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Beating The Odds In A Competitive Job Market: Top Tips For New Software Testers

Beating The Odds In A Competitive Job Market: Top Tips For New Software Testers

Land that elusive first software testing job with these simple tips!

Job hunting is never easy, but it's especially challenging when you're a junior software tester. You're competing with an annual wave of new college graduates who are applying for the same junior roles you are. And then there are the people from other disciplines who are looking to get into IT by starting out with a junior role.

To improve your chances, try to stand out among the competition. First of all, make sure your CV is concise and readable. If you're coming to software testing from another field, emphasize your soft skills as well as the skills from your previous profession that are transferable. 

Build A Network, Build Relationships

Join local software testing communities, like meetups. You'll be able to expand your network and make new friends by getting to know like-minded people. Some of these people are likely to work for local companies, and once you get to know them and they see you are eager to learn, they might just recommend you for hire at their place of work. Having someone vouch for you puts you ahead of the game when you apply for a job. 

Building quality, long-term relationships with people is arguably the best thing you can do for your career. Being active in the testing community says a lot about you: people who are involved in groups related to what they do for a living tend to be passionate about their craft.

Having a solid network is great for job recommendations, but that's not all. It's great for support, too. The learning journey can be lonely, but in a community, sometimes you can find people who can be buddies along the way. We are heavily influenced by the company we keep, so if you socialize with smart, friendly people who are learning and trying to get into software testing, their good qualities and enthusiasm will have a positive effect on you. 

Work The Social Media Angle

Use social media to your advantage as much as possible. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is polished, connect with people (especially recruiters), follow industry leaders, comment on others' posts, engage in meaningful discussions, and show support to others by sharing content and leaving online reviews. LinkedIn's recommendation feature is a great way to vouch for someone's skills, and they often will be happy to do the same for you.

You can use any other social media platform as well. You want your entire social media profile to support your claim of being an engaged, talented software tester. If you want to post or share "just for fun," that's OK sometimes, but consider opening a personal account for topics not related to software. 

Try to participate in hackathons and similar events, or get involved in open source software. Activities such as these will increase your chances of getting noticed by people and prove your dedication.

Write And Share About Your Learning Journey

Consider creating a blog to recount your learning journey. You don’t need to be an expert at something to write about it, and it can give you some positive exposure. I once got a full-time job mainly because of my blog, and the blog resulted in a few freelance content writing gigs too. A blog is yet another way to show your passion and interest in the craft of software testing.

To get started, you can treat it as a public journal or diary. As you learn new skills, consider writing tutorial blog posts, as the act of writing them will enhance your learning. We learn a lot by teaching others.

Take A Chance On "Cold Email"

Don’t limit yourself to applying for jobs that specifically require juniors — apply to other jobs too. If a company likes you they might find a spot for you or contact you later on if you leave a good impression. Also, it can happen that the company is looking for a mid-level tester and the candidates they've seen so far do not impress them. They might just  give a chance to a promising junior like you.

Not all open jobs are advertised. Research companies that you might like to work for, and send them your CV with a nice cover letter that mentions why they appeal to you: their values, their tech stack, their product, and so on. Ask specifically if they have any openings at the moment. Internal recruiters for many companies are available for messaging on LinkedIn. 

Sending cold emails can get you an interview or land you a role in the future. Being proactive is a highly sought-after trait that any organization worth working for will recognize.

Use Job Sites Specialized For Software Testers

Some websites offer jobs primarily for software testers. One such job board is available on the Ministry of Testing website. The jobs on the MoT site are curated and hand-picke, so you can rest assured that these are jobs in prominent companies, offering great working conditions for software testers. 

On many job websites, you can filter for testing jobs and save those filters for later use. Remote.com and TestDevJobs offer this feature.

To Wrap Up

Be consistent in your efforts and understand that getting that first job is the hardest. It can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. 

If you get rejected, ask for concrete feedback so you know what knowledge gaps need to be addressed next. While it can be discouraging at times and hard to find the motivation, surrounding yourself with people who have similar goals can help you get more motivated and get you into a state of mind when you are constantly learning and applying for a new job. As you iterate, you'll get better at it, and eventually, that first job will come along.

For More Information

Mirza Sisic's profile
Mirza Sisic

Testing Consultant

Mirza has always been a technology geek, helping friends and family with computer-related issues. Started originally in tech support and moved to software testing and has been there since. Worked as a freelance web developer for a while as well. A casual RPG gamer and a Sci-fi fan. When he’s not sharing memes online Mirza is usually learning new things, taking part in the testing community, or writing posts for his blog.

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