How Did I get a Job at Microsoft Using Social Selling

The background

I have been in the field of Channel & Digital Marketing for 10+ years. My last experience was at PTC, a 3D & IoT software company. I spent 6 years there, having different roles and responsibilities from business development in EMEA to WW Director of Channel Marketing. 6-great-years… and I felt it was now time for me to move on and take-up on a new challenge… 

Why Microsoft

Microsoft as always been to me “the” partner-friendly company any B2B Digital Marketer could dream off. One of the largest partner ecosystem on earth with 600 000-plus members and probably the most mature partner program in the industry (MPN), combined with a promising new CEO vision. A friend of mine, my “insider”, who has worked there for years now, has confirmed to me the new dynamic and great potential there.

That was it! My decision was made. It was time for me to move on. Since no relevant job for me were listed on the company website, I decided to take an alternative path by finding an executive sponsor that could help me identify the right opportunity. After using LinkedIn Search features combined with some online researches, I did find someone that would match my area of expertise (let’s call her “Ms. X”).

Here is the InMail I sent her:

Hello Ms. X.,

Currently WW Director of Channel Marketing at PTC, I am responsible for setting-up and rolling-out the marketing strategy for our partners globally.

Greatly interested by the new dynamic within Microsoft (i.e. Azure Cloud, reloaded partner strategy, CEO vision) and considering your role as the [Job Role], I would like to discuss with you regarding upcoming channel marketing opportunities that could raise inside your organization.

Would you be available to discuss at your earliest convenience?

Best regards, Clement Donzel

I eventually got a reply 15 days later. She was thanking me for making the connection and due to busy agenda, asked me to send to her professional email my resume and few lines on what I was looking for.

2 months after, I got my first interview, followed by 2 additional ones. Each of the 3 interviewers asked me how I knew Ms. X. This is when I realize the importance of making the right connection at the right level, as she had forwarded my resume internally. It was just a game changer. I did get through the interview process which confirmed my strong motivation to join Microsoft. My « insider friend » who happened to be an ex-colleague as well send a recommendation email to my potential new boss, to confirm I would fit in the job and in the company culture.

In April 2016, I was in, thanks to a real motivation, the strong support from my insider friend, the connection with the right executive sponsor (I’d like to thank her particularly as she has been very kind and supportive all the way!), my manager who believed in me, and of course some luck!

My (humble) recommendations for applying to (almost) any job using basic Social Selling tactics…

  • Update your profile: LinkedIn is your living resume, so update it, make sure you summarize on your profile what set you aside, get recommendations to validate your past experiences, set a professional profile picture, etc. LinkedIn has a great step-by-step enhancement feature called Profile Strength that let you optimize your page. Do not reach out to anyone until you reach 90-100% of profile completion.
  • Get an insider: A champion inside the company who could share the culture and values, insights on the company strategy, and on the job role.
  • Stick to your field of expertise: If you have spent 10 years in channel marketing but want to become a finance officer, you have better chance to get into those large corporations as a channel marketer. Beauty if that those corporation encourage internal moves if you desire, with the right training and learning paths associated. But they will hire you for your expertise and your attitude (but I am not an HR guy, so will let that topic to HR experts 😊).
  • The right place: LinkedIn for me was a no brainer, being a “B2B digital marketer”, but a photographer would probably have better chance to be discovered showcasing his art on Instagram… Find the right place for you.
  • Get an executive sponsor – Someone in your area of expertise! Make the message personalized (why should they care about your application), to the point (those people are bombarded by unsolicited messages), relevant (do your skills match their area of expertise and responsibilities), and ideally try to reference someone you have in common (a very important factor in social selling).
  • Be smart : You have one shot only. Do not send “reminder InMail” if the person did not respond to you. Identify a handful of strategic contacts at most, do not spam the entire company or you will just get marked as a desperate person and it could impact your reputation. At the end of the day, all the resumes fall on HR desk, so do not gamble your chance by spamming employees.
  • About the timing: I was lucky enough that Microsoft got a job opening that was matching my area of expertise. You will for sure increase your chance of success by applying to an existing job opening, but don’t just rely on those websites. We are in a fast-moving market and opportunities raise every day!

Now what?

Here at Microsoft, we do have Social Selling initiatives, but Social Selling is not just about selling to your customer base or finding new customers, it is also a fantastic way to sell yourself, using very basic Social Selling tactics 😊.

Today, I help Microsoft partners transform and digitalize their marketing strategy, which includes rolling-out Social Selling programs, training and support to measure performance and business impact. Don’t know where to start? Measuring internally your SSI score against your colleagues can be a great first step to increase social engagement and employee-generated content, whether you are a marketing, technical or sales person.

Ready for going social?

Let’s continue the conversation and join me on LinkedIn and twitter !

That’s all folks… for now 😊.


PS: this article has not been endorsed by my HR department in anyway and could not guarantee any success joining Microsoft or any other company. This reflects my own experience only.

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