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For consultants, authors and ambitious IT vets focused on Microsoft, being an MVP is the Holy Grail -- comparable to winning an Oscar, Grammy, Emmy or Tony.

There are leagues of brilliant consultants, authors and ambitious IT vets focused on Microsoft, but a small portion are MVPs. Gaining that illustrious status can mean more and better paid consulting work, more books sold and better IT gigs.

So how do you break through? After all, it isn't like Microsoft posts applications and FAQs on an MVP Web site. And it isn't like you can take a bunch tests, ace 'em and get in. You have to find you own way.

Fortunately, seven-time MVP Brien Posey has some tips:

Microsoft sees the MVP as a way of thanking those technologists who stand out in the community, so the community in a way is what gets you on the short list. That is how you end up getting nominated -- either by an MS or member of the MS community.

So far I've used the word community three times, and community is the key. Posey suggests not just being active on community message boards, but being useful. That means actually answering questions (correct answers, if possible), and playing a role in training and educating those that are new to your area(s) of expertise. Being a magazine/Web author (hint, hint -- if you want to write then write me at is one step, as is being an instructor and speaker at technical conferences.

Like an Oscar, Grammy, Emmy or Tony, an MVP only lasts for a year, so you better get used to fighting for it again and again.

Are you or have you ever been an MVP. Do you deserve those three letters but never got 'em? In any case, share your story at

Posted by Doug Barney on 10/03/2011 at 1:18 PM


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