Friday 20 May 2022

How can college students prepare their resume to get a job as a software engineer?

I graduated from IIT Bombay (Computer Science and Engineering) some 5 years ago in 2017. I was reading one of the Quora answers and someone had posted my resume in that. With this resume, I got some of the highest packages across all IITs that year:

  • Rubrik US: $150,000 per annum
  • Hedvig US: $120,000 per annum + stocks
  • Tower Research Capital: Rs. 38 lakhs per annum (may go up to Rs. 42 lakhs per annum, depending on performance during the first year)
  • Rubrik India: Rs. 30 lakhs per annum + stocks
  • APT Portfolio: Rs. 28.8 lakhs per annum
  • Directi: Rs. 27 lakhs per annum (the package breakdown is quite complex here though).

I ended up building a startup of my own though.

Let’s take my resume as a case study and understand it section-by-section to see what is good, what is bad and how can you replicate the good parts.


This is definitely one of the most differentiating sections in my resume for any kind of Software Engineering job in India and the US. The IIT Bombay (CSE) tag is extremely lucrative and on top of that, there is a GPA of 9.3/10.0 which by all means is quite good.

If my GPA would have been in the range of 7.0 - 8.9, I’d have probably also mentioned my rank in my class because at this GPA range, a recruiter would not be able to understand my relative standing. So, if your GPA/Percentage is not exceptional, it is better to mention a rank/percentile. Something like “among the top 10% of the class” would suffice.

Learning: one of the best career hacks is to study hard in school and get into a good college.

Scholastic Achievements

I have listed the achievements in chronological order. Some achievements might be big, but because they happened in the past, they should not be mentioned at the top. For instance, I feel that the JEE Rank of 33 is probably a big achievement, but it happened quite before ACM-ICPC and so, it has to be mentioned below.

A few good points to note:

  1. Score exceptionally well in a few courses and get a top grade and you can add it as a point here. For instance, I got AP grades (given to the top 2%) in a lot of courses and so, I was able to add that as a point.
  2. Participate in some well-known competitive exams like ACM-ICPC which are of national and international repute and it will help you add a point on your resume. A top rank would be a cherry on the cake, but writing about participation also helps show your curiosity.
  3. A top rank overall in a college of repute is another great point to add to your resume. I think if you are among the top 5% or so in your institute, it is worth mentioning on your resume. Shows your seriousness about your career.
  4. The last 4 points on the resume go back to the 2nd point I mentioned above - participating in some well-known competitive exams. JEE Advanced and JEE Main are known to be tough. Same for olympiads. A good rank in these exams shows hard work, dedication, and commitment.

Internship Experience

  1. The most interesting point in my resume is that of a US internship. US startups are tough to crack. So, if you can get an internship at a top-tier Silicon Valley startup or a large company (FAANG), definitely that shines well on your resume. During the interviews, Interviewers will often discuss the work you did during your internship. So be prepared for that.
  2. Usually, students have up to 2 internships on their resume - one after the 2nd year and one after the 3rd year. In fact, most students only have 1 internship which is after the 3rd year. So, I did 5 internships to differentiate myself from other resumes. Anyone looking at 5 internships in the resume of a 4th-year college student would be curious to understand more.
  3. My internship experience is a mix of research + industry and on-site + remote. So, that shows the flexibility of the candidate.


This is another important section. As you can see, I have done a few smart things:

  1. I did a lot of projects - this shows the interviewer that the candidate is committed in nature. Many candidates don’t write small projects on their resumes. The recruiters are wise enough to understand that as a college student, all your projects would anyway be small. I think the purpose of the projects section is to see whether the candidate takes up initiatives or not, rather than to see if they can take big initiatives. Understand the difference.
  2. I have categorized the projects as per courses. So, for the interviewer, it becomes easier to read and understand.
  3. I have done projects across multiple domains. Startups hiring for Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence would find my resume interesting. Rubrik like companies working on Operating Systems would find my resume interesting. e-commerce companies driven by websites would find my resume interesting. By doing a lot of projects, I was able to expand my “net” quite wide so as to target more companies.
  4. I have highlighted the keyword that talks about the technology I have used. Many companies hire for specific technology experience. At the college level, experience doesn’t really matter. But having some knowledge of a specific technology stack helps you look more attractive than your peers.

I would like to reiterate that the depth of the project really doesn’t matter at the fresher level because most companies anyway find all such projects quite basic. So, it is best to do multiple projects and write down at least the top 5 - 10 on your resume. Do a basic project. Do a project on your own without guidance from any professor. Do a project on a Coursera/Udacity course. Do anything. Just do it and write it down on your resume. Do it to an extent that you understand the concept clearly and are able to explain it to the interviewer in case they ask questions.

Remember, if you do a project for the sake of doing it and you get caught in the interviews, you'd almost certainly be rejected. Don’t do anything unethical and don’t write any false information on your resume.

Skills and Interests

While I have already highlighted the tools and languages that I know under the Projects section, this section help reiterate and summarize the same so that someone who is not interested in reading the entire projects section, can save time and still get to know my skills. This drastically helps increase the chances of selection.

I have deliberately tried to make my resume look diverse because, at the fresher level, companies anyway know that the candidate is not an expert in a specific area. They just want to see if you’re curious or not. Doing a bunch of stuff helps you showcase that.

Other Academic Achievements

This section is really optional. I wrote it because I had space on my resume. Frankly, this is just an extension of the Scholastic Achievements Section.

Positions of Responsibility

I think that for a Software Engineering job, this section is also optional. Some companies might feel happy knowing that you do stuff outside writing code, but I am not sure how much will it impact your chances of getting hired. I think if you know how to code well and if you can prove it during the interviews, this section is totally optional.


  1. Work hard during the college days to do well in academics.
  2. Take up a lot of projects from various domains, small or big - doesn’t matter.
  3. Highlight the tools, frameworks, and programming languages that you know and make sure to convey that well.
  4. Don’t sweat too much about the non-technical stuff, it won’t materially hamper your chances of getting selected.
  5. Don’t write any false or shallow information. Only write those things that you know well.

All the best!

Some of my other posts:


  1. Your articles really great, i want you to ask something , how can non engineering / CS background can get good job in IT industry as a developer?

    without degree only on the basis of the skill can someone get a good package job ?

    1. Check this: