To commemorate the U.S. Independence Day, the 4th of July, we’re celebrating Microsoft employees who have served in the Armed Forces.
More than 125 veterans per year have been hired into Microsoft in the U.S. Thousands of military veterans have taken advantage of resources found on our We Still Serve website. Says Joe Wallis, Microsoft’s military recruiter, “Our site has our military specialty code tool and provides links to Join Our Talent Network.”
Here, meet three employees who have served their country and landed satisfying roles at Microsoft.
Alonzo Barber is an attorney in PSG Windows & Windows Live
Prior to joining Microsoft, I was Senior Counsel with Black Entertainment Television in Washington, DC. I was looking for new challenges outside my current role. I attended the Service Academy Career Conference (SACC) in Washington, D.C. Traditionally, companies attending SACC are not recruiting for lawyers and I ran into several closed doors, but then I met Sean Kelley in Microsoft’s HR department. Sean is a fellow Naval Academy graduate who previously supported LCA on HR matters so he saw how my legal experience could translate into positions at Microsoft.
My advice to other veterans is: Although your military background has put you in a position to be viewed as an attractive job candidate, there is still a great deal of effort required on your part to convince hiring managers your specific skill set is compatible with the job you seek. That may require drafting several versions of your resume to fit the job description that you are going after. Also, network with other military vets who have transitioned into the civilian workforce to get advice and leads on potential opportunities.
Andreae Pohlman, Associate Consultant in Identity Management in Microsoft Consulting Service
After graduating high school, I enlisted in the United States Air Force as a computer operator (a 3c0x1). I was lucky enough to be stationed overseas in Ramstein AFB Germany for several years and worked as a system administrator for a system that tracked aircraft over the European theatre at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After serving the military, I decided to take advantage of my GI Bill benefits at George Washington University, where I received my business degree and Masters of Science in Information Systems Technology.
At GW, I participated in their veterans community, where I found out about the Microsoft MACH program. The MACH program is an accelerated career development program for recent college graduates. I attended a session that Joe Wallis delivered, and he was able to pass my resume along to the university recruiter. I happily joined Microsoft this past February.
Prior to hiring, I took advantage of something similar to No-Cost for Tech Skills training: Microsoft’s Elevate America Veterans IT Training program. I was part of a Microsoft test pilot in the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) area. I received resources to start studying for my Microsoft certification and a voucher to take the test free of charge. I was hired before scheduling the test, but it was a great experience to see the resources that Microsoft gives to veterans!
John Schultz, Software Development Engineer in Test (SDET), Visual Studio Debugger: “As an SDET, I get to do what I love.”
Before coming to Microsoft, I was teaching computer science at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Teaching computer science was fun, but I realized that instead of going back to a submarine, I wanted to pursue a career where I could do what I was teaching. After 11 years in the military, I went to the Service Academy Career Conference, where I met two Microsoft recruiters, and started at Microsoft in January.
It’s a big change going from military life to civilian life. One thing I didn’t have to worry about was moving my family to the Northwest. Microsoft took care of everything, making one of my biggest moves the smoothest one.
When I talked to a recruiter at the career conference, the job at Visual Studio seemed like a really cool job. Visual Studio is a tool developers use to make programs for Windows. I thought, ‘Whoa, that’s for pretty smart customers.’ The kind of problems I would be part of solving are complicated. That was the deciding factor.
I could have probably done the same job at Amazon, but for Amazon, it’s just selling stuff to people, anything. At Microsoft, yes, we are selling things, but we are selling solutions. The company can help solve a lot of problems and make life better.
WHAT’S YOUR MISSION?
Have you served in a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, or are you on active duty?
If you’re looking to transition from a military career to a corporate one:
Meet another employee who participates in the MACH program.