I get at least one email a week asking me how to get a job at Microsoft. Since I get this question so regularly I  though I’d answer it in a blog post for future reference.

Since I work with developers my answer to this will be developer focused but will be useful for people interested in working in other technical areas.

Though Microsoft is a large company, we tend to hire more like a startup. Microsoft prides itself on the quality and capabilities of its people, and joining Microsoft in any developer related capacity is to an easy prospect. (Though it is a rewarding one.)

Begin by understanding what TYPE of role you are interested in at Microsoft. It’s a very bad idea to “cast a very broad net” when trying to sell yourself into a developer’s role at Microsoft.

There are many roles at Microsoft for developer types.

  • Software Engineers (Writing code for Microsoft products)
  • Test Engineers
  • Developer Product Support (May not sound exit but these guys become REAL experts)
  • Developer Evangelist
  • Developer Product Specialists
  • Developer Technical Account Managers
  • Developer Program Managers
  • Developer Product Managers
  • Development Documentation Writers
  • Developer Guidance PM/Author
  • and many others I can’t think of off the top of my head.

Start here !

http://careers.microsoft.com/

Note that there is a special on-boarding track for students and recent graduates. Microsoft has a very vibrant student hiring practice.

If you are a student, find out if Microsoft is involved with your school, if so, see if your school has a Microsoft Student Ambassador.

A good resource for students is the Microsoft Academic Alliance.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/academic/default.aspx

In any event. Search the developer related jobs on the Microsoft career site to discover developer related jobs an Microsoft and read the job descriptions and qualifications.

The descriptions are great guidance as to the type of experience you should begin accumulating to improve the value that you will be able to offer Microsoft.

Note that most of Microsoft does not work in Redmond (though MUCH of product development is there.)

Find the Microsoft office closest to you. Nearly ALL host events throughout the year. Start attending the ones that are of interest to you and meet the Microsoft folks from the local office.

They can serve as great resources !

Join your local Developer Community.

Get PUBLIC and LEARN.

  • User groups
  • Code Camps
  • Nerd Dinners
  • Meetups
  • Product Releases

Publish, Publish, Publish

Blog, Tweet, Write Open Source !

These things become the best part of your resume.

Microsoft is notorious for placing high value on real work.

Your blog posts and published source can be the best reference of you recent work and your possible value to w new team.

When at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

When you finally choose a position from the careers web site and apply, don’t necessarily give up if you don’t get an interview or win that particular job.

Hiring managers at Microsoft consider FAR more than simple resume or keyword matching when they initiate their hiring process.

Many, many of the people here at Microsoft previously applied for a different job at Microsoft that they weren’t a perfect fit for and later were hired into the job they were better suited for.

Like most things in life. Things worth having are worth working for.

Microsoft can be a great place to work – and we hire to keep it that way.

I hope this gives interested folks a place to start.