I'm trying not to do a lot today because there are cookies that must be baked, but I wanted to at least scan the resumes that came in last night from LinkedIn.  And I get this resume that totally pushed my buttons, in the wrong way.  The top line of the resume was styled:  "Dr. John Smith".  No, this is not for a medical or research orientated position.  It's for a management consulting position.  And this guy got his "DM" (as it's styled on his resume) from a well known institution that specializes in online degrees.  

I've seen loads of resumes styled "John Smith, MBA" or "John Smith, PhD", or "John Smith (insert really hard to get certification here)".  And while those annoy me a little, I didn't get the nail-on-chalkboard that I got with this guy.  I know several PhD's in liberal arts, engineering, and business, and NONE of them use Doctor as their title.  

Is it just me?  What are your thoughts?

Oh, and the cookies?  Oatmeal chocolate chip, gingersnaps, and Mexican Wedding Cookies.  

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@Melissa,

As a recruiter I expect accomplished professionals to list their their degrees, certificates and other unique accomplishments particularly in the employment seeking process.  If they choose to list some aspect of those achievements in their title--I'm fine with it.  Clearly they're proud of it as a hard earned accomplishment--otherwise they wouldn't list it/them.

Yes, some don't list such designation and some can go overboard, like in your example.  I've seen some with degrees and 3-4 acronyms after their name for certified designations they've earned, e.g., CPA, CIA, CSA, CPM, etc.  When I look for auditors I want to see those listed on their resume, or in their title.  It helps cut to the chase so I welcome it--in fact, I respect it.  They went the extra mile(s) to earn the degree(s) and or designation(s).

The worst I've ever seen was a regional VP who put his name on his business card as John Smith, BBA. No one was surprised when he was demoted back to a territory rep after about six months.

I would rather see degrees and certifications listed under Educational Background. Advanced degrees ie; PhD, JD, MD don't bother me as much but all of the cents listed after a name signal more focus on certs as opposed to accomplishments to me.

Its a good question and as someone who uses it, I am not sure what the right answer is. Used to work in advanced technologies in a major automotive company and it was matter of habit for a lot of folks to use a PhD or Dr in the name.

I have gone back forth on this, but realised we are a living in a global world these days and culturally in different parts of the world people view these differently. I finally settled on a Dr in front of mine, mostly to remind myself that I did spend a lot years of my life trying to achieve it.

@Dr. Suresh Ragyavan,

I agree with your decision to list "Dr." in your title.  And I applaud it.

You've accomplished a higher level of education that distinguishes you among others, particularly in a competitive world—where like it or not--education, experience and accomplishments matter.   And if your degree is from an accredited institution of higher learning--there it is.

Bottom line--you're proud of your PhD because it was hard earned and speaks to your discipline, sweat equity, time and money invested in seeing it through to an accomplished goal.  As a recruiter I like that in candidates I approach, or who approach me.

@John,

It’s ludicrous to suggest a person who lists an MBA, RN (Registered Nurse), CIA (Certified Internal Auditor), or any other valid certification “The other letters” you have a problem with “has some warts they want to hide.”  It’s actually the reverse—they have something to crow about.

Maybe there is something wrong with me as I don't see a problem with Dr. Ragyavan using the Dr.  Perhaps it's because it's a technical degree?  But I agree that there are some letters that make me think that the applicant is overcompensating just a bit. And remember that in US culture, the Dr. title has an immediate connection with medicine.  I know this is not necessarily the case elsewhere.

By all means, list the certs and degrees.  I want to see them, but maybe not on the top line of the resume. 

@Melissa,

The "US culture" you speak of grows more diverse each day. Way back in the day the "Dr." title had an immediate connection with medicine.  Nowadays, however, it can be a Dr. of Divinity, Theology, Philosophy, English, Psychology, Agricultural Education, History, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Social Work, Nursing Science, Information Systems, Political Science, etc.  All are relevant and respected as part of a person's title on a resume in the workplaces that hire in those disciplines in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Besides finding the "Dr." title on résumés you will also find most business cards will carry such "titles" & related acronyms as well.

Thanks for the comments Valentino.

We used to work with German engineers and it is a common pratice in Germany to identify Diploma in Eng vs Doct of Eng. I know its common in India to identify with degrees (particularly doctors of medicine - funny, the longer the certs the more impressive their plaque looked to me as a kid. MBBS, MD, FRCS etc)

But I can see Melissa's point of when someone is displaying several suffixes or certs or degrees to their name.

If its a differentiator, then its worth listing..(the differentiator is subjective - in a world where everyone has a PhD, it wouldn't be worth listing it). Ph.D's for example are almost a requirement in Germany to be a CEO of an engineering company, whereas here in the US, we almost look at Ph.D's as negative for CEO roles..It all depends on the world you are living in.

I think the good Doctor hit the nail on the head. The resumes that annoy me are the ones that are listing the degrees and certs just for sake of listing them.  On this particular resume, I didn't see where it added any value.  If his PhD was in Organization Psychology or something similar, it would have been applicable. 

And yes, Dr. does mean lots of things in US culture, but in my experience, people who aren't medical doctors or professors do not use the honorific. 

On a similar note: my wife previously worked at a hospital where the CEO always referred to himself (and made sure everyone else did, too) as Doctor _______ , even though his degree was not in medicine at all, but in something else.  Because he ran hospital, this really rubbed many of the Medical folks the wrong way.  Of course this was just a drop in the bucket of his issues that contributed to poor morale, so maybe if he had been better at dealing with people this would have been overlooked more.

@Bob,

Sounds like your wife worked with Dr. Evil.

Your wife’s experience reminds me of another dynamic on this whole issue of "titles" and Melissa’s mention of the “obnoxious” factor that may be in play. A different slant is having to deal with those employees who insist on being addressed in a formal manner.  Worse—I occasionally found the “Dr.” class of employees in some R&D groups in corporate America are pretty walled-off from the blue-collar technicians and other non-Drs. in the work place.  It makes for an elitist camp and dysfunctional relationships on projects that need a cohesive team effort for improving results.


Bob said:

On a similar note: my wife previously worked at a hospital where the CEO always referred to himself (and made sure everyone else did, too) as Doctor _______ , even though his degree was not in medicine at all, but in something else.  Because he ran hospital, this really rubbed many of the Medical folks the wrong way.  Of course this was just a drop in the bucket of his issues that contributed to poor morale, so maybe if he had been better at dealing with people this would have been overlooked more.

Looks like at the end of the day, its not titles or degrees that make people obnoxious, its people themselves..

 

My immediate reaction is that this Mr. Smith is pretty pompous and, most importantly, unaware of what IS important to highlight on a resume.  If the advanced degree or certification is from a well regarded institution, then it might make sense to put it "center stage".  Otherwise, it should be included in the Education section; I prefer that to be near the end of the end of the resume.  After all, the educational achievements don't mean a thing unless there are job-related accomplishments to demonstrate that the individual knows how to be effective in the workplace. (The obvious caveat is that this does not apply as much to a new grad).

Bottom line, the resume is the admission ticket and I, the recruiter, have to make a pretty quick choice to read further or pass.  I have learned to trust my instincts on this and they have seldom failed me.

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