In this post I will do my best to answer some of the most common questions I am asked by students interested in working for Microsoft. I spoke to a number of different Microsoft recruiters in different parts of the company to put together the answers.
This post is part of a series that provides you with all the information you need to create an online resume and student jobs at Microsoft. If you missed the rest of the series you can check it out here
I have broken the information into four sections:
- General recruiting questions
- Graduate student questions
- Canadian job questions
- Business student questions
- How do I stand out from the rest?
What’s the best advice you can give a student who wants a job at Microsoft
Apply early! In September! Nothing is more frustrating than getting an application from a fantastic student when all the positions have been filled.
How do I apply for an internship/co-op job at Microsoft?
I am graduating and looking for a full-time position where do I apply?
If I am graduating can I still apply for internship positions?
No. You will not be considered for internship positions if you have graduated
There is no recruiter at my school! How can I still get a job?
I want to work for the Gaming Studio how do I apply?
There are recruiters who specifically focus on hiring for the Gaming Studios, so keep an eye out for job postings for positions specifically at the Gaming Studios. If you see one it is worth applying specifically for that position even if you already submitted your resume to Microsoft.com/university
I’m in first year/second year can I get an internship at Microsoft?
First year and second year students should check out the Explore program. Explore is a 12 week internship where you rotate through different software engineering roles. Only 1st or 2nd year students are eligible. This is a great way to get good job experience early in your career.
I am a foreign student and do not have a Visa for the United States is this an issue?
Microsoft will sponsor work permits for internships and full time roles in the U.S.
How do I find my local recruiter?
Got any tips on how go get an interview? Or how to rock my interview?
Check out the tips at Microsoft.com/university
How do I find out if there are recruiting events in my area
I am a graduate student how do I apply for a job at Microsoft?
There are positions on some teams where a graduate degree is either a requirement, or increases your chance of getting a position.
How do I get a job at Microsoft Research?
MSR offers internship opportunities at research locations around the world. Intern candidates must be students enrolled in a relevant field of study, such as computer science, engineering, or social sciences with a focus on computer technology. The majority of our interns are PhD candidates; however, in some instances we also accept master’s and bachelor's students who demonstrate a serious interest in research.
Apply at research.microsoft.com/intern
There are also Post-doc research opportunities with Microsoft Research. Candidates should have a strong academic record in CS or a relevant technical area. They must have completed the requirements for a PhD including submission of their thesis. They are hired for a one or two year fixed term appointment
Apply at research.microsoft.com/careers
This is a fairly new office that does not have any of the usual internships, and has very few new-hire positions. Your most likely avenue to getting a job at the Vancouver Developer Center is to apply for a position in Redmond, and as you follow your career path at Microsoft look for an opportunity to apply for a role at the Vancouver Development Centre.
What about the Microsoft Foundry Internship program
The Foundry program is an internship program run out of the Vancouver Development Centre where students studying computer science, design and human computer interaction are invited to build apps for Microsoft’s newest and most exciting platforms and devices. Visit the Vancouver Foundry Internship Program website for more information
What’s the timing for Foundry programs
Vancouver usually posts jobs in late August. Positions are posted at Polytechnique, McGill, Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia, and University of Toronto. Waterloo students are recruited for positions in Boston.
Is the Foundry program exclusively for Canadian students?
Applicants for roles in Vancouver must be enrolled at a Canadian university. Foreign students studying in Canada at an accredited university also qualify. If you are at a college enrolled in a four year accredited program you can also apply.
How do I apply for the Foundry program?
When you search the Microsoft jobs site for Canada you won’t see the Foundry jobs posted. So apply directly to the US site Microsoft.com/university and make note of Foundry as your desired program.
What sort of students are they looking for in the Foundry program?
Foundry program students have an entrepreneurial attitude and can deal well with ambiguity. The problems they get are very open ended. They have to work as a team to solve that problem and put together something that will ship.
Do I need to be completing my third year to apply for positions in the Foundry program?
The Foundry program hires a mix of students across different years.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone applying to the Foundry program?
Share a portfolio of something you created that wasn’t just a class assignment such as an app you have published or a website you maintain.
Are there any other Microsoft jobs in Canada?
Canada has the MACH program for graduating students. This is generally for non technical students in programs such as business and marketing.
We have occasional internship positions, most of these are business/marketing positions out of the Microsoft Canada Toronto/Meadowvale office. Recruiting for these positions is usually done through the co-op department of schools near Toronto.
We have the Microsoft Student Partner (MSP) program, this is a volunteer position. MSPs work with the Developer Experience team in Canada helping educate students and faculty at their schools about the Microsoft student programs and developer technologies offered by Microsoft. In Canada, you can apply for this program by emailing email@example.com . MSPs in Canada are invited to apply for an intern position on the Developer Experience team. MSPs are typically students in Computer Science or other technical programs. If you are not from Canada visit www.microsoftstudentpartners.com to find out how to apply for the MSP program in your country.
Most important piece of advice you can share?
Have a passion for technology and the job you are applying for. We are looking for people who are passionate about what they do!
I am a business student how do I apply for a job at Microsoft in Seattle?
Apply online at Microsoft.com/university select the non technical drop down. Note that some US based business roles do not support visas.
Are there full time jobs for business students graduating in Canada?
The only full time jobs for graduating students are through the MACH program, any other position in Microsoft Canada you will be competing with others who may already have many years of work experience.
The MACH program is the Microsoft Academy for College Hires. This is a two year program to help students transition into their profession in a work environment. You get regular mentoring, professional coaching and developmental skills training. You are also connected to a global network of MACH hires.
How do I apply for the MACH program in Canada?
Microsoft.com/careers - select Canada – search for MACH - create a job alert for the keyword MACH. Apply for each role individually – but pick the right ones make sure it’s a role that interests you where you are a good fit! Do not simply blanket apply to all MACH positions, no-one is the perfect fit for every MACH role posted. The team that hires the MACH is looking for someone to develop and work on their team for a few years, so showcasing your interest in their specific position increases your chances of being considered
Are there restrictions on who can apply for MACH positions?
Yes, MACH roles are designed for entry level graduates. Candidates should have less than 18 months combined corporate work experience (including co-op terms), should have completed a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD and you have to have graduated within the last year.
What about the MBA MACH program
Generally any MACH position is open for undergraduates and MBA graduates. If the position goes to a MBA graduate then there will be different expectations in terms of their responsibilities and skill level when they join. Some positions are only open to MBA MACHs. An MBA MACH has different eligibility requirements from an undergraduate MACH, you can only be out of school within the last 6 months, and no more than 7 years of combined work experience.
Of course this is one of the most commonly asked questions. The best answer I can share is to showcase what you have done outside the classroom! Do you enter hackathons? Have you been teaching yourself a technology that is not covered in school on your own? Have you published an app? Entered a competition? Do you help organize a conference? Are you on the executive for a student club? All these things show general skills managers want in an employee such as the ability to work on a team or a passion to learn and grow!
From a technical perspective, the cloud is a hot topic right now in IT. If you can walk into an interview and talk about services or websites you have created or tried on the Microsoft Azure (Microsoft’s cloud offering), that can also give you an edge!
Here are a few Microsoft programs you may want to check out as well to help you stand out.
- Visit DreamSpark.com and sign up for free Azure so you can try out different features in the cloud. DreamSpark also gives students software for free!
- Enter Imagine Cup!
- Try new technology and earn rewards (in Canada only) through Developer Movement
- Consider applying to become a Microsoft Student Partner and organize technical events at your school. Canadian students apply by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org We generally accept applications in April & May for the following school year. If you are a student in another country visit www.microsoftstudentpartners.com to apply.