1

Nearly all of the companies I'm applying or plan to apply to use some kind of online platform where applications should be uploaded. Typically that means entering most of the information that is contained in your CV into an online form and uploading your cover letter, resume, and copies of certificates. The rationale behind this doubling between resume and the online tool is nicely described in this answer. Also, some of the companies explicitly state that not your resume but the information entered into their online form is used for the initial screening of applicants.

My problem is that I'm just about to finish my PhD and unless hell freezes over it is sure that I will get that degree, it's basically only a matter of the grade it will be given. However, in fact I don't have it yet. In my cover letter and resume I can easily deal with that by giving additional explanation like "expected by 'month/year'" or the like.

But how should I deal with that when entering my information into such an application platform where I can only enter information like name of the degree, institution, grade but no additional explanation? If I enter it as if I had it already – of course with a corresponding explanation in cover letter and resume– I might be considered (mildly) cheating. If I leave it out, chances are high that I don't even pass the first screening since I seemingly do not provide the required degree.

In case that it might make a difference: the positions I'm referring to are based in Germany or at least in German-speaking countries.

  • It's quite clear that you are in Germany from your name and the fact that you mention “grades” and “certificates” (which nobody else cares about) but I think it ought to be mentioned in the question, as the answers might be different elsewhere. – Relaxed Nov 10 '15 at 15:06
4

If you're required to enter a degree, you can normally specify the period, for example:

  • Degree: Masters Degree in Computer Science
  • University: Oxford University
  • Started: 2011
  • Finished: 2016

The standard phrase to add to the date is "expected 2016" to make it completely clear that you have yet to receive the degree but are on track to obtain it. If the platform doesn't have any fields for the date, just add "(expected 2016)" to the degree itself:

Masters Degree in Computer Science (expected 2016), Oxford University

If, for whatever reason, even that is impossible, just mention in your cover letter that you'll be graduating soon. Any interviewer that accuses you of fraud after that is not someone you want to be working for any way.

4

But how should I deal with that when entering my information into such an application platform where I can only enter information like name of the degree, institution, grade but no additional explanation? If I enter it as if I had it already – of course with a corresponding explanation in cover letter and resume– I might be considered (mildly) cheating. If I leave it out, chances are high that I don't even pass the first screening since I seemingly do not provide the required degree.

I would simply not enter it if it is asking for completed degrees since as you said you are expecting to get it in the future. If there is no way to enter "expected" or allow for partials then I would simply not enter it.

Also try not entering the "complete" date. Instead just put the start date and leave the complete date empty to see if that works.

Just remember though unless the application is a background check you can enter any information you feel. Since one application system might allow for pending degrees, it was probably an overlooked feature. You could explain that the system didn't allow pending degrees but you are getting a degree in the near future. Personally I think companies should do away with proprietary applications and just accept resumes for applications. To me I avoid companies that make me have to waste 30-45 minutes to fill out a online application.

Most companies I been to first look at my resume, then if I'm hired, I officially fill out the application in their system.

0

What type of positions are you applying to? In my experience, many systems do allow you to enter a degree you are going to obtain soon, especially for academic jobs where a PhD is a requirement. If the date is in the future or you add something like “expected” somewhere in the description, there is no ambiguity and no reason to be concerned about fraud.

But in industry, it's very rare to see a position where people would be filtered out based on their holding a PhD or not. I have been to interviews and finally landed a job where it was an advantage but apart from academic jobs, the requirement is nearly always a master's degree and the PhD is at most a bonus (and quite often a liability: you have to show you are ready to work in industry and avoid projecting a mad scientist or pie-in-the-sky image).

Of course, you would mention the PhD on your resume and should be very careful to use that and your cover letter to articulate how this experience is relevant to your future work. But you are unlikely to be automatically filtered out because you have not entered it in the online application system.

In practice, a simple solution is therefore to mention your research experience as a “professional experience”. It is what it is, you spent 3-4 years working on a research project, not attending courses and you already have a master's degree (or Diplom) which is probably all that's needed in terms of formal academic qualification so what you need to look good on a casual glance is to beef up your professional experience, not another diploma.

  • You are right that most employers in industry treat a PhD basically as some years of – in their view sometimes questionable – work experience. However, I came across some positions that explicitly require a PhD, some even in the field the job ad describes. – Benedikt Bauer Nov 10 '15 at 15:45
  • @BenediktBauer Well, that's excellent, then I would do what Lilienthal advised. – Relaxed Nov 10 '15 at 16:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.