Originally Posted 04/23/2004 03:46:58 PM

If I ever do get hired by Microsoft, it will owe a great deal to the power of networking.  I'm talking about personal networking here for all you tech people out there.  Here's how things started in my full court press on MSFT:  several weeks ago I saw a job posting that I thought was perfect for me at a site called LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com).  LinkedIn is a site that used the "6 degrees of separation" concept to link people into social networks that allow you to get in contact with someone else through an introduction rather than a cold call.  I strongly recommend checking the site out: it has proven pretty valuable to me and the people I network with.

Anyway, I decided that I wanted this job, and I would move heaven and earth to get it.  That meant doing whatever it took to get to the right people.  I started working my contacts in order to get an intro, and sure enough I found someone who knew someone who could help me out.  It took approximately 10 different people to find one that proved fruitful.  I worked former colleagues, contractors that I worked with, the crew on the boat I sail on, my bagpipe instructor (that's right: my bagpipe instructor!), and so on.  No contact is too small to talk to, because even though they may not be able help, they may know someone.  That is how I got my foot in the door in Redmond.

Note that the power of networking is in giving first.  Those who give will get back in return.  The folks who I have to thank for introducing me to MSFT I had previously arranged for them to meet with my company's Chief Information Security Officer.  In addition, they know I will be grateful to them if (when?) I do go to work at Microsoft, and will be more likely to want to bring them in.

I'd be happy to help anyone who is interested in getting started in networking: just drop me a note.  Don't think that you don't need to network: it is almost as important for programmers and DBAs as it is for salespeople and consultants.

Two sites stand out for networking in my mind: www.linkedin.com and www.ecademy.com.  LinkedIn is bigger but Ecademy has more active users.  I suggest you check both out (and who wouldn't listen to a recommendation from BillCan?!)