Author Topic: Degree title on resume UPDATE  (Read 7354 times)

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Lynn2000

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Degree title on resume UPDATE
« on: February 11, 2011, 08:08:22 PM »
In my mind, this is a question about professional etiquette, but as always it's possible I'm way off-base. Or just lacking in common sense.  ::) <--at me

When writing a resume, how do you decide what degree title to put on it? Okay, I know this sounds dumb, but hear me out. My co-worker got her masters degree from the Care of Magical Creatures Department; specifically, she was in one of their specializations, Animal Transmogrification. Due to this specialization she was trained in techniques/knowledge different from other people in the same program (who had different specializations). Also, in the industry she'd like to work in, there's a perception bias: "Transmogrification" sounds highly technical and skilled (desirable), while "Care" sounds more low-tech and old-fashioned (undesirable).

When applying for transmogrification jobs, she wants to put "M.S., Animal Transmogrification, Hogwarts University" on her resume. Is this appropriate?

Furthermore, a lot of the techniques involved in animal transmogrification also work with plants or humans, and she doesn't want to limit herself to just animal jobs. So, for some applications, she'd like to put "M.S., Biotransmutation, Hogwarts University" on her resume--the term is correct for what she's learned, just broader than "animal transmogrification." Is this appropriate?

I am not trying to get into a legal area here, I'm just asking if it's the "done thing" to tailor your resume in this manner, and to what extent you can do this without becoming unprofessional.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2011, 05:30:40 PM by Lynn2000 »
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Surianne

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Re: Degree title on resume
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2011, 08:48:58 PM »
I would put the degree title that's actually on my diploma, if there is one. 

So I don't think broadening it to Biotransmutation is okay, if that's not what her degree was called -- that seems too much like lying to me.  I think specifying how the techniques apply to more than just Animals would go in the cover letter. 

If her specialization isn't an actual degree, can she put the name ("M.S., Care of Magical Creatures") and then "Major: Animal Transmogrification" after it?  That's how I do it with mine.  Mine is basically like this:

Master of Library and Information Science
University of Fakeness, 2008

Bachelor of Arts (Hons.)
Major: Drama
Other Fake School, 2005

If I'm applying somewhere that I think might not respect the Drama degree, I specifically leave it off and just go with Bachelor of Arts (Hons.).  I also used to add "with Distinction" to my degree because it showed that I'd earned that (means I had an A average) but now that I've been out in the work force a few years I don't bother.


ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Degree title on resume
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2011, 08:56:08 PM »
She needs to put what's on her diploma. This aspect of her resume isn't subjective-it's fact.

I she concerned, she should also list her concentration. A cover letter should be able to explain the multiple species she's worked with.
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

Lynn2000

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Re: Degree title on resume
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2011, 09:04:44 PM »
Unfortunately, the diploma only says "Master of Science, Hogwarts University." It doesn't even list the department she was in. So, no help there.

My suggestion to her was also to put something like "M.S., Care of Magical Creatures, Animal Transmogrification option," but she felt that took up too much space that she needs for other things (the real names are actually even longer than my examples). Also, we had a debate over whether "Care of Magical Creatures" was the name of her degree or just the name of the department she got it from.

I think explaining further in the cover letter is a good idea. Actually, she spends the cover letter talking about all the various techniques she knows and projects she's done, so it should be pretty obvious that her expertise is not limited to "care" alone. However, she's worried people will see "Care" on the resume and not read any farther.

But you guys think "Biotransmutation" is definitely out? As a potential employer, do you think a discrepancy like this would really bother you, or would you be understanding if she explained it? Do employers even check these days?
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TomOBedlam

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Re: Degree title on resume
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2011, 09:07:56 PM »
My opinion (as someone who has just redone his resume) is that it depends on whether the specialization is a formal part of the degree itself.

For example, I am real-soon-now getting my MBA.  As far as I know, my focus, Operations Management, is not included in the actual degree title (the focus is determined by which electives you take; one does not have to have a focus, taking a mixed bag of electives will earn what is referred to as a General MBA).  My resume lists my degree as an MBA in Operations Management.

On the other hand, consider my cousin, who studied Meteorology in college.  Near the end of his studies, it became apparent that he was lacking a required class in the Meteorology degree.  He was offered a choice: he could remain in school for another semester and take the required class and earn a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology or he could go ahead and graduate when he originally planned to and earn a Bachelor of Science in Weather Science.  I don't actually remember what option he took, but if he opted for the BS in Weather Science, it would be inappropriate for him to list his degree as a BS in Meteorology because that is not what he had.

What I think it comes down to is objectively looking at the situation and asking, "If I explain this honestly to an interviewer, will it look like I'm trying to pull a fast one on my potential employers."  And I would err on the side of caution, if I REALLY wanted to get a job.

Deetee

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Re: Degree title on resume
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2011, 09:08:36 PM »
If she actually has those qualifications, it's reasonable. What ends up on a diploma is a bit random.

I have a double major. I could only pick one to list on my diploma, but I list both on my CV.

