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Hi all,

In the resume cast, Mark and Mike tell us to put the college/university (I'm from Europe) degree at the very bottom without too much fuss about it. I have two degrees (well almost: I never finished the first one...): an almost B.Sc. in maths and a Ph.D. in history. Between finishing the first one and starting the second one I worked two years in at a place where I had been an intern during the first period at university. Which is the best way to present that in the resume? Thanks in advance for any help.

Lars

jhack's picture

Simply say:

BS, Economics, Schoolname, city, state, month & year degree awarded.
MS, MOT, School, city, state, month year.

That's all. No need to explain the gap, your work history will reveal that.

Do not list a degree you don't have; simply indicate that you attended.

John

thaGUma's picture

Lars, the missed degree is an alarm bell - you need to have a good response for why the degree was never awarded.

Fortunately the PhD shows you have the brain the size of a small planet :wink: and supersedes the first - the implication being that if you had an issue with eductation or studying, it was resolved later. That is a postive.

Three/four missing years or an uncompleted degree - which is best for someone to see when revieweing your resume?

1. Leave it blank. A review of your resume will show three or four missing years. The reviewer will either decide to reject you immediately in case you were in jail, or if your resume is otherwise attractive call you in.
2. Less favourable perhaps; state it under the PhD (reverse chronology), preceeded by 'studied for' or similar - get ready for the questions. Risk is that the reviewer will make wrong assumptions and put you in the 'no' pile.

In both cases you need to have an otherwise excellent resume and rock solid answer to 'why no BSc?'

jhack's picture

As a hiring manager, I'd rather see you say: x credits towards bachelor's degree.... than leave it blank. Yes, you'll have to explain what happened, but you can turn that into a positive (especially since you went on to get the advanced degree). If you've heard Mark give his explanation of how he didn't get into medical school, you'll know that this can be turned into a positive in an interview.

As an aside, a PhD indicates dedication over a long period towards a goal, with obstacles along the way. Many PhDs are awarded to folks with average intelligence. Lazy people with PhDs are much, much harder to find. No matter how you look at it, it is a real acheivement.

John

rthibode's picture

Lars,

I agree with John Hack.

List the number of credits or number of completed years.

Example:

B.Sc. (Mathematics). University of XYZ, Helsinki. Three years completed, 1996-1999.

Since you attempted a maths degree, that demonstrates at least some quantitative proficiency (better than the average historian, I bet!). Assuming you're applying for jobs more relevant to history than to mathematics, I believe it's an advantage to show the math proficiency.

You don't mention the reason for not completing your B.Sc. If I were reviewing your resume, I'd assume maths simply wasn't for you, and it took you a couple of years to identify your passion and go for it. If your Ph.D. was in computer science, I'd get worried.

svensson's picture

Thanks to all for your valuable feedback. Summing up, I conclude it would be OK to have something like this at the bottom of my resume:

January 1992-December 1992 MyFirstCompany, Someplace, Plant manager, Responsible for making coffee and watering plants
* Reduced water consumption by 10% by not watering any plants at all

Ph.D. (History), Small Planet University, 1992
B.Sc. (Mathematics) University of Shang-ri-la. Three years completed 1980-1983

[quote="rthibode"]
Since you attempted a maths degree, that demonstrates at least some quantitative proficiency (better than the average historian, I bet!). Assuming you're applying for jobs more relevant to history than to mathematics, I believe it's an advantage to show the math proficiency.
[/quote]
Well, I've been a Java developer and currently I'm in library IT. I think that's one of the few positions where you need a historian's [i]and[/i] a mathematician's skill set every day...

[quote="rthibode"]You don't mention the reason for not completing your B.Sc. If I were reviewing your resume, I'd assume maths simply wasn't for you, and it took you a couple of years to identify your passion and go for it. If your Ph.D. was in computer science, I'd get worried.
[/quote]
Perfectly right: I realised maths wasn't for me. I'm still playing with the idea to finish that degree, though.

Thanks again!

Lars