The Resume That Bought Me a Job at Microsoft Straight Out of Faculty


  • Tara Larsen is a contract author who used to work at Microsoft and Amazon.
  • She landed a full-time position at Microsoft proper after graduating with an English diploma.
  • She says her carefully-crafted résumé made her stand out in the course of the hiring course of. 

I used to be two months away from graduating with a level in English Literature after I was provided a full-time govt enterprise administrator position at Microsoft. Here is how I did it.

Throughout my final semester at Brigham Younger College, I spotted I wanted to line up a job. Probably the most notable English Literature alumni from my college was Twilight’s Stephenie Meyer, and since I did not have any concepts for the following vampire romance sequence, I figured cashing in on my newbie poetry wasn’t within the playing cards.

I turned to a buddy who labored at Microsoft and requested what they seemed for in an entry-level candidate. She instructed me a neighboring group was searching for an govt enterprise administrator. “They want somebody who’s competent,” she stated. “Somebody who’s fast, understands fundamental undertaking administration. And you may write, and also you make every thing sound polished, so you must apply.”

Step one was tailoring my background to suit an entry-level tech job description.

As an English main, I’m educated to affect folks based mostly solely on the phrases I select to share. A résumé should not be any totally different, so I handled my résumé like I did my thesis. The immediate? Guarantee Microsoft I used to be certified to function in a technical house with out a technical background.

My background was as non-technical because it may get. I used to be a dance trainer, a math trainer, and the Lead Poetry Editor of my college’s literary journal.

The Microsoft position requested for undertaking administration expertise, proficiency in Microsoft software program, and written communications expertise. After I highlighted the problem-solving, organizational, and undertaking administration talents it takes to run a ballet program and educate math courses, I had a sturdy checklist of expertise and experiences that have been simply as related as an early-in-career tech intern.

Here is how I framed my non-tech background — phrase for phrase — on my résumé.

Tara Larsen resume

My résumé.

Tara Larsen


I used to be a ballet trainer, however I additionally:

  • Organized quarterly live shows involving end-to-end administration of 500+ individual occasions, creating advertising and marketing supplies, and managing day-of-event stream.
  • Managed new and present buyer communications in Outlook, monitoring inquiries by way of Excel, and making certain well timed responses.
  • Skilled new group members to comply with constant messaging with new and present shoppers.

I taught math courses, however I additionally:

  • Managed yearly complicated class scheduling, balancing particular wants of shoppers and instructors.
  • Managed buyer communications, initiating new “Teacher/Mother or father Workplace Hours” that lower e-mail inquiries by 50%.
  • Offered private educational enchancment plans catered to particular person buyer wants, rising C-grade to A-grade pupil progress by 40%.
  • Screened résumés and led interviews for potential instructors.

Many early-in-career grads neglect to make use of information factors to measure their success in non-tech roles.

A lot of your influence in non-tech fields might be measured by information, and utilizing metrics showcases your capacity to research an issue to then drive influence and outcomes.

Moreover, remember to say any software program you used to carry out these actions, like utilizing Excel to trace budgets or hourly worker scheduling; Canva and Adobe packages to create advertising and marketing supplies; Squarespace to replace internet web page content material. Mentioning this exhibits you are able to choosing up new software program packages regardless of the duty.

Amongst my non-tech experiences, I did have one position that some would take into account to be extra relevant to a company setting. It was a social media and copywriting position I held as a part of a literary group I conceptualized and began. With this, I may spotlight relationships working with stakeholders in a extra formal business-like setting — you already know, those that did not contain dad and mom of the kids I used to be babysitting by way of ballet class.

For this position, I emphasised how I:

  • Managed content material calendar utilizing Hootsuite and Planoly, and authored weekly weblog posts sourcing 6,000+ distinctive month-to-month guests.
  • Secured and managed partnerships with actress Emma Roberts, Penguin Books, HarperCollins Publishers, and different impartial publishing homes.
  • The toughest half—getting a recruiter to note my résumé — was behind me. If the hiring manger moved me by way of to interview, I solely needed to affirm I possessed the identical degree of competency in a tech setting.

Although the hiring manger knew my background wasn’t in tech, I did not emphasize the very fact in my interview.

When she requested about my expertise, I detailed the large-scale occasions I often managed and the undertaking administration behind rolling out new curricula. Although launching a brand new math program is totally different than launching a brand new Microsoft product, I underlined my capacity to trace deliverables and account for variables.

When requested how I deliberate to reach a brand new business, I assured her, “I am at all times sport to be taught new issues,” and pointed to the confirmed historical past of recent expertise and instruments I picked up the place the job required. Although a few of my software program expertise wasn’t relevant to the position I used to be interviewing for, it displayed I may be taught new expertise rapidly.

The hiring supervisor requested how I felt about drafting exterior communications for patrons and companions. Lastly, a second on this interview the place I felt wholly assured. “If my English main is nice for something in your group,” I instructed her, “it is this.”

I defined I had written for a lot of issues: advertising and marketing supplies, buyer emails, weblog posts, social media campaigns, even literary publications — I used to be versed in all of it. Although there could also be some technical phrases I wanted to be taught, I defined I had a historical past of proving my writing expertise in new areas.

Evidently, it labored. I assured the correct folks my non-tech background certified me to carry out on their group by highlighting relevant undertaking administration expertise and my capacity to drive outcomes.

Two months into my position, I took a Friday off from my job at Microsoft to stroll at my faculty commencement within the BYU College of Humanities.

Tara Larsen is a contract author and editor.



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