Insider Tips to Build a Compelling Contractor Resume

Living in the Seattle area offers unique opportunities to work at the corporate headquarters for Microsoft, Amazon, and other world-class technology companies. Amaxra often helps consultants find project-related “contractor” or “vendor” work at many disparate groups inside Microsoft. Contract work at Microsoft is often a great way to transition into a full-time employee (FTE) role at Microsoft.

Of course, landing any good job requires an updated, well-written resume. Microsoft receives thousands of resumes every day, and everyone wants to know how to stand out among the crowd. Because Amaxra has helped many consultants over the past ten years find contracts at Microsoft, we are sharing these give resume tips we’ve learned that apply specifically to contracting gigs at the Redmond HQ:

Spelling and Formatting Matters

We all know a generic resume with spelling mistakes that has your last job ending in 2014 will be ignored by a Microsoft hiring manager. However, we’ve found that the one thing Microsoft hiring managers despise the most on a resume is formatting issues. Multiple hiring managers have told us that seeing any formatting issues—inappropriate spacing, inconsistent fonts, et cetera—on a resume will get it declined immediately.

Pick the Right Font

Once you’ve updated and spellchecked every word on your resume, spend some time to apply a modern, easy-to-read formatting. You should always use a single font that looks good on both digital screens and printed pages. In our experience, we’ve found these three fonts work well:

  • Arial
  • Calibri
  • Segoe

FYI: If you have access to it, then use some variant of Segoe because it is a Microsoft-designed font.

Use Headers and Bullets

The key information in your resume needs to be easily found by an interested hiring manager. One of the best ways to do this is using headers and bullet points. In this blog, we’ve used headers above each of the paragraphs to let you know what the paragraph you’re about read covers. We also listed the key fonts by using bullet points rather than “Arial, Calibri, and Segoe” because a comma-delineated list in a paragraph often appears as a wall of text. Our eyes and brains are trained to see headers and bullet list when scanning through a document, so you’ll want to put your most relevant job experience and info into those formats.

For those with prior Microsoft contractor experience, it should be listed in a specific way on your resume:

  • Your Title at Microsoft (Contract)
  • Dates Employed
  • Brief job description (This may change depending on the position as it will highlight your experiences)

The reason “contract” is added parenthetically after your job title is to show the hiring manager that you were a contactor rather than FTE.

Highlight Past Successes

Instead of a mission statement about your life goals and where you want to be in five years, list 3-5 job successes that are aligned to the job opportunity. Ensure these successes include keywords related to the opportunity. For example, if the contract opportunity is for managing a social media community for Microsoft games, then highlight your experiences in an online community around Xbox or Halo, along with numbers behind how you’ve helped to grow that community by a certain percentage over a period of time. Focus on your accomplishments to show the hiring manager that you will be a productive team member. You should look at your resume as a living and breathing piece of content that is created to align with the position for which you are applying.

Leverage Social Profiles

Adding links to your social media profiles on your resume helps a hiring manager get a view of you that text on a page doesn’t show. This is because social media profiles are often very visual and include photos. We recommend you embed a photo of yourself into your resume along with a LinkedIn button that takes them to your LinkedIn profile. Keep in mind this photo is likely the hiring manager’s first view of your face, so make sure the photo is professional and appropriate. Along those same lines, if your social media profiles such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have personal photos and posts that could be construed as “unprofessional,” then you should only link to your LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is also the perfect place for you to share your work samples. We suggest uploading your favorite work content samples to your LinkedIn and keep them updated just as you would your resume.

All of these tips are guaranteed to help you land a contract position at Microsoft, but they’re helpful for other top technology employers in Seattle or the Eastside. If you are looking for your next gig, then we’d like to connect with you. We are always searching for talented consultants to join our dynamic workforce.

Feedback and comments are always welcome. If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact me at adam.pearson@amaxra.com You can also connect with me via LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/adampearson44.

about the author

Adam Pearson

Adam Pearson is Amaxra’s Engagement Manager in our Resourcing team. He has responsibilities for ensuring customers are happy and consultants are getting the support they need to be successful. Adam loves engaging with people so if you are interested in what Amaxra can do for you, please reach out to him.

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