Finding that perfect job match is a dream of many software testers regardless of experience level. With many software development and testing budgets on the rise, quality assurance remains a viable field choice for the foreseeable future. Faster and cheaper testing methods don’t always create a significant ROI, which means human testers bring a level of credibility that organizations need to succeed.
So, how can you stand out in a strong software testing job market? And how do you identify the best opportunity? In this blog, we’ll walk through how to define your software testing job needs, create a winning resume and cover letter, interview with confidence, and find the right listings.
Define software testing job needs and wants
Consider looking for your software testing dream job like creating a new software application. Start with a plan or strategy — define what you want specifically that qualifies as a dream job. Create a list of must-haves, nice-to-haves, and deal-breakers. For example, perhaps your dream job is 100% remote with no travel and flexible working hours. Mark each item on your list with a priority.
As a software tester, you must also detail your skills based on your preferred tasks. For example, perhaps you prefer manual testing over developing automated tests. Or, do you prefer a testing job that’s managed within an Agile development team? Be honest when making a list — or else you’ll end up with a less-than-dream job.
A sample list of software testing dream job needs or wants may include:
geographic location specific, or 100% remote (P1)
part-time work options (P1)
test case development done in a modern test management system (P1)
flexible work hours (P2)
self-managing Agile development teams (P2)
manual testing only (P2)
mobile iOS application testing focused (P2)
pay range from $60-150k per year (P2)
single tester per development team (P2)
health benefits with menu-based options to reduce costs (P3)
I’ve ranked these sample choices in priority order as P1, P2 or P3. The priority rankings come in handy when selecting a job from multiple offers or when you need justification to turn down an offer. Be honest; write down and prioritize everything you want in your dream job.
Build a reader-worthy resume and cover letter
Once you have a software testing dream job strategy list, create a new resume and a cover letter. Take your time and research resume examples online or browse through templates available in word processing programs. You might also review co-workers’ or friends’ resumes. Select at least two style options. Two resume designs help to distinguish if one gets you better results than the other.
Follow these important software testing resume rules:
easy and quick to read
one or two pages only
only go back 10 years
list only relevant jobs
make it readable in multiple formats (Google Docs, Microsoft Word, Apple Pages or PDF)
use bulleted lists for skills and job responsibilities
be truthful and straightforward
Make sure your chosen design format is printable and can translate to difficult mediums, such as social media sites or apps. Be sure not to include PII (personally identifiable information) like an address or phone number. Provide only an email and your relevant professional or social media links, such as LinkedIn, Facebook or a personal website.
Ask a friend or co-worker that you trust to review the finished resume and cover letter, then make changes based on their feedback. Aim for a clear, concise and direct resume.
Showcase your hard and soft skills
When creating your resume and cover letter, include both hard and soft skills to give potential employers a full picture of your skills and capabilities. Hard skills are the tools, testing types, and techniques you’ve used. Soft skills include your communication skills, leadership capabilities, and sense of creativity. Your resume should remain brief and easy to read — list the most important skills first, and cut the ones that are less important. Create bulleted lists or table-type structures that are easy to read and understand. The more skimmable, the better.
In a cover letter, create a paragraph for skills, but only choose a few that are relevant to the specific job opening. Don’t try to recreate your resume within the cover letter — just highlight a few skills, not your entire work experience.
Overcome job search challenges
Creating a dream job strategy is fairly easy. Landing that dream software testing job is a little more difficult.
Looking for a job is far more stressful when you’re unemployed, as the financial implications can provide an extra level of pressure to take a job you don’t want. You might have to settle for an opportunity that’s not ideal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue looking.
When searching for a software testing job while employed do not:
job search or apply during work hours
use your employer’s device(s) to search for jobs
use a work email or phone as a contact
Instead, work on your dream test strategy at home on your personal equipment.
Even if your current job is not the dream, you must remain accountable to your employer. If not, you’ll retain this attitude in your next position, and it won’t be your dream either. Be ethical and honest to your existing employer. If it helps, think of it as practicing professionalism. Additionally, your dream job may drop you from the hire list if they discern that you are using business resources to job hunt.
Search for a software testing dream job
First, create or update your LinkedIn profile page. LinkedIn is the number one way to get contacted for job openings. LinkedIn profiles must match the information in your resume but can include all work history — no need for limitation. LinkedIn provides a default template with a variety of optional sections to include. Review other software testing professionals’ profiles to get ideas on what to include. Many hiring managers and recruiters use LinkedIn to gather additional information on job applicants. Create a lively, honest, and interesting profile that reflects your full depth of experience and personality.
Request recommendations from co-workers, managers, or development team members to support your listed skills and experience — and be ready to reciprocate. Be honest and professional when creating recommendations. Stick to hard and soft job skills relevant to the core purpose of software testing and software development.
Optionally, many professional testers also edit their Facebook, personal website, or other social media accounts for professional networking. These can be useful options to supplement your LinkedIn profile.
Online job sites like Indeed, Dice, Monster, or ZipRecruiter can also be useful in your search. If you’ve been part of a reduction in force or layoff, unemployment listings might also yield useful job leads.
Prepare to build relationships with fellow testers as well as job recruiters. Your cover letter will come in handy as a framework for responding to recruiters, who can be valuable advocates in your search; just make sure to customize it to each job you pursue. Respond promptly with precise information when requested.
Interview like a pro
If job hunting wasn’t hard enough on one’s self-esteem, interviews typically add stress and tedium to the mix. Today’s interviews often occur over a video communication tool or phone call. Regardless of the medium, the first order of business is to prepare.
Review the job posting, your resume and cover letter prior to the interview, as well as your LinkedIn profile. Make notes on how you handled specific work situations. This preparation work helps jog your memory and bring you up to speed on all your skills and experiences.
Always research the company with which you’re interviewing. Even a simple Google search online can return a multitude of information beyond the company’s official website. Read through relevant websites and reviews. Make a goal for yourself: Come up with at least four questions to ask about the company’s products or services.
When it’s interview time, remove any distractions from the equation. Turn devices off, and find a quiet place for the full duration of the interview. If the interview is in-person, the same rules apply. And be on time, or, ideally, a few minutes early for the meeting.
During the interview, stay focused. One way to do this is to watch for non-verbal cues, and listen closely to both questions and answers. Get a feel for the vibe of the interview — one can often tell a lot about a company by the energy of the interviewers. For example, does the interview feel stuffy or forced? Or is it more personable and lighthearted? There’s nothing wrong with either approach, unless it’s not what you’re looking for.
Remember that attitude and body language matter, as does your tone of voice also matters. Be positive or level, and exude a confident and professional attitude. The more open you are, the more interviewers can effectively communicate with you and determine if you’re a good fit.
Your dream software testing job is out there, but it’s up to you to find it. Good luck!