Meet Sharon Koshy, Communications Manager
I am Sharon Koshy, I am an executive communications manager in corporate affairs for Microsoft. I am responsible for preparing our group’s spokesperson that represents Microsoft’s work in public policy and corporate philanthropy. So that involves preparing speeches, background materials, generally anticipating what a spokesperson might need to be at their very best. I chose this career because every day is different. It’s a great opportunity to learn a variety of different topics.
I was a premed student when I was in my undergraduate career at UC Berkeley and I took a year off after college and took a contract position at Microsoft. And it was a terrific opportunity to really experience what it was like to work in technology. And after getting a couple of years of experience I noticed that this role was a gap in our team and so I made a proposal to cover this responsibility for our group’s executive. And it became my formal role and I’ve been doing this type of work ever since.
I have a bachelors degree in nutritional sciences but generally the kinds of skill sets that are helpful for a communications manager is being able to digest information really quickly, having strong research abilities, being a strong communicator as well, both written and oral. So those are generally some of the skill sets that are most valued. Some of the experiences that I gained in the marketing side of our group really positioned me well to take on this responsibility. And so when I saw the need for this role to be filled I decided to make a case for it.
If someone was interested in getting a job in marketing communications at Microsoft I would recommend for a person to visit our website, Microsoft.com, and look at the career positions that are open. It’s really helpful to have context on Microsoft as a company and its goals. Another piece of advice that I would give in looking for a particular type of position, sometimes it involves moving laterally once you get that first position. So whether you take a job in some sort of coordination or administrative assistant or operations, often times once you become familiar with a particular company and they become familiar with you, it’s a lot easier to move around and to experiment and really find the best fit for you. It’s also really important to grow your network from an early stage. Make sure that all of your social profiles are up-to-date and well thought out. So this is your LinkedIn® profile, if you have a blog or those kinds of things, those are all very helpful indicators for a future employer to get a sense of who you are as a candidate. And also for people to discover you if there are job opportunities that come up. And it’s also really helpful to reach out to people that you know who work in companies that you are interested in so that when a particular position comes open that you are top of mind.
There are three areas that a person who is interested in marketing communications should take a look at. So one is to read broadly and critically. If there’s a particular industry that you are interested in, it’s really helpful to read blogs, various news articles on that particular industry because every field has its own language and the more accustomed you become to speaking in those times the more effective you will be. Also it’s really important to develop strong research skills. So being able to navigate various academic and business databases, using your library resources, learning what are the right questions to ask will also be tremendously helpful to you. Lastly, if you have the opportunity to take a speech and debate course I would highly recommend it. Being able to take those kinds of courses will teach you how to structure speeches or particular arguments. And understand how to best back up those points with interesting anecdotes or data points and other forms of research.