In this article, I am going to help you grab the right Software Testing QA job by sharing my 8+ years of experience as an applicant and an interviewer (both).
With the evolvement of the digital era, the need for QA is evolving too. Only a QA provides the confidence to the team and the customer that the product is fit to be given out to the world for use.
Like development, QA also goes in a cycle following different phases and it is not just about verifying a product or feature but there are other things involved too.
What You Will Learn:
- How to hunt and get hold of the right testing job?
- How to search for a QA job?
- What are the top job search portals as of today?
- How to select the jobs for applying?
- Cover letter, its importance, and sample
- How to prepare for an interview?
- What is a software testing job description?
- Tips for the final round
- Recommended Reading
How to hunt and get hold of the right testing job?
Compared to a developer, a QA is expected to do good documentation, set up right QA process for the team and even be involved (to some extent) in the business analysis.
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Until last year, a major chunk of IT companies has spent around 26% of their total budget in QAT (Quality Assurance and Testing). Companies are now moving from the traditional manual testing to automation, DevOps, and Cloud testing and blah blah blah. Hence in order to get your dream job in QA, you need to first understand what the companies are looking for in QA.
How to search for a QA job?
Let us first talk about QA job search for fresher since they are totally new to the field and it is little difficult to get a QA job for fresher.
Following are the pointers for job search for a fresher but if you want to get an in-depth knowledge of fresher QA jobs, you can visit our fresher jobs page:
- First of all before starting a job search, list down your strong skills like are you good at coding (if you know java, ruby etc.,), communication skills, logical skills etc. This will help you do decide the basic question of whether you want to become an automation expert or a manual expert
- Learn and have a basic knowledge of testing, its process etc. If you have coding skills try to do some practice of open source tools like selenium, ruby etc., they are in big demand right now
- Prepare a crisp, to the point and error-free resume and also be active on professional networking groups like LinkedIn, Glassdoor etc.
- You can do a study research first to find out what are the companies looking for in fresher on Google, job searching websites etc. Search for your skills like automation, mobile apps, web apps etc., for the particular city or any city if you are comfortable with relocation
- Study job descriptions of at least 10 companies thoroughly and understand about a fresher requirement. Cross check your skills
- Once you have an idea of what the requirement is, do some homework like take an app or a website and create some test cases or scenarios for it. This will be definitely a test in actual interview (to create test cases)
- Also, if you have some companies in mind like dream companies, look for opportunities in those companies and search for their HR person on the job search portals. You can follow them and get updates on the job postings
- Apart from this, you can search for job openings on LinkedIn etc., and also check for other freshers there, how they have created their resume, their skills etc to get an idea of where you stand
- Use keywords like ‘fresher QA openings’, ‘0-1 year automation openings’ etc., while searching for jobs
- Bottom line tests your own skills first and thus narrow down the perfect skills that can get you the right job
Now coming to experienced people, it is relatively easy to get the right job because you are already swimming in the QA pool. But we do change our skills, evolve and hence our expectations about the next dream job change.
Following are the pointers to search for QA jobs for an experienced person:
- First of all, think about which area or field you want to go in i.e. whether you want to go in the same stream like automation in xyz tool, DevOps etc., or do you want to try something new. Create answers to these questions
- Do a research on your experience level what are the job requirements and expectations and where do you stand against those
- What is your expectation in terms of position hike, salary hike and try to find out the trend for the same in your current company?
- Even before starting the job search, first, ask yourself whether your priority is a salary hike or a position hike or something new. Because a lot of times it happens that after switching we realize that the new job is not offering what you were looking for but then it’s late and you can’t switch again
- Update your resume for the new skills that you learned from your experience and then post your latest resume on the job search portals, LinkedIn etc.
- The best way to search for a job is to use the appropriate keywords for your skills, experience in years, salary expectation etc.
- In the job portals, create criteria for job search, the portals will then start sending you job opening lists as per that criterion
- On LinkedIn, Glassdoor etc., search job opening for your skills, you can also ask your contacts to refer you to their HR etc.
- Keep updating your resume every other day for something so that when the companies search for candidates, the portals will list you on the top list. The portals list candidates based on their last active state
- Always use your experience years in the job search keywords like ‘openings for QA with 3 years experience’, ‘openings for 4 years selenium experience’ etc.
What are the top job search portals as of today?
Depending on the country you are interested in, the top job portals vary. Hence, if you are looking for jobs in US, UK, Germany etc., the Indian job portals may not be of much use.
