For me it took persistence. I knew since high school that Microsoft was the place for me. I started by learning about different technologies (not just Microsoft). I became active in different forums (some MS, some not). I became an MVP 4 years ago
and kept up my community activities, sharpening my skills, etc over that time period. This also helped me get some great connections with people inside and outside, but related to Microsoft. I interviewed 3 times over about 2 and a half years. Looking back,
they were all really great experiences. I'm glad I didn't get hired for the first two jobs I interviewed for. I like this one much better.
Funny that you mention hanging around here to get a job. I hear there are a lot more locals hired than from other areas of the US and other countries. I think it's something like 70%/30%, but don't quote me. I was originally from Indiana.