Also if you have a PhD/Masters, you can have Biology--->Ecology--->Genetics and any or all of those can end up on your diploma.

I think she is being informative, not misleading at all.


ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Degree title on resume
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2011, 09:10:31 PM »
I think if her degree/departure didn't list bioteansmutatiin, then she really can't either.
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

Fluffy Cat

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Re: Degree title on resume
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2011, 09:13:48 PM »
Unfortunately, the diploma only says "Master of Science, Hogwarts University." It doesn't even list the department she was in. So, no help there.

I would still do what Surianne suggested, although I might leave the concentration off if it didn't specifically apply to the job she is applying for.  

My DH:

General University
Masters of Business Administration

OR

General University
Masters of Business Administration; Finance

OR

General University
Masters of Business Administration
Concentration:  Finance

There are a few different ways to word the second option without putting it on a second line, don't take mine as gospel.
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P-p-p-penguin

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Re: Degree title on resume
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2011, 09:19:34 PM »
What was the title when she signed up for the degree?  If she will be using any of her university professors as referees then they can always confirm it for potential employers. 

I would put the actual title of the degree and then a brief description of what was covered so that it is clear what material she studied.

Lynn2000

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Re: Degree title on resume
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2011, 09:31:57 PM »
What I think it comes down to is objectively looking at the situation and asking, "If I explain this honestly to an interviewer, will it look like I'm trying to pull a fast one on my potential employers."  And I would err on the side of caution, if I REALLY wanted to get a job.

I think this is a good point...  The best answer I can think of would be, "Most of my coursework was in biotransmutation techniques and knowledge, which could be applied to any species, so I felt this was the most accurate reflection of my training." Some employers would probably be fine with that, others would not be.

I just wrote to the records office for the university to see what MY official degree title is (we attended the same one). Something she probably should've done before sending out those resumes, since right below the "Former Student Degree Verification" link, there's an "Employer Degree Verification" link.  :P Of course, I'm just now thinking of this myself...
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jmarvellous

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Re: Degree title on resume
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2011, 09:41:00 PM »
 I was part of an extra non-degree-granting program that I'm quite proud of and that had nothing to do with my degree. My degree did not offer minors, but if it had, I would have minored in something similar.
Unfortunately, the name of the special program was something 99% percent of employers would just say, "Huh?" to; also, I didn't end up with a certificate at the end of my time at the university. Rather than list it and explain all that, I say, under my official degree (which happens to be a B.J. and therefore MUST be spelled out):

"with specialization in environmental studies."

I have the knowledge to back it up and will explain if they want more information, but I feel that's the most honest explanation I can provide. I think your friend can do something similar with regard to her wider knowledge base, perhaps by mentioning it in a cover letter.

auntmeegs

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Re: Degree title on resume
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2011, 12:07:05 AM »
I wish I had a degree in Transfiguration or Care of Magical Creatures.   :(

kglory

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Re: Degree title on resume
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2011, 02:07:20 AM »
1.  I wish I could list any of those things on my resume! :)

2.  To be ethical, I think "Biotransmogrification" should not be listed as her degree, even if she's studied it.  It's not the name of her department or her specialization.  Just because a person has studied something doesn't make it the name of her degree.  But if "biotransmogrification" is an important skill for her employers to recognize, she should be sure list it underneath as a skill.  For example

Hogwarts University, B.A. in Care of Magical Creatures, Specialization in Animal Transmogrification (2005)
- Performed honors research in animal and plant biotransmogrification with Prof. Hagrid, including....

That is, if she's been out of school a while.  I have been, so any college activities would be listed under the college, because I've had several full-time jobs to list.  If she has just graduated from school, she might just list her college above, and then under "Work Experience", list something like "Research Assistant, Biotransmogrification, 2009-2011" with duties below.

--

I actually have a similar situation in that I majored in a very broad inter-disciplinary major.  At my school, students in this major had to either specialize in one of several tracks or create their own.  I created my own, which was approved, and graduated after completing this work.

So my resume says something like:  B.A., [Really Broad Major]; Specialization in [Narrower Subject Area].  And then the usual about the the honors and research etc. listed below.

Lynn2000

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Re: Degree title on resume UPDATE
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2011, 05:36:52 PM »
UPDATE. I heard back from the records office about what my official degree is... and it's just the level. They listed all three of my degrees (BS, MS, PhD) and only for the most recent one, PhD, did they even mention the department I got it from. For all the others it's just the level--they don't even give my major for my BS.

So I guess there is no official answer to base anything on...

ETA because my typos are like pins in my eyes...
« Last Edit: February 15, 2011, 09:58:38 AM by Lynn2000 »
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judecat

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Re: Degree title on resume UPDATE
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2011, 12:16:27 AM »
I don't have a 4 year degree,  but I do have an AA.  I was majoring in "secretarial science",  but I lack one semester of shorthand,  so all I can honestly state is AA degree in General Studies,  and then either Secretarial Science concentration or list the secretarial/business classes I took,  (or at least the ones that are relevant today,  no one does shorthand any more.)