Following are the top job searching portals in India:
- Naukri: Naukri is the biggest online portal in India, which has the largest network of job seekers and companies in almost every field
- Monster: Another prominent online job portal in India with a great network of job seekers and companies is Monster
- TimesJobs: Timesjobs is a subsidiary of Times Group and is becoming one of the top jobs search sites in India
- Freshersworld: As the name suggests, this is a job searching portal for freshers but it does offer opportunities for both freshers and experienced professionals
- Careerage: This website provides job information for both fresher and experienced professionals
Following is the list of job search portals for the USA:
- CareerBuilder: CareerBuilder is one of the best job portals in the USA and they partner with news media of the USA and collect job openings from them
- Indeed: This site consolidated job posting from across the globe at one place and allows you to search locally or globally
- LinkedIn: This top-level professional network lets you find relevant jobs using your extended networks
- Robert Half: Most of the job opportunities posted here are exclusive to Robert Half but they also provide information, advice for companies with which they are associated
- TheLadders: This is a job site exclusively for top management professional and executives
Following is the list of job search portals for the UK:
- Indeed: This site consolidated job posting from across the globe at one place and allows you to search locally or globally. Indeed tops the job search in the UK with 38.4 million visits
- Reed: This site offers positions for over 25,000 recruiters including private and public sectors
- TotalJobs: This is one of the top job sites in the UK attracting around 6 million job seekers every month
- CV-Library: Job seekers can register their CV for free on CV-Library and get noticed by the top recruiters of UK
- Universal JobMatch: This is a British government website for finding full time and part time job opportunities
Following is the list of job search portals for Canada:
- Robert Half: Most of the job opportunities posted here are exclusive to Robert Half but they also provide information, advice for companies with which they are associated.
- Eluta: Eluta is a Canadian job site which features job posting from employers’ website across Canada. It provides links to the original company’s job posting
- Indeed: This site consolidated job posting from across the globe at one place and allows you to search locally or globally
- Jobboom: Jobboom is Quebec’s largest job offering site and offers services in all official languages. It also offers career guidance and articles on self-learning, marketing trends etc.
- Workopolis: This site offers job posting along with job search advice, weekly job alerts, resume builder
How to select the jobs for applying?
It is always thrilling when you have good job opportunities to choose from. Since the job market has changed to ‘candidate driven’, you are in the position where you can choose the right job for yourself.
Following are some tips on how to select the right jobs to apply for:
- It is a good practice to keep searching for jobs so that you can grab the right opportunity when it arises. Mention all your success stories in your profiles and resume
- Think about the good fit jobs and apply for jobs accordingly so that you can ignore the jobs that you are not interested in
- Take online assessments to analyze your value, interests etc., to help you hit on your ideal job. You can also take help from career counselors if you are finding it difficult to identify your key areas
- Even if you are just applying never should be bluff in your resume because even if you get shortlisted for interview, the person interviewing you is way too smart and will realize the truth? This has bad consequences. I have seen companies banning candidates who lie and bluff in interviews or in the resume
- While applying for new opportunities, be sure about what you are looking for in terms of money. But also be careful to not give any indications to your current employer until you don’t have the right job in your hand.
- Sometimes we can also ask for salary hike to current employer and if you are worth it, the employer approves the hike.
(You can read our post about salary comparison of QA and Developer).
- Reach out to your friends, connections, and people in the network who are in the sector in which you want to pursue your career and you can ask them to refer you
- Keep learning and keep growing, this is not directly related to applying for jobs but if you want something better something new then remember that companies also want the same. It is very important to keep enhancing your skills to grow in your career
- Last but not the least, don’t juggle between jobs because it’s very stressful and gives a bad impression on your resume. Take your time to evaluate and compare the job descriptions and after an evaluation apply for the fit jobs
Cover letter, its importance, and sample
A cover letter is an additional document which describes your skills, expertise, and experience apart from the resume. This letter provides in-depth information about why you are qualified for a particular job. A cover letter should always be short (ignore what the internet says) and to the point, the person reading it doesn’t have a full day to read a long cover letter of 7-8 pages.
Let me shed some light on the importance of a cover letter:
- A cover letter will make the recruiter read your resume and a resume will get you shortlisted for your job interview
- A cover letter is sort of a matchmaking for the skills listed in the job description and what match (experience) you carry for those skills
- A cover letter is rated more compared to a resume
- Try to include the words used in the job requirement or description because at times a program studies the cover letter rather than a person. The program can shortlist you based on these words
- Our resume has all the history of our career and skills, most of the times recruiters don’t have that much time to study the whole resume and match it to their requirement
Following is a sample of cover letter for the post of Test Analyst:
How to prepare for an interview?
The preparation for an interview varies with the level like the first round is comparatively simple than the next rounds. But the common tip for all interviews is that read your resume thoroughly for every level.
=> You can read our other in-depth article about interview preparation.
