How to Find a Software Testing Job
I’ve previously written about software testing job sites, but I wanted to take the opportunity to dive a bit deeper into how to find a role as a software tester.
While I have also written about starting your software testing career (and finding the first role), this post is focussed on testers in general, regardless of experience.
This blog post reflects what I have learned, what has worked for me, and what I have seen work for others. Your experiences may differ.
In this blog post, I’ll share the importance of networking, a few CV/resume tips and a few interview tips.
It’s Who You Know
A lot of roles don’t get advertised. When a company is looking for someone they may advertise the role, or they might not.
Initially they’ll identify a need, then will (probably) ask their employees if they know anyone who meets the criteria and then interview them.
So, for some companies you won’t even have a chance because you’ll never know these roles exist in the first place.
But how about companies where they advertise roles?
Well to be frank it’s not an even playing field, first off, they may be advertising the role but already have someone internally in mind for the role, they just need to prove that there is nobody out there who is better (and it’s hard to beat a known factor, let’s be honest).
Second, employees can refer people and those people tend to at least get a first interview.
Third, and this is where you can say people are cheating or gaming the system, by knowing someone, that person can give you advice in the interview: What are they looking for? What do they value? What should you keep in mind? You get access to insider knowledge that a stranger wouldn’t have.
Is it fair?
But it’s good to keep in mind.
Network Before You Want or Need Something
If you can, I strongly suggest you network before you want or need something.
I say this because it takes time to build trust and to be willing to put your name on the line to vouch for someone. It’s easier to vouch for someone you’ve spend weeks, months or years getting to know, than someone who you just met a few days ago.
I like meeting people, building connections, making introductions and learning from others - that’s why I network.
You can network in-person at events/conferences/meet-ups or online.
Don’t Just Go to Software Testing Meetups
If you’re looking for a role, your first port of call may be going to software testing meetups (or events).
But think about it, there are other places you can meet people where their companies are likely to hire software testers.
I’m talking UX Designer meetups, Agile meetups, Software Developer meetups and more.
Learn about software development from a different perspective and while you’re at it, maybe see if any of the attendees happen to be looking for a tester.
Even If You Don’t Meet All the Requirements, Apply Anyway
If you think you can do the role, apply.
Sometimes “requirements” are in fact wishlists.
According to Wayne Gretzky:
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
Don’t Spray and Pray
Tailor the CVs and/or applications you send out to the role.
You don’t have to write each CV from scratch, you can have a “base CV” with all of the skills/ experiences etc that you have, then you edit that base, to fit the role you are applying for.
Get Feedback on Your CV/Resume and LinkedIn Profile
A lot of people have been approaching me asking if the company I work for is hiring, or if I know of any roles going.
Often, when I skim their LinkedIn profiles, there are lots of mistakes or just lots of keywords thrown in there.
Here are a few tips:
- Use Grammarly to check your grammar
- Be clear on how you have added value in past workplaces. One way you can do this is using the STAR method.
- Get someone else to look at your CV and LinkedIn profile and give you feedback
- Utilise a template for your CV. Microsoft Word has some great inbuilt ones, so does Canva.
Feel Free to Take Notes With You to the Interview
I don’t know about you, but interviews make me nervous - they also make me forget things.
I tend to take a few notes beforehand on which questions I want to ask, so I can make sure I don’t forget.
Make It A Conversation
You don’t have to wait until the end to ask your questions, ask questions throughout the interview.
I’ve found that interviews have gone a lot better where there has been some back and forth throughout the interview and it’s not just a one-sided interrogation.
If you need to, pause before answering questions.
When the interviewer asks you a question, there is no need nor expectation for you to start talking straight away. Gather your thoughts, then answer.
I’ve made the mistake a talking too soon (before gathering my thoughts) and later realising that I should have (and could have) said something better. I’ve also interviewed candidates who just opened their mouths and started talking without saying anything.
Don’t be that person.
Worse comes to worse, if you have realised you have waffled a bit, ask if you can start over. Pause, then try again.
Ask Clarifying Questions
If you’re unsure of what the interviewer is asking you, ask clarifying questions.
- “Do you mean..?”
- “Could you reword it?”
- “Is this what you mean?”
Here are some resources I recommend you look into if you are looking for a software testing role:
- My Book Starting Your Software Testing Career.
- Jeff Su’s Interview tips playlist on YouTube
- Life After Layoffs Resume playlist on YouTube
- Elizabeth Zagroba’s article on Ministry of Testing: How to Interview Like a Tester
What advice would you give someone looking for a software testing role?
Are you interested on more blog posts on similar topics?#Testing