How to land your dream job


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Your next employer is going to look you up online. You can influence what they see by creating an online resume. In this series of posts we share everything you need to create an online resume!

Where can I host it?

Consider hosting it with Microsoft Azure. Students get basic web hosting for free on Azure through Microsoft DreamSpark

How does a student get a free DreamSpark account?

How do I activate the Azure benefits in DreamSpark?

How do I build it?

Azure can host websites created with HTML & CSS, Node.js, PHP, ASP.NET and more. But to build a website as quickly as possible you may want to look into a tool such as WordPress.

How do I create a WordPress website on Azure?

How to I customize my WordPress website?

What should I include in an online resume?

As part of this year Get in The Game Tour with #GradsInGames we asked some of the hiring managers and recruiters at Microsoft and external companies to share some DOs and DONTs for online resumes.

Please keep in mind, that opinions on what makes the perfect resume are going to vary. In the end there is no magic formula for the perfect online resume.

This should help you understand some of the differences between a paper and online resume, and how to make the most of the online format.

DOs and DONTs of online resumes

Your future employer is going to look you up online!

So you better create an online resume to present yourself professionally.

What NOT to do!

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DON’T create it and forget it

You sit down and create an online resume today, but what impression does that leave on a hiring manager when in two years they read your resume and it says the last project you completed was two years ago and doesn’t mention any technologies from the past two years? Make a commitment to update your online resume at least twice a year. Let technology work for you, set yourself up a calendar reminder so you don’t forget to update it!

DON’T just cut and paste your paper resume

Paper resumes can and should be tailored for each job application. Read the job description and make sure the resume you submit addresses the points in the job description.

Online resumes should complement your paper resume, you aren’t going to create different online resumes for each job you apply for. Any potential employer may read your online resume, so it needs to be more generic than your paper resume.

You can have a link to a paper resume on your online resume website so potential employers can print it if needed. Wondering why anyone would print out something available online? Some recruiters spend a lot of time travelling and may read over resumes while in transit where they have no internet access.

DON’T have a paper and online resume that present two different people

This one can be a bit of a challenge but it’s very important! If you are going to tailor your paper resume for

Your future employer is going to look you up online! Create an online resume to present yourself professionally. This blog post contains DOs and DONTs of online resumes collected from Microsoft recruiters and hiring managers.

I spend a lot of time at events with students. Because I work at Microsoft, I am frequently asked how can I get a job at Microsoft? In this age of easy access to information, you can be sure that any potential employer is probably going to look you up online. Creating an online resume to complement your paper resume can help show you look your best to a potential employer.

I reached out to a number of managers and recruiters at Microsoft to ask them for some DOs and DONTs for online resumes. Of course every hiring manager is going to have different opinions, but I share some of the opinions here to help you put together a strong online resume. But in the end remember, the only absolutel rule of resumes is there are no absolute rules. You should always apply your best judgement given your personality, your skills, and the job you are applying for when creating any resume online or paper.

With that caveat, here are some guidelines you can consider when creating an online resume

What to DO!

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DO include links to your work

This is one of the best things about an online resume! You can add hyperlinks to different examples of your work to showcase your skills. Consider adding links to

  • Apps you have published
  • Websites you maintain
  • Conferences you helped organize
  • Work completed on internships
  • Blog posts or articles you wrote
  • Class projects
  • Competitions or hackathons you entered
  • Prizes or awards you have won
  • Code you have shared on GitHub
  • Videos of you presenting or showcasing your work
  • 3d Models renders look at tools like Sketchfab.com

DO make sure your online resume looks good on different devices

Your potential employer could be viewing your online resume from a desktop, tablet or phone. Make sure your website is dynamic and displays well on different screen sizes. If you are using WordPress this means you need to pick a template that supports features such as media queries. If you are creating your own websites it may mean looking into media queries or bootstrap for your website.

DO include testimonials

Usually there isn’t room on a paper resume to include testimonials, but since an online resume can include separate pages or tabs you have the option of including additional ‘if you are interested’ information. Testimonials are a great if you are interested piece to include. I wouldn’t put it on the front page, but having a link to comments and testimonials can be a nice touch. Let someone else talk about how awesome you are. Possible sources for testimonials might include

  • Reviews from past managers
  • Kudos for volunteer work you completed
  • Compliments from faculty you worked with doing research or as a teaching assistant.

It is a courtesy to ask permission from someone before you quote them on your website

DO list your skills/programming languages

When applying for any technical job, the hiring manager will want to know what programming languages you know and how much experience you have with each language.

Listing your languages from most to least proficient is an easy way to indicate skill levels.