The interviewers ask questions based on your resume and like I said before, be truthful and clear about what you have mentioned in your resume.
Following are some tips to prepare for an interview:
- The first round can be easily compared to the next rounds but the impression that you will leave on the first round interviewer will be passed on to next. Hence be confident and show an eagerness to learn and grow
- Study thoroughly about your skills and prepare well for all rounds
- It’s okay if you can’t answer all questions but for questions that you don’t know, try to give answers like “I don’t have much experience but given a chance I would like to learn”. This will give a positive impression about you and the company may not opt you out completely
- You can study about interview questions on Google and get an idea about what questions are asked
- Study the requirement in and out before the interview
- Definitely, visit the company website and study about the company because it will give you an idea of what’s there in the plate
- Prepare some good questions for the interviewer also, that will show that you are interested in working in their company and at the same time the interviewer will feel happy too
What is a software testing job description?
Job descriptions vary from company to company and for you as an applicant ‘job description’ is of utmost importance. Think about it that if there’s no appropriately drafted job description how can you apply or how can the company HR approach anyone?
In fact lot of times when I am approached by agencies for nice positions but when I ask them for the job description, they don’t have a job description (JD), my advice to you is that never move ahead before a JD, you can tell them politely to email you whatever JD they can get.
It’s okay if the JD is not properly formatted but the ‘responsibilities’, ‘position’ and ‘years of experience’ should be there and if it is not mentioned please go ahead and ask for it. I always do and I never go for a job interview until something is not provided to me in writing.
The job description structure can vary but the following is a basic structure that you should expect from the company:
- Email Subject: The perfectly drafted subject always mentions the years of experience and the role. Like ‘Opening for automation tester with 6 years of experience in Selenium’
- Job Title: The job title or the position should be mentioned like Senior QA, QA Lead, QA consultant and QA architect etc.
- Department: Optional, details of the vertical can be provided like healthcare, mobile, CRM app etc.
- Role: This usually defines a basic aim of the role and it’s not mandatory
- Responsibilities: This is a bulleted list which states “all” the expected responsibilities clearly and it is expected that most of the responsibilities should be met
- Skills required or Essential skills: This is also a bulleted list of the skills that are expected from an applicant so that the company or team won’t need to spend time on educating on skills in terms of tools, process, project methodology etc.
- Salary Offering: This describes the salary budget that the company has in mind and can offer. This is a good thing to mention so that even before starting you know whether your salary expectation is met or not
- Notice period: Companies mention this so that you are aware of their joining period. At times when the requirement is urgent, this field has ‘Immediate joiners only’
Following is a sample JD which communicates at its best the expectations and salary offer:
Designation: Senior QA
Role: As a Senior QA, you are expected to ensure a quality product is delivered and work in collaboration with other team members. In the time of need, you will be expected to take a lead, train junior QAs, show responsibility and ownership.
- As a Senior QA, you should perform testing in the end to end testing cycle individually
- As a Senior QA, you should do complete necessary documentation in the testing life cycle
- As a Senior QA, you should actively participate in SCRUM Planning meeting, bug triaging meeting etc.
- Hands on experience on MYSQL queries, DB scripts etc.
- Experience in SCRUM project methodology
Salary: 10 – 13 lacs
Notice Period: Max. 1 month
Tips for the final round
So you made the final round of the interview cycle? Congratulations! 90% is over but the most important 10% is still remaining. Don’t assume that you have the job because there may be other candidates also getting interviewed for their last round like you.
Hence here are a few tips that can help you clear the last and the final round:
- Avoid showing any kind of arrogance or proud feeling. It happens a lot when people clear till the last round of big companies, you should feel proud but it shouldn’t reflect in your tone when giving the last round. Rather keep a humble and soft tone
- Prepare more compared to the previous rounds. Review the questions that were asked in last rounds, especially those on which you had stumbled
- Ask good questions about the company and the position like what are the company goals for the year, what is the induction process etc.
- Make sure to carry a list of some references in case the HR personal asks about it
- Try to understand the culture of the company, this is the right time to understand and be prepared
- Especially if you are women employee, ask politely about the working hours and what security measures are provided by the company for women employees. If delivering the project is important so is your safety hence don’t ignore it
- Keep your cool and stay relaxed because agitating questions may be asked to test your patience and to check if you give up your cool
Keep testing yourself for where you stand in the Testing industry, prepare well right from preparing the resume to last round and be clear about the reasons for switching job. If you are a fresher study thoroughly about testing and do some free courses of the same before applying.
Whether you are a fresher or experienced think about what are your salary expectations and in which area you want to grow in the testing world. Only then you will be able to get your dream job.
All the best!!!!!!