Olga Slavkina writes for The Personal Branding Blog - Several Academic Degrees in One Personal Brand

The Personal Branding Blog published Olga's article for all those people who have several academic degrees in different fields. We provide the full text of the article also here: 

If you have a resume with a long Education section which lists several degrees in different academic fields, and you want to know how to place them in the context of your overall personal brand while you look for a job, then maybe this blog post is for you.

What if you, say, studied marine biology in college, went to graduate school to study art history, then finished it off with another Master’s degree in international relations? How can you present all of these to your potential employer as a coherent story?

AN EDUCATIONAL COLLAGE

“And so what?” you might ask. Several degrees, even in unrelated disciplines, signal that the job applicant in question is a highly educated person. Which employer wouldn’t like that?

But the truth is, unless your jobs have all been in pretty much the same field, your interviewer might simply be puzzled by all this variety. She might want to dig a bit deeper into the motivations that made you study all these different things.

CRAFT A COHERENT STORY

So, help your interviewer understand your personal brand by presenting a coherent story about all of your hard-earned degrees. After all, the last thing you want to do is let others underestimate the vast knowledge you acquired while studying.

  • To begin with, if you have studied different things, chances are that you have a broad range of interests and value a multidisciplinary approach to solving problems. Seek job opportunities within organizations that thrive on diversity and value job candidates with multidisciplinary backgrounds. Presenting your multifaceted academic credentials to such organizations will earn you some points!
  • Don’t apologize for the different directions you took throughout your academic career! Perhaps there was one underlying reason that unites them all? Maybe it’s your personal value, or passion – think what it is, and communicate it!
  • Sometimes you won’t necessarily be asked about all your degrees, whereas it might be beneficial to bring one of them to the employer’s attention.

For instance, I studied English in college, then did an MA in international relations, and later on got an MBA. I consult companies on how to build funky brands and attract customers, so my MBA is the degree that is noticed and appreciated most in this context.

However, my International Relations degree presents a very important piece of information that I often choose to highlight. I refer to it to communicate that I am very comfortable in multicultural environments. It also complements the fact that I speak several European languages. All of this can become very relevant in developing clients’ businesses across several geographical markets!

Finally, this diploma also pinpoints a very strong international aspect of my personal brand, the fact that I’ve lived and studied in very many countries, and that I truly enjoy an international lifestyle.

PASSIONS AND DESIRES

  • Importantly, put your degrees in the context of your passions, and things you want to achieve.  After all, all of your diplomas should be drivers of your future success, and not the “boxes” your personal brand should be restricted to!