5 tips to help you land your first job as a QA tester

The following is a Guest Blog Post by Joel Montvelisky from PractiTest. You can follow Joel on Twitter at @joelmonte and PractiTest at @practitest, and we also suggest you visit the QA Intelligence blog.

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Landing your first job is always hard, especially because you feel that you are competing with other candidates who have the testing experience you lack. And so you to sit at home and think about the absurdity of life, you can’t land the job because you lack the experience, but you can’t get the experience because you cannot land that first job…

But here’s the thing, you’ve got this point (and apparently many others!) wrong, and if you go about it intelligently, finding your first job as a QA tester may be easier and quicker than you think.

1. You are not competing with testers who have experience

The race against experienced testers is a lost race, so why go into it from the beginning?

Search for the positions where they are looking for people with no or with limited experience in testing. Start at the beginning and build your successes bottom up.

QA Managers understand they need a blend of testers in their teams, and so we are constantly looking for experienced QA testers and also for inexperienced ones.

When you get your first job don’t expect to be paid as much as the guys with 5 or 10 years in the company, and don’t expect to get the same assignments they got during your first day, or your first 6 months, but in the end you are getting this first job as an entry into your profession. Be patient!

2. Get experience in testing before landing your first job

Today, with all the crowdsourcing sites, it is easier than ever to get real life experience in testing (and make money at the same time!)

Sign up for 2 or 3 crowd testing companies, make this your work for the next 3 to 6 months (don’t do it in your spare time or at night after you got back home from the pub!) and earn some experience.

You will then be able to place this in resume, talking about the projects, the technologies and the overall experience you gained during this time.

When a manager reads about someone who invested his time and made testing his passion, it places that CV a long way higher in the recruiting stack in his desk.

3. If you don’t have experience in testing, become an expert in the subject being tested

There are tons of companies that work on very specific verticals such as gaming, mobile apps, languages, etc. Become more professional on one of these verticals and increase your chances of landing a job as a tester in one of these companies.

If you want to become an expert in translation and localizations you don’t need to become fluent in 7 languages, but if you already have knowledge in 3 languages that is an advantage you can leverage.

If you are an expert gamer, or you like hacking small mobile apps, this is something you can leverage as well.

Participate in communities, post interesting stuff about these subjects and make sure you have achievements and concrete things to point to when someone asks during the interview why do you think you are an expert in the field.

4. Go to smaller companies, they are more used to taking risks and to hiring people with less experience

Many experienced testers today will tell you a similar story, of how they got to testing almost by mistake when they started working in a startup or a small company. I know because this happened to me almost 20 years ago.

Smaller companies are usually more open to taking risks and to hire people based on their personal chemistry and not only based on their professional experience. Also many experienced testers prefer to work for a larger company where they have better chances to advance their careers, so concentrate on smaller companies, start up firms, etc.

Smaller companies also tend to grow faster, and so they need to hire more testers at all times.

5. The easiest way to get a job is via your friend’s recommendations

Most jobs don’t even get published on job indexes. Recruiting managers tend to start by asking friends, colleagues and family if they know someone who might be good for a job in their teams and companies.

You need to make sure everyone in your close and far circles of family and friends knows that you are looking for a job, and they also need to know why you are the best person for such a position.

Bonus – Be persistent, have courage and imagination!

I always tell want-to-be testers about something that happened to me when I was managing the QA for a Start Up company back in the early 2000’s.

I was sitting in my desk working, when the office receptionist called me and told me there was someone here looking for the QA Manager of the company.

I went to the entrance and there was a nicely dressed kid who told me that he was fresh out of high-school and was looking for a job for the next 6 months before starting his college studies.

I asked him who sent him to me, or why did he come to this office, and he told me that earlier that day he sneaked into our office building (we were on floor 34 out of 45, and the building housed about 100 different companies) and started going floor by floor asking if someone was looking for a Tester or an IT guy. He had no practical experience, but he said he was a fast learner and all his life he had been around computers.

My first thought was to send him on his way, but I was looking for testers and something in his smile and the way he stood made me invite him for a quick interview…

To make this story short, I ended up hiring this guy and he was a great tester for the 6 months he worked for me. Needless to say, afterwards he didn’t have the confidence problem of lacking experience.

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Comments

  1. sir,
    you are right for above points. I like this all , but most of them i like your 5th point because i am facing lot of company employees hire our friends, family members, and other relatives.

    I have no any IT background friend, family members, and i am update resume on social recruitment site daily . but no any response .
    so how to grab the Testing job.

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