7 Notes From A Recruiter To Students That Are About To Kick Off Their Careers
Bianka Kiełbasa – University Recruiter
Yesterday I celebrated my first anniversary within Microsoft. During this past year I’ve done dozens of trips around Europe, collaborated with a great number of positively driven coworkers from all over the region and engaged with hundreds of curious candidates from all around the world. This year I am approaching further European markets (ciao Italia, Swiss & Austria!) embracing another angle of cultural differences and diversity in the talent I’m going to meet there. If 5 years ago somebody told me this is what I would be doing now, I would just smile politely in disbelief.
With that very thought in mind, I’ve been reflecting on what I learnt about company culture and the approach to hiring students and graduates (growth mindset at its best!) which I’m sharing with Early in Career talent, along with advice I would give to students who are about to kick off their first careers.
The below list comes from a reflection on the many conversations I’ve had with students, prospective candidates and later successful graduate hires across Europe.
1. Figure out what you are passionate about. It should absolutely be your number one question. Focus on what makes you happy. This one may come as a cliché, but it’s enormously helpful when it comes to articulating your motivations towards the career, the job, the company you apply for. What if your calling is to help others? Perhaps can’t wait to learn more about what the Cloud development will bring? Or maybe you are crazy about digital transformation and wish to tell everyone about it? And what’s with the IoT and Big Data – oh, I could go on…
2. Do your job search homework. Research the company you’d love to work for, find out what their values are and learn whether you personally agree with the mission. At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more. It’s amazing to see it happen right before your eyes! To explore what this journey looks like from Microsoft employees’ perspective, check out the international Microsoft Jobs Blog for inspiring stories from Microsofties around the globe:
Another great source to seek inspiring insights (as well as application tips!) from Interns and Graduates at Microsoft in the UK & European region is to check out the Be Your Future Blog led by a group of passionate Microsoft UK Interns.
3. Timing is significant in early in career opportunities. It is certainly beneficial for you to learn details about the application process, timelines as well as the possible roles or streams available for students and graduates (learn about what MACH programme is). At Microsoft we will typically search for top students many months before they graduate so it might be a good idea to have a chat with us before you even start your final year at university.
4. Build your network. Talk to your friends at school and beyond, but also engage with people who work at the company you want to join. There are plenty of opportunities of this sort like attending company presentations, workshops and skills seminars just to name a few. Here’s an excellent example from one of our MACHs in Norway (please note that the article is in Norwegian).
5. Connect with your recruiter. In early in career recruitment we appreciate that as students you are just entering the labour market and might seek some guidance on what the assessment centre you have just been invited to will involve or if that CV you are about to apply with should be more detailed. Don’t be afraid of the recruiters – our job is to consult you on all matters regarding your application and get to know you well enough to see whether you would potentially be a great candidate for our programmes. Find the recruiter hiring for your region of the world right here.
6. Focus on your strengths (the ones you really have, not the ones you think might be a fit for the job). It’s extremely important for a student or graduate candidate as this is an exceptional opportunity for you to showcase where your potential could best be used in your desired company. Are you the data scientist we are looking for? Tell us all about your favourite methods and findings. Are you a great communicator? Go an extra mile showing off your storytelling and presentation skills. It’s very likely that your strengths would be found desirable in a number of business areas, tech industry included. It does in fact loop back to my very first point – finding out what you are passionate about and doing what you love). Here’s some inspiration from Microsoft’s future graduate talent:
7. Get ready for a steep learning curve. Candidates who are successful in securing positions within top globally acknowledged graduate programmes are those who have proven ready to take on a big project that starting an accountable full-time job definitely is. They are not concerned about the challenges that they will almost immediately face in their roles and responsibilities but get empowered and energised by them. At Microsoft, keeping an open mind about changing environment and a growth mindset is key. We are all learners!
I genuinely hope the above insights will be helpful for you as you get started on your serious career planning. Is there anything you feel would be valuable to add here? I am certainly looking forward to meeting you at schools across Europe sometime during the academic year!