My co-worker, Gretchen, posted this information on her blog. Great detail on what happens to your resume when you submit it to Microsoft Staffing. Gretchen and Zoe support technical groups, but the process is basically the same for marketing...

... Now that we’ve talked about what we look for on a resume, we thought it would be useful to tell you more about what happens once you submit your resume to Microsoft.  As Zoë and I are both recruiters for technical industry positions, I remind you our process is different from those used by our College Recruiting Team and internationally based MS Recruiting teams. 

Your resume’s journey can start in a variety of places.  You could submit a resume via our career site, our main resume submission alias, or even independent job boards like Monster or Dice.  No matter the venue, all resumes end up at the same place – our Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

But before we get to the ATS, let’s talk about those submittal options …

Microsoft Careers Page

To find specific positions we currently have open, you can visit the Search Jobs page.  Everything listed on this page is technically an open position - although some may already have offers out against them.  This page updates as positions open and close (which is all the time) so it’s a good idea to check back often or create a job agent.  (I’d link to this for you, but apparently, I need to go through a lengthy process of signing in and creating a profile, and well, I already work here, and I figure you can find the link on your own.)  :)

Once you find a position for which you’d like to apply, you can submit your resume directly for that job (or requisition … aka “req”).  The two main methods are “Copy and Paste” or “Resume Builder.”  Copy and Paste is great if you already have a resume ready, but please make sure you keep Zoë’s advice in mind:

You may want to consider pulling together a strong text version of your resume.  Often times if you submit your pretty word document through our site, it gets reformatted when it gets dumped into the database.  This leads to an ugly read for a recruiter and sometimes some interesting reinterpretations of words or symbols on your resume.

I’d suggest copying and pasting from Notepad instead of Word.  It’s less likely you’ll get a funny looking resume that way.

Resume Builder is a great option if you don’t already have a formal resume together.  We find some our strongest or most senior candidates use the Resume Builder option.  That’s probably because they aren’t actively job hunting, but instead they find an interesting position and want to make sure they get considered.  The big problem with Resume Builder is that people tend to skimp on the detail.  Remember, we pull resumes by key words, and while I would never recommend you key word load your resume just for the sake of getting it noticed, I would suggest you put thoughtful consideration into the words you do use on your resume.  A Resume Builder produced resume should still have all the detail of a formal resume.

Our system also has the ability to store multiple versions of your resume.  Say you see a great Software Test Engineer position … but then wait … there’s a great Product Manager position.  You have a background in both disciplines, but you want to make sure you highlight the right experience.  With our site, you have the ability to submit your test centric resume for the STE role, and your marketing centric resume for the Product Management role.  This is a relatively new addition to our career page, and it’s been a big help.

Resume Submission Alias

Our resume submission alias is resume@microsoft.com.  You’ll often see this alias out on job boards or other positing sites.  Everything sent to this alias gets inputted into our system (although it may take a couple days) and becomes searchable by recruiters.  Again, I would stress you should not send Word, Adobe, etc resumes into this alias.  I would opt for the simple yet clean looking text version that can easily be inputted into our system.  I’ve seen some of most carefully formatted resumes end up being one long run-on sentence or stylish bullets translated into 8’s.  I’ve also seen some “nice” words converted into “bad” words.  Not really sure how this occurs, but I’ve seen it.  Your resume is a representation of you so I’m just giving you this heads-up (again) to make sure we see what you want us to see.  (I can’t speak for other companies, but I would assume other large companies like Microsoft use similar systems where this conversion into text is standard.  A text version of your resume is always a useful thing to have.)

While it’s all well and good to submit your resume via resume@microsoft.com, you may also want to go back to our career site and apply for that specific position.  In addition to key word searches, recruiters also have the ability to search by submissions to a particular req, so you want to make sure you show up on both searches.

You may also see other resume submission aliases besides the main one.  This is because recruiters often set up aliases to “hide behind.”  That’s probably an unfair term for me to use because I’ve hid behind my own resume submission alias for years, but we do this so resume traffic is directed to another folder instead of our main inbox.  (Remember all that talk I did about our high volume business?)  Microsoft tries to drive all resume raffic through the Career Site or our Resume Submission alias, but you’ll still see these covert aliases attached to job postings – especially out on user groups, craigslist, etc.  Submitting your resume via one of these aliases is really the closest way you can get to an actual recruiter since the resumes come directly to that recruiter’s inbox.  The recruiter then reviews your resume, takes appropriate action, and forwards your resume on to our resume alias.  So it ends up in our ATS in the end, anyhow.

Independent Job Boards

I wouldn’t say we post on job boards like Monster, Dice, and Hotjobs a lot, but there are many MS postings out there.  (By the way, if you are a serious job seeker, get your resume up on those job boards NOW.  Recruiters search them all the time.  Again, remember …. KEY WORD SEARCHES!) 

When you submit for a particular position via those job boards, your resume is routed into our ATS and attached to the appropriate req, so again, the recruiter can search via req or key word.  You are now in our ATS, and even though you submitted your resume for a particular position, you may get a call from a recruiter who does not work with the position for which you applied.  After a few days, if the recruiter who posted the job doesn’t “tag” you, your resume is fair game and the key word battles start.  (I instruct new recruiters to run their key word searches early in the morning before other recruiters get in the office so they can beat their colleagues to the new entries.)  :) 

So now what?

You’ve submitted your resume.  What happens from here?  To quote the College Recruiting Team’s website (I am going to stop linking to them now): 

Wait for a call or an e-mail.  If you match what we're looking for, we'll contact you with a call or e-mail to set up the first interview.

Blunt but true.  We get thousands and thousands of resumes each month, and there are only so many hours in the day … and to be honest, key word searches can only get you so far.  (Zoë and I have already agreed we need to write another post on how to effectively incorporate key words into your resume without reaching overkill and still remaining honest.  One big tip:  Cater your key words to the required skills in the job description.  We don’t write those in our sleep.  They are actual portrayals of what we are seeking.  But again … stay honest!)

We house resumes in our ATS for years so unless your job responsibilities or skills change, you are in there.  Just be patient with us. :)

I hope this has been a useful glimpse into the underbelly of MS recruiting systems.

gretchen