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If somebody has multiple apparently unrelated academic degrees what are the pros and cons of mentioning them?

Should they be included in a CV?

For example, there is no immediate connection between (say) a music degree and a STEM degree. But I believe that pursuing a broad range of professional knowledge speaks about the person in a good way. Even more, there are a lot of examples of the usefulness of having deep knowledge about multiple not so closely related areas, but I don't know if that is a commonly held view.

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  • Your academic background is most important for your first job. After that, especially if your education ends at a bachelor's level, it is increasingly less relevant as you move forward in your career. – Eric Oct 22 '17 at 1:15
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If somebody has multiple apparently unrelated academic degrees what are the pros and cons of mentioning them?

My experience is that it will be a topic of conversation of “Why did you pick X and Y” and “Was it difficult”?

It will be your job to dovetail your academic experience to the job at hand and how it will be a benefit to the company.

Should they be included in a CV?

List it as it is something you accomplished.

But I believe that pursuing a broad range of professional knowledge speaks about the person in a good way.

Correct in general. But remember that a position was designed to turn one very specific gear in the machine. Your skills as a X would have translatable value as an Y, but not as a 1:1 ratio.

My experience that the ROI on each successive degree after (1) at the bachelor level has been effectively 0. But that’s just me. The job I do does not require three degrees. At the same time, I didn't receive interviews/offers from other companies despite (or is it in spite?) of my academic accomplishments. You might get more mileage on your second and third degree from a different institution then mine.

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  • This is awesome. It is very helpful to know that such questions may come up in an interview. Thankfully we can sometimes forget about the ROI and justify things because they are rewarding in some other sense. Thank you for sharing your experience. – Odo Frodo Oct 21 '17 at 19:08
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If somebody has multiple apparently unrelated academic degrees what are the pros and cons of mentioning them?

Should they be included in a CV?

Yes, they should all be included. Personally, I believe that all education is a good thing - even when not directly related to your career field. And I believe that any degree earned is a significant achievement.

In the best case, they show that you have a wide variety of interests. They can show that you are a hard worker, and that you are willing to commit effort in disparate fields.

You may need to be prepared to answer if you really want to go in the direction that fits the role the company is offering or if that you would prefer to go in the direction your other major would take you. ("Do you really want to be a programmer? Or would you rather be an actor?") The interviewer may be worried that you are just marking time until the job you really want opens up.

Or if this would be your first job, you may be perceived as someone who would rather stay in school than be part of the working world. That could appear to be the case for someone who pursues one degree after another.

For me, I'd include all my education, and then be prepared to talk about why I chose those majors, and why I now want my career to go in the direction I have chosen.

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  • Thanks a lot Joe! It's definetely a good idea to emphasize that one has chosen a particular career direction. – Odo Frodo Oct 22 '17 at 18:23
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They don't hurt. If I saw two degrees I'd assume you were a diligent student to complete both, which would increase your chance of getting the job. That said, it would probably only matter for you first job or two. After a few years in a field, experience trumps everything on your education section.

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  • I've actually heard it can hinder your chances if the degrees are from unrelated fields. Such as MSc followed by an MBA. Not sure what the reasoning is, though. I would personally consider them as mutually supporting degrees. You can estimate the needs/requirements better if you know what the business side likely needs. – Juha Untinen Oct 21 '17 at 16:36
  • Mba is a special beast. If you got an mba, I'd assume you want to be in management. If you were then applying as an engineer, I'd want to make sure you'd be content in such a role. It wouldn't lower your chances of you were thought to be happy not in management. – Gabe Sechan Oct 21 '17 at 16:44
  • Thank you Gabe and Juha for your inputs. A friend mentioned just what Juha said, that it can hinder the chances if the degrees are from unrelated fields, but I personally agree with Gabe's point of view. – Odo Frodo Oct 21 '17 at 17:00

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