So you have a solid resume and LinkedIn profile, and you’re ready to get a new software testing QA job. How do you find QA jobs, what do you apply for, and how do you follow job application best practices?
Where to Look For QA Jobs
In this day and age, there are dozens of major job sites. On one hand, it’s great to have so many resources. But on the other, it can be difficult to cut through the noise. You also don’t want to end up wasting time.
Some of the best sites for finding QA jobs include:
Interested in working from home? If you’re located in America, Mindful QA is often hiring for remote QA jobs, including remote manual testing jobs and remote QA automation jobs. If you’re just looking to pick up extra hours on the side, we also have work for part-time freelance QA testers.
Indeed QA Jobs
Indeed has two main options: Indeed Prime and an online job board. If using the latter, you can filter and save searches by location, job title (for example, QA analyst or QA engineer jobs), experience level, salary, and more. You can also read reviews of the employer posting the position.
Indeed Prime is a free service that lets you post your resume, so employers and QA recruiters can request to interview you. It matches you with the type of QA jobs you’re interested in, and prompts employers to contact you directly, so you can skip the tedious job application process. They also provide free one-on-one mentoring with professional career coaches.
Hired QA Jobs
Hired is a little different from the others. If you’re tired of sending out resumes and not hearing back, Hired might be a good choice for you. In signing up for Hired.com, you create a profile, and companies reach out to you if they want to interview you. You’ll also have a Hired representative who can help you prep for interviews. If you get on Hired, you have a much higher chance of getting interviews. However, that doesn’t mean the companies will automatically be ones you want to work for. So it’s best to go into it with an open mind, and not assume it’s a sure thing.
Vettery QA Jobs
Vettery works similarly to Hired (see the description above). You provide information on your job experience and ideal job. Then Vettery suggests your profile to hiring managers, who reach out directly to you to schedule an interview.
LinkedIn QA Jobs
LinkedIn has a job listings section, but you can also use it for much more. You can add others in the QA testing industry, and keep an eye on their postings for any relevant jobs. It’s not uncommon to see things like, “My company is hiring for QA tester jobs, message me if you know any!”
Even if you aren’t following a person that posts a job, you can sometimes find similar postings by looking at relevant hashtags or searching LinkedIn content for the job title you want.
You can also allow recruiters to contact you, and write a short description of what you’re looking for.
Dice QA Jobs
Dice is a tech-focused online jobs site. In addition to having plenty of QA job listings, they also offer:
- Salary predictor. You can enter details like your location, years of experience, and job title (ie: QA Analyst or QA Engineer) to find out Dice’s prediction for how much you can expect to get paid.
- Career paths. Are you open to other positions? This neat tool suggests possible related roles you can transition to, which you can sort by potential salary increase, demand, and popularity.
AngelList QA Jobs
AngelList is a job listings site specifically focused on start-ups. In many cases, it’s possible to get equity in the company as part of the payment. (You don’t want to take an unfair salary thinking the company will be the next Apple, though. It’s best to think of equity as a potential bonus, rather than an inherent part of your salary.)
You can also make a QA portfolio with deeper content than some of the other job sites, such as a Q&A section.
What’s On a Typical QA Job Application?
Most QA job applications will only require your basic information, a resume, and a cover letter. (The cover letter is often optional, but it’s always a good idea to include one.)
How Do You Decide What QA Jobs to Apply For?
There can be a lot of QA job postings out there, especially if you live in a major city. But if you want to put time into submitting a good, personalized application, you can’t apply for all of them. Writing a strong cover letter and customizing your resume can easily take an hour or more.
Sometimes people skip applying to what looks like a dream job, because they assume that it’s out of their league. Others apply to jobs that they know are farther away than they really want to commute. Finding the balancing act of being realistic and confident at the same time is key.
If you only ever apply to jobs at the exact level of your current status, it will be harder to advance in your QA career. However, it’s also not the best use of time to apply to jobs where you only have 20% of the skills needed. (For example, if your background is in manual testing, there’s no use applying for an SDET position.)
