This article is useful for anyone who is in process of finding a new job. No matter whether you are an entry-level or experienced candidate and applying for a QA testing job or any other IT job, these steps are applicable.
How to apply for jobs?
Whether you are a fresher who is looking for a job that will start your career with a flourish or if you are an experienced professional who deserves a much-needed change – all of us are constantly job searching. We have to agree, it is not pleasant, easy, fetching or rewarding for any of us. However, here are a few pointers that will ease the process and help you get there.
As is the general practice at STH, we will start at the very beginning and work our way through this process.
What You Will Learn:
3 Important Steps to Apply for a Job
Step 1: Find the job-Sources
- Friends or references
- Online forums (STH forum)
- Social networking sites, mainly LinkedIn
- Job portals (see all software testing job portals here)
- Newspaper Ads
- Informal online classifieds – like craigslist etc..
- Company websites
Step 2: Search or find the job of your choice
The one thing that will guarantee a failure is when you apply for a job whose description is not a fit to your experience or skill set. We will talk about each source and set some guidelines on how to avoid this situation.
a) When you hear of a job opening at your friend’s organization, ask for the JD (job description). Not always do our friends know exactly what our skills are and how much of an expertise we have in them.
Example: They might know you are an automation tester, but they might not know exactly which tool and how long you have worked. Being well-wishers, they would love for you to seize the opportunity to be an automation tester when they see an opening within their company. To avoid rejections, it would help if you knew of the details beforehand.
b) Let them know exactly what to write or tell about you when referring you. Give them one or two line information regarding you that represents your experience and skill set in the best way possible.
Example: “He/She has been a QA for 4 years and has worked on Banking and Insurance domains. He/She is CSTE certified and has good automation exposure to automation testing using Selenium.”
#2. Online Forums:
With online communities being rampant, they could come in handy for some freelancing or specialized skill set job openings. A word of caution, try not to post anything personal about yourself unless you check the legitimacy of the source.
#3. Social networking sites:
Sites like LinkedIn have taken the job market by a storm. The professional information, references and everything else being so accessible makes them perfect for finding job openings. Join the groups that are applicable and appeal to you. All you need to do next is to be on a lookout for job openings.
#4. Job Portals:
a) Create a profile and let the portal suggest jobs for you – which you could apply from within the portal itself.
b) Use the search feature to look for postings. A tip here is trying to search based on multiple criteria. For example, if you are a 2 year experienced manual tester and you are searching for jobs try these job titles – QA engineer, QA tester, Quality Control Engineer, Software Tester, Manual Tester, Test Engineer- so on and so forth. You will be surprised at how many jobs turn up when you search based on a variety of titles.
c) This is the easiest of all- create a profile and set its status that conveys your willingness to look for jobs and wait for the employers to get in touch with you.
#5. Newspaper ads:
With the internet revolutionizing our daily lives, newspapers are no longer playing a major role in the job searches. However, they still have a career segment (monthly or weekly) but some job postings still appear. The key to success with these jobs is to follow the steps given exactly in the job details.
#6. Informal online classifieds:
Wanted or Jobs columns are what we would want to look for. Again, please check if the sources are genuine.
#7. Company sites:
We all have an organization interests us. Sometimes it the technology and other times it’s the philosophy of a certain company that draws you towards it. To work for that one company and contribute your intellectual potential is almost a dream come true. Then, why not take a step ourselves.
a) Most company websites have an employment or ‘work for us’ sections. Browse this part of their site’s pages and look for any job postings that might fit your skill set.
b) If no jobs match your profile at present, submit your resume to their database. You will be notified when a fitting opening comes up.
Step 3: Applying for jobs
Whatever source you choose or however you came across a job – applying is the next phase – the most important one.
3 things are very important:
a) Online profile – This is applicable for job portals and social networks. It is a time-consuming activity initially to enter all information regarding your educational backgrounds, previous work experience, previous projects etc., but the payback is huge.
b) Cover letter – Job application involves contacting your future employer. Sure, they want to know what your experience is, what your skills are etc, for which a resume will suffice. But how do you introduce yourself and set the reference as to why you are contacting them? That is exactly what a cover letter does. Whether in an email, through job portal or when answering a newspaper ad, including a cover letter is mandatory. A cover letter is very simple. It needs to contain the following information:
i) Your introduction
ii) The reason for the email/correspondence
iii) The source where you found the job opening
iv) Your resume or profile – where to find it.
QA Testing Job Sample Cover Letter:
A sample cover letter could be
This is “Name”. I am a B.Tech computer science Engineer and have been a QA since 2004. I am very good at manual testing concepts and an automation expert using QTP.
I am answering your job posting ad for the role of Senior Quality Analyst on “Source, dated(if relevant)”. My skill set seems to be a perfect match.
I attached my resume this email.
Please review the same and I would be happy to hear back from you regarding this opportunity.
c) Resume – We all know and acknowledge the importance of a well-written resume. Check out our article on how to write a great resume here:
Job Application Important Tips:
#1. Do not apply for any jobs that don’t match at least 75-80% of your skill set.
#2. If social networking sites are your thing – keep them professional and updated.
#3. Be sure to pay attention to the ‘skills required’-in a job ad. Make sure all the mandatory skills are satisfied. Overlooking the ‘good to have’ or optional skills is at times ok, but not the ‘must-have’/mandatory ones.
#4. Eliminate all spelling and grammatical mistakes from your resume and cover letters.
#5. Sometimes, submitting a job application includes entering detailed information regarding each project, skill, qualification in your work experience. It is tedious, but please be patient.
#6. Make sure your resume has the correct information to contact you. Also, when providing references, double check their contact information as well.
#7. When using job portals, be sure to set your status are “actively looking for a job” or something equivalent to that.
#8. Do not give away your personal details, especially passport numbers.
#9. Be courteous in your cover letter.
#10. Job portals allow us to create multiple profiles and multiple cover letters. Though great, I personally find this confusing. If you are like me, one profile with one cover letter (make changes as needed) works best. But if multiple options are your thing, then more power to you.
On a personal note, we think so many negative things about why job offers are not coming to us. We blame the location where we live, the lack of contacts in the field, the holiday season (or the specific time of the year) and much more. There are some things that are beyond our control – so instead of concentrating on them – try to improve ourselves each day and make yourself job ready – despite all odds.
The work world is changing, work-life balance is improving and geographical locations no longer hold major significance – this might be the time for you to grab that opportunity that will just fit your lifestyle perfectly. Also, no one can stop a great potential intellectual mind from being put to use.
So, start your pursuit now. Let nothing stand in your way.
STH would always be there to extend a hand when you need one. Good luck, dear readers! Go get that job you want!
Author: This useful article is written by STH team member and the software testing expert Swati Seela.