Peter is one of those courageous people who is willing to switch careers to achieve his goals. In this interview he shares his experiences and advises job seekers about how to survive and thrive while looking for work. He also lays out his own approach to interview preparation, which makes his story worth sharing all the more.
Thanks for joining us and being willing to share your experience. Have you started your job yet?
I started my new job around a week ago, and so far it’s going great.
Where are you from?
Currently I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I’ve been in Arizona for the last few years. Previously, I lived in Washington state.
How did your Careerist journey start?
I graduated with a journalism degree and at some point decided to switch my career path. I had seen the occasional ad on Instagram, so I attended your webinar and decided to give it a try.
I took the training. It used to be called JobEasy, but it was renamed to Careerist later on, which is a good name. After starting the training I discovered it was to the point. Actually, it provided me with all the information and skills I needed to get a new job in IT—something I didn't know much about after almost two months of learning on my own.
Did you start your job search right after the training, or did you put it on hold?
I joined JobEasy before it was renamed to Careerist—this was early 2021. By October 2021, I found a job. I didn’t put my job search on hold.
So it was not too long ago. Did you join an internship?
Yes. It was exactly two weeks long, and it actually helped me a lot. Looking back, I would say that I should have stayed in the internship a bit longer, but after two weeks I felt I had the basic idea and decided to leave to devote more time to interview preparation.
After that, I had a one-on-one interview with my career coach. I passed it on the first try after practicing many, many times. My career coach helped me tremendously.
What helped you feel prepared? What is your secret?
It was a combination of two things. I watched the video of my mock interview and I rehearsed interview questions many, many times.
I used flashcards to prepare, which is how I was able to increase my confidence and say everything without hesitation. Actually, I used a Microsoft Windows app for the flashcards, and I think I created some on Quizlet as well.
That’s an interesting idea. How did you apply for jobs?
I didn’t use any application services—I applied to every job myself.
Note: If you don’t have the time to search and apply for jobs, have a lot of work, or have a big family to take care of, we offer job application services for our graduates.
Where did you apply? How many applications did you send out per day?
I applied on multiple websites, including LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Dice, and I was applying for between thirty and forty positions per day. I didn’t have a problem finding enough open positions per day because I applied in different states. LinkedIn was the platform I used the most.
When did you get your first employer response?
In my particular situation, if I recall correctly, it was a few weeks after I began my job search.
And that’s totally okay. You don’t have to worry if you don’t get any interest for the first couple of weeks. Sometimes it takes a bit of time, but usually not more than six weeks. What salary did you get?
The position is in Arizona. It’s a full-time job with benefits. They are planning to go back to the office, but nobody knows when. When they do decide to go back to the office, it is not far from me—only twelve miles from my place.
Initially, I got an offer of $60,000 for the job. I negotiated and asked for $70,000. They said they couldn’t do that, but they agreed to raise it to $65,000.
Are you a QA Tester or a QA Engineer? What products do you test?
I'm a QA Engineer. It’s a little bit of both web and mobile. For the most part, it’s what you taught us: executing test cases, marking them pass or fail, and writing bug reports if something happens.
My job isn’t really that hard right now. I’m just working on one project. I spent the first week setting up all the hardware and software tools I needed. So far it’s been straightforward because most of my time has been spent learning all the systems and software I’m going to work on.
Once you get your first job you can keep searching for a better position. It’s a common mistake to stay for years in one place. If my math is correct, twenty-five days of applying for thirty positions a day for four months equals 3,000 applications, which is great. Applying for even 2,000 positions can bring up to ten interviews. How many interviews did you have in your four months of job searching?
Excluding all the recruiter calls—because they don’t mean anything—I think I had between five and seven interviews overall. The majority were multiple-round interviews on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Hangouts. Most of the questions were from the list of the questions we prepared for—they were all exactly the same or similar. Other questions were worded differently, a little weird, or not on the list of interview questions at all. Overall, I got two job offers to choose from.
Were you asked any technical questions?
I think I was asked some very basic questions once about API and SQL, despite the fact that I didn’t have them on my resume. I didn’t learn API or SQL. Well, I learned a little bit of SQL but it was difficult. At the same time, though, it’s worth knowing.
My new company uses API and Postman, but I’m not sure I will need it very often in my job. But I am going to use Udemy to do some extra studying just in case.
Did they ask you to take any assessments?
Yes, they did ask me to take one, and it just had some basic QA questions. Most of the questions were straightforward.
There were two rounds of interviews and the final interview took around an hour. Seven team members were present at that interview, and they asked both technical and general questions.
Are there any interview questions you would recommend that the job seekers who read this should be prepared for?
I would recommend practicing the first fifteen questions—the ones highlighted in blue—and making sure you know how to answer them. You should especially focus on how to write test cases and bug reports. Most importantly, be able to answer the question, “What would you do if a developer sends a bug ticket back to you and tells you ‘it’s not a bug’ or ‘we can’t reproduce it’?” Be able to talk about your previous projects as well. That is what I highly recommend to work on to be prepared for interviews.
Note: We provide our newly employed graduates some tips and tricks for the first week at work to make the transition smoother and to let them know what to expect.
Once you are efficient at your job, you’ll have opportunities to do extra work, practice meditation, or do whatever you want. The job is simple, so keep going, and we believe you’ll get your $80,000 job offer soon. Congrats and thanks for the motivation!