When you mention projects you have worked on, you should specify what programming languages you used on the project

Be careful when ranking your programming skill from 1-10. There are a few reasons to be cautious:

  • If you list yourself as a 9 or 10 skill level, some managers may be skeptical and think you are overrating your skills
  • If you list yourself as a 1 or 2 a manager might wonder why you bothered listing that language at all
  • The biggest risk however is the way a numeric ranking is open to misinterpretation. When you fill out a survey at a restaurant. If you are asked to rank service out of 5 do you rank it 5/5 because there weren’t any problems with the service, or do you automatically give a 4 unless the service was outstanding? If an employer asks you to rank your coding skill from 1-10, if possible ask the employer what they consider a 7, an 8, a 9 and a 10? If you can create classes using inheritance and polymorphism and manage error handling is that a 6 and 8 or a 10? Your interpretation of the 1-10 scale and the employer’s interpretation of the scale may be completely different.

DO include your contact information

Every online resume should provide a way to contact the candidate. If you are a student you may want to provide a personal and a school email address. Sometimes an employer sends an email during a school break and you can miss an opportunity because you weren’t checking your school email.

DO pay attention to details

If you have any friends with an eye for detail, now is the time to ask them for help! Is the text aligned? Do you have any spelling mistakes? Did you accidentally change the font size on the headings half way through the page? Is the spacing consistent? Are the colors complimentary or distracting?

Some people are visual. If something  on the page is inconsistent it distracts them from the content. I have worked with managers who simply could not read and process content unless it was visually well organized. It took me many years of learning the hard way, that sometimes simply providing good content is not enough, it has to look good as well.  When it comes to an online resume, you want to be picky and take the time to make it look good!

DO use the first person

Paper resumes are often written in the third person. Blogs and online profiles are usually written in the first person

Instead of “Shelby developed a phone application”

Try “I developed a phone application

DO show how you learn and grow

If there is one constant in life and work it is change. The technology skills needed for a jo you apply for today will change in the next one to five years. When an employer is considering you for a job, they want to know you can keep up with the changing technology. Showing your ability and passion to learn and grow is a great way to show an employer that you will learn and grow with the company. How do you show that in an online resume? Share what you taught yourself outside class and share any situations where you applied what you learned in the class outside the classroom.

DO provide team player examples

Hiring managers expect you to be able to work well on a team. If you can provide specific examples of working on a team and your role within that team, mention that in your resume. You may have mentioned a class project you worked on, specify how many people worked on that project and be prepare when you get to the interview to talk about your role on that team, conflicts that arose and how they were resolved. Working on a team is about showing you can work with different types of people, sometimes you may be asked to take on a leadership role, sometimes someone else may take the lead. Did you know experience with improvisational comedy is generally seen to be a sign of a good team player? Many of the rules of improve comedy translate into skills and tactics that help people work in a team environment. Improv performers have to stay positive, roll with the changes, and focus on making the team rather than themselves as an individual successful.

DO provide a professional photo

A photo on your online resume is a nice touch, but make sure the photo quality is good and that your photo looks professional.

If you don’t have access to a photo studio with good lighting, take a picture outside on a cloudy day for the most flattering light

Make sure you take a high resolution picture and display a smaller version of that image on your site so the photo looks crisp. Don’t use a low resolution picture and enlarge it, or the picture may look.

DO take advantage of the programs available to you as a student!

Here are a few Microsoft programs you may want to check out as well to help you stand out.  Remember showing what you have done outside the classroom is a great way to stand out!

What About Working at Microsoft

For students interested in working at Microsoft, here are some answers to frequently asked questions about jobs at Microsoft

Internships for 2nd Year Students

 

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Final Year Graduate placements

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Getting a Job at Microsoft Q&A
How do I apply for an internship/co-op job at Microsoft?
http://beyourfuture.net
I am graduating and looking for a full-time position where do I apply?

http://beyourfuture.net

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 been to my University and we haven’t been part of any tour! How can I still get a job?
Yes go to http://beyourfuture.net 
I want to work for the Gaming Studio how do I apply?

http://beyourfuture.net 

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 as part of the Get in the Game Tour Microsoft Studios staff attend and speak at UK Universities.

How do I find my local recruiter?

There is a Find recruiters link on the http://beyourfuture.net site

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Got any tips on how go get an interview? Or how to rock my interview?

Check out the tips at http://beyourfuture.net

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How do I find out if there are recruiting events in my area

There is a Find events link on the Microsoft.com/university site

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Graduate Student questions

I am a graduate student how do I apply for a job at Microsoft?

http://beyourfuture.net

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?
Microsoft Research (MSR) has their own recruiting process

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

Keep learning and get rewards!

Use your cloud skills to enter competitions such as Hello Cloud, visit www.imagine.microsoft.com for contest details as well as tutorials and other great student resources.

You can get Visual Studio Community for free . For Linux and OS X users try Visual Studio code for free!

Get up to date and learn the latest technologies b completing a free online course at via www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com

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