An example career reflection: What do you want?

TL:DR – below is a post I wrote when leaving my last role as Staff Quality & Test Engineer. In a very strong market with lots of people reaching out to work with me, this helped me to put my finger on exactly *what* I wanted to get from my next role, and meant I didn’t persue opportunities that weren’t the right fit for me. It also meant I could privately share this with recruiters or hiring managers when they asked “So, what is it that you’re looking for?” – Having an answer to this question in advanced definitely paid off. Feel free to use this template or create your own when contemplating your next career move. 👍


Inspired by Elisabeth Fiennes’ wonderfully written article all about QA recruitment, I decided I would take her advice and use this space to tell you, potential new boss, what I am looking for in my next role. This is written in the hopes it will help you make a quick assessment as to whether I am someone who you could see yourself working with. If I’m not, no harm done, and no time wasted. If you like what you hear, you know where I am!

What have I done so far?

I’ve been testing for 15 years now. I’ve been a contractor, consultant and permie, and I’ve enjoyed them all. I’ve worked for some of the biggest companies in the world, and some of the smallest. I’ve also worked with some incredible people. But I have to be honest, despite successful delivery, repeat work, glowing recommendations and even poaching requests from clients, I’ve suffered from imposter syndrome at them all.

LinkedIn recommendation from ex-manager

The pandemic was a huge leap forward for me in terms of what I have pushed myself to achieve outside of work. I’m so proud to be a Test Automation University instructor, as well as to have helped many people more locally land their first testing role following the Coders Guild bootcamp I helped to create and deliver, including designing and delivering a full day workshop on API testing.

I like helping people, but I also like to be helped myself, and there is so much still to learn – you never really master everything I know, but I want my growth curve to be steeper than it is currently.

Within work I’ve been promoted to the only Staff Quality and Test Engineer in my company, I’ve persuaded my company to hire and taken responsibility for successfully onboarding an ex-bootcamp learner as their first ever Junior QA. I’ve rewritten a training programme delivered through the Web app I currently work on, which has certified over 25,000 teachers, dinner ladies and school bus drivers up and down the UK. And lots of other things I’d love to discuss over a nice friendly interview chat. <nudge nudge >

Shameless plug of my lovely ex-boss’s LinkedIn recommendation 😜

What are my career goals?

I really want to grow my technical skills. I know everyone says that, but I feel that I’ve done as much as I can to grow them on my own and I need to work in an environment that actively supports me to improve areas such as API exploratory testing, Shift left and right practices, non-functional, DevOps, code reviews, accessibility, security, automation etc etc. I learn best by sitting down next to someone approachable and kind, getting feedback on my work and measuring progress. I want to be confident in my technical ability.

My ultimate goal would be to continue to pay forward the skills I’ve learned in some way by teaching them to others in a training/coaching capacity (alongside my day job in QA). My mum has recently retired from a lifetime of teaching, which is a passion that I’ve inherited from her. As my YouTube channel, podcasts and various community bits and pieces show, I’m a sharer by nature, and when I am confident in my knowledge of something it gives me a huge kick to be able to help others master it too.

I want to speak at my first international face to face testing conference and I think I am on a good trajectory to making this happen.

I want to achieve something meaningful. I like being able to say I’ve made a difference.

What kind of company culture do I enjoy best?

Here’s a wee list, I expect my next company will have or be working towards most, but probably not all of the following:-

  1. A quality culture which enjoys finding out new things, experimenting and promoting quality. A team of people who want to do the right thing.
  2. An experienced and technically gifted individual or set of people who can coach me. I want to seriously assess and improve my technical skills with hands on code reviews, pairing and training – if your workplace can’t commit to 1 or 2 hours a week to support me in this effort, then it has to be a hard no from me.
  3. Vision – A leader with a vision I can align with. I’ve been most successful and found work most enjoyable when I can hook onto the vision of a leader and focus my energy on implementing what they want. I’m great for bouncing ideas off of, but really I’m a completer finisher rather than a big picture person.
  4. Remote – Hybrid working is the model for me – I am happy to work towards being fully remote, or 1-2 day per week in the office (within West Yorkshire). If a monthly in person is required, I can stretch to Manchester, York, London or Newcastle. If its quarterly, I can travel anywhere in the UK and once or twice a year I can travel anywhere in the world. I can drive if necessary but I also live close to train and bus options.
  5. Flexibility – I currently work 4 days a week, the 5th day being a flexible choice. I am very flexible to the companies needs, and often work evenings or have early starts in order to get the job done (as well as the occasional weekend). I’m focused on delivery rather than presenteeism and would expect my workplace to share the same values.

I hope you are still reading at this point, and think my expectations are realistic. I hope there are plenty of companies out there who can meet them. Fingers crossed you are one!

Final recommendation from my contracting days.

In return, you will get a motivated, enthusiastic and passionate quality professional who will put business needs in front of ego. Someone who is a proud, committed and connected member of the global testing community. Someone who will always aim to help your team and company gel, improve and ultimately succeed.

All the best,


2 thoughts on “An example career reflection: What do you want?

  1. I found your web accidentally since I have looking for some Postman Flow article. You have made a good stuff. I cross fingers in your career.


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