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A Software Engineer Shares the Résumé He's Used Since College That Got Him a $500,000 Job at Meta — Plus Offers at TikTok and LinkedIn In 2021, he applied to Meta after learning about the company's "crazy" pay packages on tech forums.

By Shubhangi Goel

Key Takeaways

  • Hemant Pandey shared the résumé format that has helped him land several software-engineering jobs.
  • He keeps job descriptions short and includes points that make for good interview stories.
  • Pandey emphasized the growing importance of personal branding in the job market.
Hemant Pandey via Business Insider
Hemant Pandey joined Meta in 2021 after stints at Salesforce, SAP, Tesla and Amazon.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Hemant Pandey's software engineering career was off to a good start.

After an internship at Amazon during his graduate program, he landed a full-time software role at Tesla in 2018. The pay was "top-notch" and it was a dream company.

Pandey, who grew up in India, even invited his family to visit him in California that summer.

Two weeks after they visited, he was laid off.

"It was my first job and getting laid off meant having to build rapport all over again in just six months," he told Business Insider. "I needed to prove myself again."

He didn't feel comfortable telling people he was let go and worried companies might see him as a bad performer and reject him before interviews.

But he was proactive about looking for new opportunities and landed a job at SAP within a month.

After a year, Pandey switched to Salesforce, where he stayed for two years. In 2021, he applied to Meta after learning about the company's "crazy" pay packages on tech forums.

Here is the résumé format that Pandey has used since college. It got him a $500,000 senior software engineer role at Meta and offers from TikTok and LinkedIn. BI has verified his employment history and compensation, which included both cash and stock.

Hemant Pandey's resume

The résumé Pandey has been updating since completing graduate school in 2017. Hemant Pandey via BI

Making conscious résumé decisions

Looking back at his résumé two and half years into his job at Meta, there are a couple of things Pandey said work well and he would keep the same.

Limiting descriptions: When it comes to summarizing work experiences, "I like to keep it very ambiguous," Pandey said. In an interview, "if people ask me what I did at Salesforce, I can help them know more by explaining rather than writing a paragraph." He uses one to three bullet points for each role.

Including GPA: While his master's GPA is not very "impressive," Pandey chooses to include it and sees it as an opportunity to share a story during an interview. "I generally share how I bombed my first semester and was intimidated," he said about getting a low GPA and almost losing an internship he was offered. He talks about how he had to push himself to keep up with more experienced students and eventually scored better in the following semesters. "This makes a good growth and learning-from-failures story."

Ability to do basics: As engineers move to more senior roles, Pandey says the job becomes less about coding and more focused on leading teams and delivering projects. "But if I still interview for a startup, they don't really care about how I'm leading or shipping products," he said. "They care about if I can write code, if I'm tech savvy enough." To showcase his technical skills, Pandey lists projects and links to his past coding work.

There's only one change he would make to his résumé if he were to revamp it today:

Personal brand projects: "Your personal brand is now more and more important," Pandey said. "I write actively on LinkedIn and have a newsletter with around 4,000 subscribers," which he would list on his résumé's projects section. He would also include that he mentors students. Those additions "will start to matter more than just my tech skills and certificates."

Pandey is part of a growing group of workers and business owners who embrace personal branding as a way to boost their careers.

Quynh Mai, the founder of a digital creative agency, decided to embrace personal branding nearly 10 years after she began her business. Once Mai began giving talks and promoting herself on LinkedIn and other forms of media, she said potential customers trusted her experience more, she previously told BI.

"Building a personal brand connected to your business is more important than ever because people won't do business with anyone they don't trust," she said.

Some people in 9-to-5 jobs have adopted similar practices.

Sahil Dua, a senior machine-learning engineer at Google in Zurich, told BI that personal-branding projects have given him an edge in job interviews and have boosted his career.

"Tech-speaking experience actually helped quite a lot in advancing my career and came up a lot in interview processes that I was going through at the time," Dua said.

If he were to revamp his résumé today, he said he would add his experience speaking at conferences and a book he wrote in 2020.

"I would change that section to make sure I highlight that I've given these TED Talks to increase my credibility and to say, 'Yeah, I know some stuff," Dua said.

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