“Ela, how to get a job at Microsoft?” is one of those questions I’m getting quite often.
In this article, I’m gonna share with you a step-by-step guide that will help you get a better understanding of various strategies you can apply in your job search to land your dream role at Microsoft.
P.S. Those tips are general which means you can use the same approach when applying to other FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google) companies.
*** Before you continue I highly recommend you to read my article “Becoming a Software Engineer at Microsoft (Q&A)” where I share with you my first-hand experience and answer the most common questions I’m receiving throughout my career from Developers interested in working at Microsoft. ***
1. The career website
The company career website should be your first “go-to” place.
Because this is where you can find all of the currently open roles. Whenever a Hiring Manager has a need to hire another person or build an entire team, they’ll be working closely together with the recruitment team and post a job advertisment on the company’s career website.
Pro Tip: You might have seen companies advertising their roles on other websites such as Indeed or LinkedIn, but please note that it’s usually just a small part of what they have to offer.
So if you want to make sure you’re not missing any of the opportunities visit the Microsoft career website. You should see the below:
Now there are different approaches that you can take from there:
- click the “Professionals” or “Students and graduates” tabs that are localed on the top left of the page
- write the job title directly in the “Search jobs” field
- leave the “Search jobs” empty and just click “Find jobs”
If you know what role and in which location exactly you’re looking for then you can go with option 2.
The only thing you need to be aware of is that the job title you are using might be different than what Microsoft has (I was explaining it in detail in this article, check point nr 2) and you might end up not being able to find any openings!
In order to avoid the above situation let’s proceed with option 3 where you’ll leave the “Search jobs” field empty and click “Find jobs”.
You will be redirected to the page that looks like this:
As you can see, at the time I was writing this article Microsoft had 11898 job openings located all around the world! That’s a pretty impressive number.
Now what you’re interested in are all the filters that are available for you on the left side under “Refine your search”.
First I’d start with “Experience” – once you click on it you can choose to filter all the job adverts by “Experienced professionals” or “students and graduates”.
What is the main difference between those two?
If you’re still studying, about to graduate soon or it’s been less than 1 year since you’ve graduated, then you’d pick the “students and graduates” option.
If you’ve finished your studies 1+ years ago or you’ve been in the industry for many years then you’re interested in exploring the “Experienced professionals” part.
Important note: “What if I have several years of professional working experience AND I don’t have studies?” OR “What if I’ve graduated a long time ago in XYZ, but I’ve never worked in that area and now I’m finishing coding bootcamp while doing some freelancing? What should I choose”?
In both examples, you want to go with “Experienced professionals”.
While there will be openings that will require you to have at least a few years of experience, there are also opportunities for those of you who might have worked only a few months (or less than a year).
Next let’s narrow the results by selecting one of those filters: “Country/Region”, “State/Province” or “City”.
Keep this in mind: Microsoft hires people from all around the world, so when you’re picking the location, it doesn’t have to be the only one that you’re currently based in.
If you have a dream destination, be sure to select it!
Below you can see my search results after selecting “Experienced professionals” AND the Czech Republic from the “Country/Region” menu.
As I mentioned above – whenever you just want to explore available options or you’re not sure about the job title, the above approach will be the best.
What I’d do next is scroll down through the page(s) and check all available job adverts.
Pro Tip: when you’re not sure about the name of the role, make sure to read the description.
I’ve had lots of conversations with people who couldn’t find openings on the Microsoft career website based on the “job title”, but were able to discover some relevant options after reading more about the team and the requirements.
The next step is pretty straightforward: once you identified the role you’re interested in proceed with creating your account and providing all the needed information.
Two Important notes:
1. Don’t limit yourself to just one role! You can apply for multiple jobs at the same time.
2. Once you’ve submitted your application(s) keep an eye on your “Action Center” as well as inbox (and of course spam). You might be required to complete some additional steps and not doing them might block your application from getting reviewed.
2. The recruitment team
You can do that step after the 1st one or before it. Your goal here is to get in touch with someone from the recruitment team in order to present your candidacy (and eventually get invited for the interviews).
While some companies are mentioning who is responsible for hiring for a particular job opening, the majority of them aren’t doing it which makes it a little bit complicated to understand whom you should reach out to.
Luckily, we’ve got LinkedIn!
Head over to LinkedIn.com and log into your account. You should see the below page:
What you’re interested in is the top search bar – this is where you’ll be putting your keywords.
Try from a basic one: Recruiter AND Microsoft. After pressing Enter you’ll be redirected to the below page where you’ll see additional filters and as well as search results:
You can either scroll through the page and see all of the results or, what I strongly recommend you, narrow your search down by selecting different filters and/or adding additional keywords into the search bar (i.e. related to a country).
Play with it so you’ll have a more accurate list of people who are currently working as Recruiters at Microsoft.
Once you have it it’s time to reach out to them.
Two important notes:
1. You should be contacting Recruiters/Talent Sourcers ONLY after having your LinkedIn profile updated! Never leave it blank as it will significantly lower your chances of getting a response!
2. Once you’re ready make sure to spend some time on tailoring your message and include the link(s) to the role(s) you’re interested in. Avoid sending “Hi, I want to work at Microsoft as a [here comes the name of the role]. What can you offer me?”
Why? Because it shows that you haven’t done your homework and didn’t visit the Microsoft career website where you can easily find all currently open roles.
People working in recruitment (especially in top tech companies) get tons of unpersonalized messages and believe me, they don’t have time to go through each and every one of them and send you a follow-up message.
They quite often have their email addresses mentioned on their LinkedIn profile, so if you didn’t hear back from them, send them an email.
3. Employee referral
Did you know that many companies have special “Employee referral” programs? Its main goal is to encourage current employees to recommend qualified candidates for the roles in their companies.
You can use the same strategy I described in point 2 – instead of the members of the recruitment team try looking on LinkedIn for i.e. Engineers whom you can reach out to and ask to be recommended.
Just don’t forget to have the most updated LinkedIn profile and specify the role(s) you’re interested in.
*** Interested in joining Microsoft? Make sure to check this post, I’ll be happy to recommend you ***
This approach is a little bit different – while in others you have to be proactive and do various searches, here all you need is…make sure you always have an updated LinkedIn profile.
This is something I’ve been mentioning already in one of my previous articles: companies do have their internal recruitment teams whose responsibilities include looking for potential candidates online on various websites/social media platforms.
I know many people working now at Microsoft who have found out about an interesting role thanks to the message from the Recruiter/Talent Sourcer.
In many cases, they told me they wouldn’t even know such an opportunity exist (and even if they knew, they wouldn’t be sure that they can make it through the interviews).
To make sure your LinkedIn profile is updated and to increase your chances of being contacted by a member of the recruitment team, make sure to follow all those steps from my article: “14 tips to get the most out of your Linkedin profile”.
They have helped already many people break into the tech industry, change careers, or land a job in top tech companies!
5. Open-source contribution
Believe it or not, there are people who were hired into Microsoft thanks for their open-source contribution. I’d advise you to check my article: “6 myths about contributing to open source” where I’ve shared more details.
Thanks for reading & have a nice day,