An internship with tech giant Microsoft may seem like an impossibility, but if you have the right skills and the passion for technology, one of the many internships available at Microsoft might be on the cards for you.
The role you’ll bag will be much more than just a standard internship; you’ll get to work on real-life projects, make valid connections and be part of the company culture that makes Microsoft an industry leader.
So, if this sounds like right up your alley, keep reading and find out what Microsoft’s internship programme involves, as well as the steps you need to take to get your foot in the door.
1. Know the basics
Microsoft offers a large variety of internships to high school and university students, ranging from software engineers to project managers and marketers (we will cover this in more detail below).
What’s important to note is that while you’re gaining credible industry experience, you’re also receiving a competitive salary, relocation benefits and many other perks. But in order to qualify for this great package, you will need to be a full-time student majoring in an applicable field or a PhD programme, returning to university or college afterwards to complete a term following your internship.
2. Find the right role
The first step in your internship journey is to take a look at the available roles and see which one best suits your skills and interests. Luckily, Microsoft has an easy-to-use careers website, listing all their available internship roles, along with the positions’ job duties.
High school internships
The paid 10-week high school internship programme is available for students in western Washington to work shadow full-time software engineers. They also offer a Minecraft programming and digital art camp and a three-day summer internship for students wanting to learn more about the software engineer field. These internships run throughout the months of June to August and, in order to qualify, you’ll need be a high school student, aged 16 or over.
These internships can vary depending on your location and level of education, but Microsoft generally offers internships in the following areas:
- engineering (software engineer, program manager, product planning, programmer writer, technical writer, services engineering)
- hardware engineering
- UX design
- supply chain
- data and applied science
- IT operations
- sales and customer service
- services (consultant, support engineer, technical account manager, technical evangelist).
Internships are also available throughout the year for PhD students looking to explore the field in either the product team or Microsoft research (MSR). The duration of this internship is 12 weeks, giving graduates a real opportunity to get stuck into the research culture at Microsoft.
3. Focus on your CV
Your CV is the most essential part of the application process; it’s the first glimpse the hiring managers will see of your skills, attributes and personality – so you need to make it count!
It’s vital to tailor your CV to the position that you’re applying for and to ensure that keywords are incorporated throughout. You can either use Microsoft’s builder to enter the information from your CV or send your own version. We would advise on the second to ensure your application has a personal touch!
4. Submit your application
As mentioned above, the first thing you need to do is send your CV, along with references from previous managers or university professors. It’s also easier if you have a referee within Microsoft that can push your CV to the top of the pile, and if you don’t, why not start networking your way through? You can do this either by attending university fairs or fishing out Microsoft recruiters on LinkedIn.
Internship opportunities are posted at various times throughout the year, so it’s important to frequently check the Microsoft’s internships listings to find relevant roles in your chosen field.
5. Ace the interview
Depending on the role that you have applied for and its location, the interview process can vary in terms of questions, tasks and stages, but it will usually go a little like this:
Once you have passed any online assessment tests, the first step is typically a telephone interview with a Microsoft recruiter who will ask general questions to get to know you a little better. At this stage, it’s important to brush up on your interview techniques to ensure you appear confident. This will normally take a total of 30 minutes, and you’ll be asked a series of questions about your university course, your technical knowledge, any work experience you’ve had and the skills that you possess.
If you have successfully impressed your potential boss, you’ll be invited to the Microsoft headquarters for a series of interviews with different managers. This could involve separate interviews with up to four different people and will be based on a series of technical challenges and problems that you’ll need to solve.
Remember to prepare a portfolio showcasing the work that you have already accomplished and how this can be applied to your role as an intern. Don’t forget to prepare some killer questions of your own, too!
6. Get an offer
Once you’ve gone through the vicious round of interviews, it’s time to breathe a big sigh of relief and play the waiting game to see if you have succeeded. The length of time shouldn’t be longer than two weeks to receive an answer on whether you will receive a place on the internship programme or not.
As an intern, you’ll be assigned a mentor who you’ll work under and will be given details on accommodation, pay and your start date. Once you begin your internship programme, you’ll be treated like a regular member of the team, partaking in daily meetings, having the opportunity to pitch ideas and create your own projects or designs.
Although it can be tough to get an internship at Microsoft, the interview experience alone is beneficial for your job search process. It will help you refine your answers, and it will give you the courage that you need throughout the challenging course.
With the right attitude and dedication though, the unachievable can you be achievable – you simply need to ensure that you have done your homework and have showcased yourself in the best possible light. The rest is down to fate!
Have you ever applied for an Internship at Microsoft? If so, share your experience with other students and graduates in the comments section below.
This article is an updated version of an article originally published on 3 December 2014.