Timing also plays a role. If you have some savings or don’t have many expenses, you can afford to be pickier about which jobs you apply for. You can start by applying to those that you feel most interested in. As time goes on, or if you need a new job urgently, you can branch out and lower your standards a bit.
No matter what stage you’re at, don’t let a college degree requirement or lack of QA certificates hold you back from applying. Some companies may stick to it, but others will ignore it if your resume and/or job experience are compelling enough.
When Not to Apply For a Job
- If the company has horrible GlassDoor reviews. GlassDoor is a site where employees can post anonymous reviews of companies, and it’s a great tool to have at your disposal when job searching.
- If you know it pays less than you’re willing to accept. Having a job that you’re passionate about can often be worth a lower salary. However, everyone has limits. You still need to make enough to get by, so if you know there’s very little chance of making a livable wage at a certain job, you probably don’t want to waste your time applying.
- If it’s farther than you’re okay commuting. Be realistic with yourself when applying, especially if you’re not in a desperate financial situation. In the whirlwind process of applying for jobs, a commute might sound doable. But the day to day reality can be quite different, especially if the long commute involves sitting in traffic and/or in a packed public transportation setting. (Luckily, more companies are starting to embrace hiring remote workers, but on-site job requirements are still more common. If you do find a work-from-home job, check out our guide to Tips and Tools for Working Remotely.)
- If the required skills are drastically different than yours. As the saying goes, many job postings are really more like wish lists than requirements. But if the gap between the skills listed and the ones you have is drastic, your time would be better spent applying to other jobs instead.
Map out a list of your goal job characteristics. For example, maybe you want to be within 15 minutes of your next job. Or perhaps you’d like to work with a small team instead of a big company. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take anything less than perfect. But it can help guide you towards which to apply to first.
QA Cover Letters
If you actively want to land a certain position, it’s smart to include a cover letter. If you’re mass-applying to 30+ jobs without much discretion, it’s not necessarily worth taking the time to write a cover letter for each.
QA Cover Letter Template
You can review a sample QA cover letter template here.
Tips for Writing the Best QA Cover Letter
- Always make it unique to the job. It’s smart to mention specific aspects of the job that you have experience with, or reasons why you would be an enthusiastic fit at that particular company.
- It’s okay (and good) to show some personality. Hiring managers are tired of reading the same stiff cover letters. Obviously this doesn’t mean being inappropriate. But you don’t want to just repeat your resume content in letter form.
- Go ahead, brag! Being humble might be a positive life skill in many situations, but a cover letter isn’t one of them.
- Always spell-check. When applying for a QA job, it’s even more important to make sure your content looks error-free. Otherwise, the company might doubt your ability to find bugs in their website or app.
- Have a friend read it and provide feedback. This can be especially helpful if the friend or colleague is in the QA field. But even if they aren’t, anyone whose opinion you value can give you feedback about the general vibe.
- Don’t make it longer than a page. It can be tempting to ignore this when you have a lot of accomplishments to include. But if your cover letter is longer than a page, there’s very little chance that the hiring manager will read it in full.
Tips if You’re Not Hearing Back
- Follow up with the company. But do so sparingly. There’s no harm in politely reaching out to ask if you’re being considered for a position if it’s been more than a few weeks. However, becoming a nuisance about it will only minimize your chances of landing the job.
- Move on. Not getting your dream job sucks, but you can use the time finding something else. Plus, some positions aren’t as great as they sound on paper. A company whose app or product you love might have a toxic work environment. On the other hand, a company that provides a service you consider boring might have a great company culture.
- Improve your skills from job postings that you want. Consider taking courses (even $10 ones on Udemy) to learn or bolster the relevant skill(s). Sometimes job application processes even use algorithms to filter out resumes that don’t contain certain skills. You don’t need to be the world’s foremost expert in a given area to be able to list it on your resume, as long as you’re not outright lying.
QA Jobs for All
If you know others looking for jobs, keep an ear out for them as well. If you end up referring them for a job, they’ll be more likely to help you out too!
QA Job Interviews
It’s important to remember that just because you get offered an interview doesn’t mean you have to take it. If you decide that you’re no longer interested in the job, don’t feel bad about not moving forward. But don’t ghost the company – respectfully let them know.