Following my recent article about how to find a QA job without experience, I’ve been approached by many who are planning to study QA or have recently completed testing courses, and they are all having a hard time finding a job. The industry is very competitive, there aren’t many open positions for a Junior QA, and although difficult to admit, most simply don’t know how to search for a job or how to “market” themselves as worthy on CVs, through the first phone call interview, to the conversation with the HR and all the way through the end of the process. What can you do? 🤷♂️ They don’t teach you marketing in a QA course… In other words, you learn the profession itself, but not how to actually find a new job in that profession.
When I talk to those people and try to help them find a job, I notice that a lot of them make the same mistakes when writing their resumes, sending them, when they talk with recruiters, etc. Therefore, I’ve decided to write a post about 10 common mistakes junior QAs make.
10 Common Mistakes Beginners Make
1) No one is waiting on a red carpet for junior graduates… Maybe 10 years ago job searching might have been easier, but today it is a completely different situation (even regardless of Covid19). Why is that? 😵
- Every year, hundreds of course graduates are ready for their journey in the market, and the number of jobs opening for juniors is not that high.
- Nowadays the requirements a QA engineer should have are much higher than they were 10 years ago. The expectation is to have someone who is familiar with much more tools, specializes in much more technologies, and has vast expertise in QA methodologies that always remain the bread and butter of the profession.
2) When I asked every junior QA the question: “What have you learned by yourself since the course ended?”, most of them say “Nothing”. They say they’ve improved their project they did during the course and studies what they’ve learned, but didn’t learn any new things. Let me say it point-blank, most of the relevant knowledge that is required in today’s industry is not taught in colleges/courses (at least not at most of them), and don’t expect them to teach you everything you need because it’s simply not possible. I always tell my students, “When the course ends, that’s when you just start learning” 🎓
3) When you try to enter into the tech world, meaning into a constantly evolving world, if you’re not able to adjust quickly, stay updated at all times and learn new technologies – you will find yourself out of the picture in no time. This is relevant both for graduates and for college owners and one of the reasons why once a year I update the syllabus of my automation courses for example. Most of your studies will be self-taught 📚 Part of the QA engineer’s DNA is to study, research, be intrigued. If you can’t handle it, unfortunately, you won’t last long in the industry.
4) People usually perceive things from their own point of view and not from that of the recruiting manager. Think of it this way: you are a high-tech manager and want to recruit someone. It starts from advertising the job description, followed by receiving hundreds of resumes in your inbox. Now begins the screening process 👀 Who would you rather interview? Someone who just finished a course or someone who also learned how to develop or specialized in various aspects that (possibly) will be relevant to the position you are recruiting for? 🤔
5) The resumes I receive are reasonable. Some are good but a lot of them are just awful, sorry, there really is no other way to describe them. The only purpose of your resume is to get recruiters to invite you to job interviews, and if they are poorly written, you fail right in the 1st stage. What do I mean by “poorly written”? I have seen resumes with spelling mistakes, some that look as if they were copied from Google translate, broken paragraphs, inconsistent page layouts, too much text, too little text, etc (just on that I can write a whole separate post). So please, ask experienced friends or family members to review your resume, listen to other opinions, and be open to receive feedback, even if not always the most pleasant to hear 🙈 You should also create your resume to be “eye-catching” and differentiate yours from the rest of the bunch. Different colors, special fonts and logos will definitely do the trick.
6) When I ask the people who reach out to me, which of the points mentioned in my blog “how to find a QA job without experience” have you implemented – the answer ranges from none to very little. I have given you here a (partial) list of subjects you can use as some kind of reference to start from. Search for these topics on Google, search them along with the words tutorial/guide/learn/workshop, and more… I guarantee you will find a bunch of video and written guides to get you started! 🕵️♀️
7) The few who have learned new things beyond the initial course, probably have already forgotten a lot of the material… Don’t let it go to waste! There is a sentence I always tell my students: “If you don’t practice – you don’t learn”. Repeat what you’ve learned with practical studies. If you learned REST API, write a project in Postman, for example. If you decided to learn more about Python, then write a small game or web-based system with Django for example… The options are endless, you just need to follow through and implement your studies into practical examples 👨💻
8) I was approached once by someone who didn’t even remember what jobs he interviewed for (and he did not have that many) 😥 Not knowing to whom you’ve sent a resume is one thing, but not remembering, researching and documenting the companies you went to be interviewed for? That’s a big mistake! I recommend preparing an Excel sheet (you can find a template here in step #4) to track records of each interview you had, what the company does, their location, who the interview was with, what questions were asked, and most importantly, what you didn’t know how to answer.
9) The LinkedIn profiles of most people I talked to were pretty average. It is not enough to have a LinkedIn profile, it must be properly built, maintained, and always updated. Oh, and don’t do these actions only when you are looking for a new job, but always make sure to maintain it (even when already working). For those who don’t yet have a LinkedIn account, this is the first action item you need to complete after reading this post in my opinion 😎
10) Being able to pass interviews with flying colors is something you learn to do along the journey of job searching (each interview can teach you something new for the next time). There are those who don’t prepare at all for job interviews, or even come without knowing what the company actually does, what are the company’s products, and in what field is the company in.
- Recruiters don’t like such an attitude. For them, it indicates that you might disrespect the opportunity (you can disagree, but that’s how they usually feel).
- So definitely make sure to learn about the company before arriving. It will help you also prepare for the technical part of the interview. Be familiar with the job requirements and come with the relevant knowledge or at least brush up on the relevant skills required ahead of time.
Having a hard time finding a job these days? Share in the comments and I’d be happy to help guide you through my winning tips to landing a job even if you do not have any previous experience.
Best of luck & stay motivated! 💪