When applying for a job in the industry and having no job experience before, what kind of certificates should I attach to my application? Besides my academic transcripts, I have certificates of attending some soft skill workshops and presenting my work in conferences. Do they count?!

BTW, I aim for the German job market and positions similar to AI/Data Scientist.

  • 2
    Adding a tag for the country would be helpful. In the USA, you wouldn't attach transcripts or certificates as part of a job application. A company might ask for an academic transcript as part of a background check but that would be uncommon for someone with a PhD. The answer is likely different in other countries. Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 18:35
  • This strongly depends on the job you seek and on the topic of the workshops you attended, as you have to tailor your CV and application material for each role, in order to maximize your chances... mind clarifying? Or telling what role you have in mind
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 18:43
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    I think that in general you should not submit materials that are not asked for, especially certificates - just add them as lines on the CV for positions where you think it might be seen as a positive. But I don't know if this is also the norm in Germany, so I can't answer with confidence.
    – BrianH
    Commented Apr 25, 2019 at 1:12
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    @BrianH - attaching certificates is not at all unusual in Germany. Applicants probably won't be asked to include a photograph in their CV/Resume either - but they definitely should include one. Commented May 6, 2019 at 13:57

2 Answers 2


Data Science and Machine Learning hiring managers are looking for specifics skills* when considering PhDs right out of graduate school:

  1. An ability to problem solve when you only have partial information.
  2. Some demonstration that you've taken independent steps to learn the field. Usually this is the basics for a handful of machine learning models and, more importantly, their mathematical underpinnings.
  3. A good attitude/team fit.

No certificate gives you those things, except maybe an online course supporting that you worked towards number 2. A strong track record of public speaking never hurts, but interactions during the interview will dominate the evaluation of these skills.

On the flip side, some big red flags for "data science" positions are requirements for Microsoft/Oracle/similar certifications. While data science is not rigidly defined, I am starting to see** the title given to data engineering positions, devops positions, and other similar programming roles that have a splash of statistics in the requirements. If you want to be doing research and applying machine learning models to business use cases, avoid these postings like the plague.

*Unless you are applying for a research position with an ML degree, in which case this does not apply.

**I am US based, not German, so not sure what differences that entails.

  • The answer to the implicit question in your final sentence is: "A huge one". Such a huge one that it completely invalidates your answer. Commented May 6, 2019 at 14:01

Absolutelly none! Just send a CV and introductory letter. You will be trusted in your claims. Later, on an interview, you will (at least that's what they'll try to) be caught in any lies you told them.

Companies could not care less about how many papers (those that say how many useless degrees you have, not those you publish) you have, they want you to perform, perform and perform! I don't even think most of the selection process will focus around that particular PhD but rather on your overall set of skills

  • Wrong. Papers are important for data science positions.
    – SmallChess
    Commented May 2, 2019 at 13:40
  • Erm, what makes you think published papers are unimportant to companies?
    – lucasgcb
    Commented May 2, 2019 at 14:43
  • I did not mean "papers" as in "research papers" but as in "certificates". The difference was missed in translation
    – David
    Commented May 2, 2019 at 22:57
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    This is about Germany, not the US. Certificates are important. Commented May 6, 2019 at 14:00
  • @MartinBonner Less than 1 out of 30 people in the world live in the United States. Why do you assume I am one of them? My answer comes from my experience looking for jobs in Spain and Portugal. I can assure you that I haven't been asked for a certificate exactly zero times
    – David
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 12:04

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