How to Get Hired by a Top Company

Tips for College Seniors from Microsoft for Getting Hired at a Leading Employer

Students in computer room
Image Source/Image Source/Getty Images

The senior year scramble for a job can be a stressful time for any college senior. However, if you take the right steps to prepare for a post-graduate job search, you'll be better off than most of your classmates. Even in a tough job market, there are ways to stand out from the crowd.

Tips for Getting Hired by an Industry Leading Company

Here are tips from Anthony Rotoli, University Recruiting at Microsoft, on how college seniors can get hired at a top company like Microsoft:

Get Out of the Classroom to Get Noticed
While your course work provides a great foundation for success once you enter the workplace, your experience outside the classroom is equally important. We love meeting people who spend their spare time developing a mobile app, learning a new coding language, attending hackathons and coding competitions, and really demonstrating a passion for technology. This shows recruiters that tech is more than just curriculum for you, it’s a lifestyle. Let your geek flag fly! When you get to Microsoft, you’ll find we’re loud and proud geeks too.

Get Some Work Experience
This concept was always a bit difficult for me to understand while I was in college: “Wait, I’m a college student, but this entry level job requires work experience?” Let me help. What we’re looking for here are internship experiences you’ve pursued during your downtime from school. An internship is a fantastic way to get a taste of what the industry will be like after you graduate.

An internship provides you with practical skills you’ll need on day one of your full-time job after graduation. It also gives you a great opportunity to test different companies and types of work to decide what you want to do on a more permanent basis down the road. Even if you don’t land an internship with one of your dream companies this summer, find any type of internship opportunity where you can grow.

Show Up, Meet Recruiters
Sometimes, I worry students are intimidated about meeting recruiters, or pitching themselves for the job they want. Here is a secret: We really want to meet you! Come say hi. And once you do, keep in touch. There is nothing wrong with emailing your recruiter occasionally (within reason) to let them know what you’ve been up to and what job you’re still interested in pursuing.

When I’m preparing to interview students, and trying to think about who showed the most passion and promise, it’s easy to remember those who kept in touch. If that recruiter makes trips to your campus and holds events, go out of your way to get face time whenever and wherever possible. If meeting in person isn’t possible, reach out via email, LinkedIn, ReadyForce, or other professional social networks to introduce yourself.

Tailor Your Resume
Companies make applying for a job pretty easy by providing a written description of exactly what they are looking for. Think of this like a professor, a week before a final, giving you a detailed list of the specific questions you’ll see on the exam. Take time to review job descriptions and structure your resume to highlight your abilities that best match those requirements.

If a company is seeking a software developer with specifically strong background in C#, highlight projects you’ve worked on using that programming language. Make your recruiter’s job easy by succinctly and clearly outlining exactly what you’ve done that makes you the perfect fit for the job they’re looking to fill.

I know it can be tough to tailor your resume for dozens of different companies. That’s why I recommend you think about the top five companies you’d most like to work for and target them specifically. Focusing your energy on this, as opposed to applying to anything that sounds mildly interesting, is more likely to help you land your dream job.

Be Patient and Persistent
This is one of the keys to landing your dream job. I have my dream job right now, but I didn’t always. It took me three separate interview opportunities, over several years to ultimately find my way to Microsoft.

Keep your eye on the prize and keep trying. If you’ve interviewed unsuccessfully with your dream company before, chances are they’ll be willing and eager to speak with you again in the future. The only thing that will change between each interview is that you’ll gain additional experience, which makes you more likely to succeed.

 As you’re practicing patience in your continued pursuit of that ultimate gig, also be persistent. Seek open roles and keep in touch with that recruiter. I’m always deeply impressed by candidates who walk away from an unsuccessful interview and quickly contact me to follow-up. When they tell me they know what they could have done better and that they will beef up those exact skills, I’m confident they will one day be my colleagues.

Related Articles: How to Get a Job at Your Dream Company

More Advice from Microsoft: Tips for Writing Your Resume Skills Section | How to Get Noticed by Your Dream Company