Business Analyst Skills: Definition, Examples and Tips

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 14 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Business analysts play an important role in the profitability of a company, so they often require a wide set of skills to excel at their role. These skills can include critical thinking, communication and attention to detail. Understanding what skills are necessary for a business analyst can be helpful if you're considering pursuing this career. In this article, we discuss what skills are important in a business analyst career and explain how to improve and highlight these skills effectively.

Related: What Is a Business Analyst? (With Skills)

What are business analyst skills?

Business analyst skills are a set of abilities that business analysts require to perform well in their roles. These skills can range from hard skills to soft skills. Hard skills are learnt through training and education while soft skills are natural skills that you can develop over time. Business analysts work throughout their careers to develop these skills so that they can succeed and excel in their duties.

Related: What Does an IT Business Analyst Do? (With Salary)

Examples of business analyst skills

Here are important skills to be successful in your career as a business analyst:

Problem-solving

Companies often encounter challenges that require the help of business analysts. These professionals provide solutions after assessing their operations and business needs. This requires business analysts to have strong problem-solving skills. These skills allow them to identify issues and develop unique solutions.

Related: Hard Skills vs Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples

Critical thinking

Critical thinking is an important skill for business analysts that helps them analyse and assess data thoroughly. They use an investigative approach to process information from clients or stakeholders to help the organisation. With critical thinking skills, they challenge information and assumptions given to them so that they can better address business challenges and needs. This skill also helps them make the best decisions for the company.

Related: What's the Importance of Critical Thinking in the Workplace?

Creativity

While business analysis includes studying numbers and reports, it also requires creativity to think of interesting ways to add value to a company. They also use creativity to conceptualise ideas based on the stakeholders' information to meet all of the business needs. With creativity, business analysts drive innovative ideas and proposals for the company or their clients.

Related: 8 Benefits of Soft Skills Training and Types of Soft Skills

Communication

As they gather information and come up with proposals and ideas for their projects, these skills allow them to effectively communicate the information to the stockholders. It also helps them ask the right questions to get the information they need while listening carefully to understand. They also require strong written communication skills to write their reports and proposals in a clear and effective way.

Related: How to Become an IT Business Analyst (With Skills)

Computer literacy

Computer literacy is very important for this role since business analysts often utilise data analytics tools. Knowing how to use these programmes helps them generate reports and data analysis proposals and extract key information like metrics from online databases. Computer literacy also helps them manipulate data to find and present business solutions to the company and clients.

Many business analysts also have knowledge of programming. This knowledge, such as coding, can also help a business analyst go through large sets of data effectively and quickly so that they can save time on generating reports.

Related: What Are Technical Skills?

Time management

Time management is an important skill for business analysts to have, as they often handle several projects at the same time. Business analysts often work for multiple clients simultaneously, so it's necessary for them to multi-task and manage their time to complete tasks within the deadline. When working on projects, prioritising them based on their importance and setting schedules and deadlines for each project helps keep track of progress.

Read more: 15 Top Business Skills and How To Develop Them for Your Career

How to improve your business analysts skills

If you're looking to improve your skills, here are some ways you can do so:

1. Make use of analytical tools

Business analysts often use different tools in their work, and the more you practise using them, the more you can improve your own skills. You can also discover analyst tools through attending classes or studying on your own. Some common tools business analysts use are the PESTLE analysis, Porter's Five Forces analysis and the SWOT analysis.

Related: What Are Porter's Five Forces? (With Definition and Examples)

The PESTLE analysis is a tool that gives you a deeper look into various aspects of a business and industry, including political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental factors. The Porter's Five Forces analysis is a business model that many companies use at the start of their strategy phase to analyse industries and find out what tools they utilise to achieve profits. The SWOT analysis is a tool that helps you to identify a business's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

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2. Further your studies

Many business analysts usually have a bachelor's degree in business studies or business administration, but some companies may also hire candidates with a higher education level. Furthering your studies can help you to gain more knowledge and advance your skills so that you can utilise them in the workplace. If you take a master's degree, you can also acquire knowledge in computer science, management or business administration that you can apply in your role.

3. Get certifications

As a business analyst, getting certifications and going through courses can also help you to enhance your skills. Common certifications include the IIBA Entry Certificate in business Analysis (ECBA) or the IIBA Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP). Including certifications on your resume can make you a stronger candidate as it demonstrates that you possess the requisite skills and knowledge.

Related: 21 Types of Analyst Jobs You Can Pursue

Business analyst skills in the workplace

Here are some tips on how you can apply your skills in the workplace:

  • Set schedules and alarms. This can help you manage your time better and complete them within your deadlines.

  • Speak to your supervisor. Your supervisor can often see your progress at work, so speaking to them regularly can help you discuss your contribution in the workplace and gather feedback on how you're applying your skills.

  • Provide feedback. Giving feedback to your colleagues gives you the chance to improve your communication and people skills while helping others improve theirs.

Related: 35 Health Care Business Analyst Interview Questions

How to highlight your business analyst skills

Here are some ways you can highlight your business analyst skills as a professional on your resume, in your cover letter and during a job interview:

1. Business analyst skills for a resume and cover letter

When writing your resume, highlight your skills in the skills section through a bulleted list of short sentences. You can also discuss how you used your skills to complete your responsibilities in your various job roles. Highlighting your skills in your professional summary when you discuss career goals can showcase you as a skilled business analyst.

In your cover letter, you can choose two to three of these skills that you feel are the most relevant to the role you're applying for. You can briefly discuss them in the body paragraph and include examples of how you used the skill in your earlier roles. For example, you can say that you analysed reports monthly from stakeholders to propose two ideas for the company that increased business efficiency by 15%.

Related: How to Write an Analyst Job Description (With Example)

2. Business analyst skills for a job interview

When you're attending an interview for the position of a business analyst, you can give examples of how you utilised your skills in earlier roles and what you achieved there. When answering questions from the interviewer, try to incorporate these examples into your answers. You can also read the job listing to find what skills the company listed there so that you can refer to them and discuss these skills during the interview too.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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