. The best approach is to focus on your own achievements in order to highlight the unique value you can offer employers.
As a Business Analyst, you are hired to have a voice and be the interlink between the technical team and the wider business, so get to know people. Make an effort to be pragmatic, build relationships and ensure you are memorable for the right reasons.
At the end of the day, project teams do not exist unless there is a problem to be solved, and problems can only be solved by communicating clearly and concisely (whether in written or verbal form), and by being open and transparent. If everyone is on the same page, then a project should run seamlessly.
Step outside of your comfort zone. Business Analysts can often be put into boxes according to their domain specialism and flick from similar project to similar project because they are a proven entity. They can come in and hit the ground sprinting, which is often essential, especially if you are a contractor and there is a deadline to be hit. However, sometimes it is good to go beyond just being a ‘Regulatory Change BA’ or a ‘Superannuation BA’.
I have always advocated that the best BAs in the market (and the ones who add the most value) are those that could turn their hand to any project because at the end of the day, their role is to look at the requirements, map out the business processes and document them. These are all constants and the only variant is the material. Take yourself out of your comfort zone and learn something new – you will open up so many doors and add texture to your profile.
A Positive Reputation
It may be a bit cliché, but it’s still the golden rule: treat others how you would want to be treated. Be humble, be open-minded, don’t upset people and if it isn’t the right piece of work for you then leave on good terms. In a relatively very small market like Sydney, everyone knows everyone and seem to be connected in some way. It’s important to be remembered as the gun BA; not the lazy one, the one who ruffles feathers, the one who moves every six months or the one who always wants a pay rise.
Establish a reputation as the BA who goes out of their way, wants to learn and wants to be a part of something. Being a BA in this market can be very lucrative, so take pride in your work – and be nice to people, that always helps!
If you’d like to learn more about the exciting Business Analysis opportunities we currently have available in Sydney, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.