Important Business Intelligence Skills With Examples

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Do you have the top business intelligence skills employers are looking for? Business intelligence (BI) involves analyzing data sets and software programs in order to help a company make better business decisions.

Executives and managers need to be familiar with business intelligence in order to make effective decisions for their companies based on data. However, data architects, data analysts, and business intelligence analysts all need strong BI skills as well.

What Are Business Intelligence Skills?

Business intelligence is a technology-driven process, so people who work in BI need a number of hard skills, such as computer programming and database familiarity. However, they also need soft skills, including interpersonal skills.

Below you'll find information on business skills for resumes, cover letters, job applications, and interviews. 

Types of Business Intelligence Skills

Data Analysis

The key task for someone in business analytics is to translate data into actionable information so that organizations can make decisions that will enhance profitability. This involves making sense of a large amount of data. People in this field, therefore, need to have strong analytical skills.

They must be able to see connections and make meaning out of the data they are presented with. Analysts must design instruments for the purpose of gathering data and master statistical and analytical tools in order to interpret data.

  • Database management
  • Survey design
  • Formulating data queries
  • SAS
  • SPS
  • Coding data
  • Drawing inferences
  • Applying scientific methods to gathering data
  • Critical thinking
  • Quantitative analysis
  • SQL programming
  • Identifying high-value areas for inquiry
  • Establishing benchmarks
  • Identifying and measuring correlations
  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Classifying data
  • Strategic planning


While someone working in business intelligence requires a number of hard skills, communication is a critical soft skill.

A person in business intelligence needs to be able to describe the data, explain his or her analysis of that data, and then offer possible solutions.

This involves describing complex technical information to non-BI professionals. Therefore, people in business intelligence need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively.

  • PowerPoint
  • Group presentations
  • Interviewing stakeholders to secure information
  • Presenting graphical data
  • Drawing consensus on research priorities
  • Facilitating group discussion
  • Writing summaries
  • Technical writing
  • Pitching proposals
  • Teamwork
  • Listening
  • Conveying complex information in understandable terms
  • Leadership

Industry Knowledge

When working in business intelligence, you need to understand the industry in which you are working. For example, if you are working for a hospital, you need to have knowledge of current trends in the healthcare industry. This will help you understand and make better use of the data you analyze, and it will allow you to offer more useful solutions to executives.

  • Industry trend analysis
  • Interpreting professional literature
  • Identifying best practices
  • Developing relationships with industry experts and influencers
  • Understanding the impact of economic cycles on your industry sector
  • Participating in industry-focused professional meetings and conferences

Problem Solving

Not only does someone in BI need to be able to analyze data, but they typically also have to offer solutions to executives based on that data. Therefore, a BI employee needs to come up with clear suggestions or solutions to help the company make better business decisions.

  • Identifying and prioritizing problem areas
  • Determining factors that contribute to problems
  • Weighing alternative solutions
  • Assessing stakeholder perceptions regarding problems
  • Estimating costs for interventions
  • Proposing solutions
  • Persuading others to adopt solutions
  • Creativity
  • Decision making
  • Research
  • Project management
  • Leading brainstorming sessions

Additional Business Intelligence Skills

Here's a list of more BI skills for resumes, cover letters, job applications, and interviews. Required skills will vary based on the job for which you're applying, so it's a good idea to review other lists of skills too.

  • Adapting to changing priorities
  • Assessing client/end-user needs
  • Attention to detail
  • Business strategies
  • C/C++
  • Client relations
  • Coaching
  • Coding
  • Collaboration
  • Computer science
  • Consulting
  • Coping with deadline pressure
  • Creating reports
  • Creating and running what-if simulations
  • Data architecture
  • Data controls
  • Data management
  • Data modeling
  • Data visualization
  • Debugging data output irregularities 
  • Defining data access methods
  • Delegating
  • Designing enterprise-level reporting
  • Designing/modifying data warehouses
  • Evaluating business intelligence software
  • Extract, transform, load (ETL) testing
  • Facilitating the creation of new data-reporting models
  • Finding trends/patterns
  • IBM Cognos Analytics
  • Innovation
  • Insights
  • Java
  • Leading cross-functional teams
  • Maintaining technical documentation for solutions
  • Managing relationships with vendors
  • Managing stress
  • MatLab
  • Mentoring
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Integration Services
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Power BI
  • Modeling
  • Monitoring data quality
  • Motivating staff
  • Multitasking
  • Negotiating
  • Online analytical processing (OLAP)
  • Organizational approach
  • Programming
  • Python
  • Reporting tools
  • Researching solutions to user problems
  • Results oriented
  • SAS
  • Statistical analysis
  • Statistical knowledge
  • Strategic thinking
  • Time management
  • Training end users
  • Translating high-level design into specific implementation steps
  • Web analytic tools

How to Make Your Business Intelligence Skills Stand Out

Add Your Most Relevant Skills to Your Resume

Construct your resume with action words that correspond to the skills in this list, especially those key skills that are highlighted in the job description for your target position. Lead your phrases with skills words like analyzed, calculated, and programmed. List your statements in order of relevancy to the priority qualifications of your target job. 

Include resume statements that demonstrate impact and results produced. Lead with words like increased, enhanced, revamped, and improved, which point to value added. 

Use quantitative terms whenever possible to demonstrate the magnitude of results generated—for example: "Identified options for automation that reduced labor costs by 15%."

Highlight Your Skills in Your Cover Letter

Incorporate statements into your cover letter regarding key analytical skills that you have applied in various roles, with emphasis on skills that have led to successes and problems solved.

Make sure you touch on the requirements that employers have emphasized in their job advertisements.

Prepare to Share Your Skills at Job Interviews

Prepare for your interviews by making a list of the core analytical skills that best equip you to excel in your target job. Think of examples and short stories of how you have applied these skills to generate positive results in the past. 

Describe the situations, the actions you took (emphasizing the skills you applied), and the results of your interventions.