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I have completed a Computer Science bachelor's degree, from where I went on to pursue an MA in Digital Game Design, which I am about to finish this September – and these are obviously the two things that I put on my resume into the Education section.

However, while I studied Computer Science, I also pursued another undergraduate studies at the same time, French literature, which I actually pursued for two years in Prague, where I live, and another year on an exchange programme in France. I actually almost completed even this second studies (I had approx. 150 out of the 180 credits needed to finish), but when I was accepted to study the MA in London, I decided to not pursue the French studies anymore and move to London straight away.

My question is, should I put the second, unfinished bachelor studies on my resume when applying for jobs where I think that a three-year education in literature could be relevant?

In particular, I am applying for Game Designer jobs, and I think that the combination of Computer Science and a more humanistic subject such as literature could create the positive impression that I am a well-rounded person, which I think is an excellent trait particularly for a Game Designer. That is also what I lead with in the summary on my resume:

'With an university education that combines technical, creative, and humanistic perspectives, I am well-equipped to approach all the aspects of modern video game design.'

However, I am worried that putting an unfinished bachelor's studies on my resume could also create a negative impression for obvious reasons, and I do not know whether this would in the end score me more positive or negative points.

Should I list the second studies on my resume?

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Your resume should include everything that is relevant and helpful for the position of interest (from the interviewer's point of view). If you believe that on balance these unfinished studies would help your chances more than hurt, you should include them. I've interviewed a lot of people over the years, and have seen a wide variety of studies that were used to bolster the applicant's candidacies.

Clearly not completing your studies make them somewhat less valuable than if they had been completed. Consider that the lack of completion might need to be explained during an interview, since some employers will wonder if you are are a quitter (I'm not saying that you are).

You also don't want to give the impression that you are at heart a French Literature professor, who is simply settling for a Game Designer's position. While I've hired people who clearly would rather be doing something else, I've had most success with people who really wanted the position I was offering. Again, I'm not saying this is you, I'm just trying to point out what might be going through the heads of people reading your resume.

Your statement 'With an university education that combines technical, creative, and humanistic perspectives, I am well-equipped to approach all the aspects of modern video game design.' seems very strong, and would probably work as well even if you left off the fact that you had pursued but gave up a second degree. You should consider if this approach could work just as well.

If it were me, I'd probably leave the indication of a "partial 2nd degree" off, and emphasize the courses you took that would be useful in the new position.

  • Thanks, it is exactly the 'quitter' impression that I am trying to avoid. About the concern that I would sound like switching professions, the opposite is actually true in my case – I went for the Computer Science + French Literature combo exactly because I knew that I wanted to pursue a game design line of work, but since there was no GD degree to pursue per se, I had to improvise. Thank you for your point of view. – mzi Jul 21 '13 at 18:06
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Do uiniversities still have the concepts of majors and minors? I have always listed my education as a major in Political Science and a minor in Mathematics and I was in a similar situation where I tried to double major but the classes conflicted my senior year and I had to choose. Saying you have a minor in something doesn't look like you were a quitter, it looks like you studied something in addition to your main studies. When they are very different fields, that is often a plus. If you can talk in the interview about how the French lit helps you in the game design, it is even more of a plus.

  • Some universities here in the Czech Republic do follow the major/minor concept, but the particular university that I went to does not – not that is especially matters, really, I do see your point. Thanks. – mzi Jul 22 '13 at 15:01
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    In that case you might phrase it as BS in Computer Science with 150 additional credits in French Literature – HLGEM Jul 22 '13 at 15:05
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Absolutely. With French in particular, this is spoken not only in Europe but in Quebec and Viet Nam. Therefore anything down to the ATMs need to have a French language option. Knowing your way around Prague and other parts of Eastern Europe doesn't hurt either - make this clear on your resume.

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Is there a way you can start the process of completing the 2nd undergraduate degree? If you take one class in the Fall, you can say that you are expected to complete it in Spring 2015. If they ask tell them that the advanced degree was done first because of the opportunity for the Masters wouldn't wait for you to finish the 2nd Bachelors.

This allows you to mention your French studies, even though your university doesn't have the concept of a minor. It also doesn't give the impression that you are a quitter.

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