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In France, what title should I use on my CV with a Master’s degree?

Any advises on how to cope with this?

You say that the title given on your Degree is “Master mention Informatique”, and that using the word Engineer (Ingénieur) may cause legal or college membership problems.

Given those things, and that you focused more on AI and Big Data, an alternative I can think of is (pardon my french, if I screw up) instead of using Engineer, replace it with Master:

Jean PEUPLU – Master en intelligence artificielle et Big Data

This avoids using the Engineer word, while still using the word Master (which is true, and besides sounds attractive) and focusing it on AI and Big Data.

(Note: this answer applies to France only. Things may be very different in other French-speaking places.)

In France, it is very uncommon to use a title derived from a degree. Even someone who has a diplôme d’ingénieur would not introduce themselves as ingénieur Machin. There are a few professions where it is common to use titles (docteur X (medical doctor, not PhD), professeur X (surgeon, not professor, maître X (lawyer), …) but ingénieur isn’t one, and the title goes with the job rather than with the diploma anyway.

If your current job title is ingénieur then you can write ingénieur next to your current position. This is not regulated by law and is unrelated to any diploma.

If you have a French diploma, write diplôme d’ingénieur in the diploma section of your CV if your diploma is, in fact, a diplôme d’ingénieur, and don’t write diplôme d’ingénieur otherwise. If you have a diploma from a different country, give the original name and give an informal translation. Avoid using the exact phrase diplôme d’ingénieur if you aren’t sure whether it would be considered equivalent.

Diplôme de master en intelligence artificielle et Big Data” is perfectly acceptable wording on a French CV, though you would usually state the overall discipline as well as the specialty: “Diplôme de master en informatique de l’Université de Pétaouchnok, spécialité intelligence artificielle et big data”.

On peut dire, tout simplement:

Jean PEUPLU - Master en Sciences informatiques
Jean PEUPLU - Master mention Informatique

et indiquer par ailleurs une spécialisation en IA et Big Data dans un encart bien visible en tête de CV (IA et Big data sont des mots-clés qu’il convient de mettre en évidence, sans devoir citer de diplôme). En effet, le CV reprend généralement le nom de l’institution diplômante, donc un employeur français saura juger de la réputation du diplôme en question. S’en tenir à l’intitulé d’origine n’est donc pas une mauvaise idée…

Même si “Master” n’est pas un titre, un CV se veut en effet concis et il est donc courant de n’y indiquer que l’intitulé du diplôme (au lieu de “diplômé de …”). Par ailleurs, le titre de “Maître” est réservé aux avocats, donc il faut l’éviter encore plus que celui d’Ingénieur.

Remarque : contrairement au Canada ou à la Belgique, où “Master” et “Maîtrise” sont interchangeables, les deux termes se rapportent à des durées d’études différentes en France:

  • “Maîtrise” correspond à 4 ans d’études universitaires en France (“ancien” système, équivalent à l’ancienne licence en Belgique)

  • “Master” correspond à 5 ans d’études universitaires (réforme Licence-Master-Doctorat qui a débuté en 2002 dans le cadre du processus de Bologne pour harmoniser les systèmes nationaux de 47 états.)

Ces différences ont quelques fois posé des soucis de compréhension aux employeurs, mais maintenant “Master = 5 ans” est bien assimilé.

I went to the university in France and faced the same issue. I ignored the elitism and used “Ingénieur” when I felt like it, never had issues with it.

Remember that on your CV title you can put the job/status you want, not necessarily the one you have (or studied for). You could keep “Ingénieur” or even use English naming, for instance :

  • Analyste en intelligence artificielle et Big Data
  • Architecte en intelligence artificielle et Big Data
  • IA & Data scientist

You also have to take into account that as soon as the company has dedicated HR or commercial personnel, you can be sure they won’t know what they are dealing with. They only look for keywords. And you have to go past them to have a real interview…
It’s common (and sadly necessary) to exaggerate your knowledge and experience in your CV in order to have a shot at a job in most cases.

If you feel bad about it, know that IT consulting company may add stuff to their consultant CV in order to sell them (without their knowledge generally).

I’ve been there before and used the long winded "Titulaire d’un master en…" in my resumé. Ironically, it turns out I have since been hired for multiple jobs whose titles had "engineer" in them and where I was referenced as an engineer everywhere in the company and paid as such.

This shows that for a thankfully significant number of employers, skills really come first and specific degrees second. However, I’ve come across others in France that won’t even have you in an interview if you lack the right credentials, no matter your experience. This is indeed unfair and elitist – I concluded that I wouldn’t want to work for companies with that kind of mindset anyway.

To try and avoid those rebuttals, I wouldn’t go so far as to use Engineer as the title of my resumé as Pierre suggests since I don’t want to leave myself open to legal problems if things go south with an employer. But I do mention the engineer job titles in the Experience section of the CV. I realize that this is probably not going to help you much if you’re fresh out of school, but this is just to show how hypocritical the system is and how you can try to game it.

Also, as someone suggested, it might be better to swap diploma for a formula that reflects your field of expertise more precisely:

Spécialiste en intelligence artificielle et Big Data

Expert Deep Learning et Big Data

Développeur junior en intelligence artificielle et Big Data

It is in any case a good idea to adapt your CV – including the title – to each recruiter.


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What is the capital of Tunisia?