Which Dates Are Important to Add to Your Resume?

Resume dates are a big part of your resume. What should you know about adding resume dates, especially if you’re an older job seeker?

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Resume Dates

Even small details can be important when writing a resume and cover letter for a job application. Something as simple as knowing how and when to include resume dates can show hiring managers you are a good candidate for the job. Dates can be an essential component of a resume, but they are not needed in every case.

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Why Are Resume Dates Important?

When placed correctly, resume dates can tell recruiters a lot about job seekers. Dates can tell a hiring manager how many years of experience you have in the industry, and how long you have held certain professional certifications. These details can help you stand out from other applications on their desk, especially if you have held relevant, long-term positions. Finally, it is important to note that dates may have an impact on how your resume ranks in applicant tracking systems (ATS).

When and Where To Add Dates to Your Resume

Whether it is necessary to include dates on a resume can depend on the requirements of the job posting. You should always include dates of employment in your work experience section, for example, but certain job postings may also want dates for professional certifications and memberships. These are the dates most commonly listed on resumes:

  • Dates of employment (e.g., job title start and end date)
  • Certification and license award dates
  • Membership dates for professional associations
  • Publication dates
  • Professional conference and event participation dates 
  • Internship start and end dates

When you include dates in your resume sections, they should be listed at the end of each entry. For example, when listing a professional certification you would present it as such:

 
[Certification title], [DD/MM/YYYY]
 
If the certification must be renewed:
 
[Certification Title], [DD/MM/YYYY – DD/MM/YYYY]
 
In most cases, it is preferable to use a full date format, including specific days. This is especially the case when employment history, but in the case of memberships and certifications it can be acceptable to use the shorter MM/YYYY format as long as you are consistent. It is not usual to list your graduation date on a professional resume unless an employer specifically requests it.


Fighting Ageism in Your Job Search

Potential employers often require employment dates because they state that a certain amount of experience is needed for a specific job. In these cases, you should include as much of your career history as the job posting requests. However, it is understandable that older job seekers are wary of including their entire job history, so to avoid age-based bias. First and foremost, it is important to note that ageism is illegal, so if you are concerned that you have been discriminated against based on your age, you should report this. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the chance of age bias of limiting your job search. The most effective ways to fight ageism and get a new job are:

  • Limit the work history you list

Check the job description and advert to see how many years of experience are required and list just a little more than this in your resume. Some career advice experts recommend you list no more than 10 years of experience, while others state you can include as much as 20. What really matters is that you present enough relevant professional experience in the right way. Remember to list your previous job titles in reverse chronological order and double-check your employment dates.

  • Refresh your education section

Show evidence of ongoing education to assure employers that your knowledge base is up to date. This will show recruiters that you have the same up-to-date skill set as a recent graduate, with the bonus of more experience.

  • Prove your technical skills

Above entry level, technical skills become more important. If you are applying for management positions or specialized roles, your technical skills will be very important, so put them in a featured section like your statement of qualifications.

  • Show digital literacy

One of the driving concerns behind age bias is the perceived lack of technological and digital literacy in older job seekers. Showcase your professional social media, digital skills and technological competencies to overcome this. For example, if you have certifications from Microsoft or you have strong Adobe Photoshop skills, list this (assuming it is relevant to the role).

 
If you want to take your job application to the next level, consider some up-to-date resume examples for inspiration. You can also use the ResumeHelp resume builder to update your resume template. A dated appearance will hold your resume back.


FAQ: Resume Dates

Q: Can I remove resume dates if I’m concerned about an employment gap?

No, you should still include employment dates even if you have employment gaps. You can switch to a hybrid or combination resume format if you want to present yourself and your work experience in a more persuasive way. This resume format emphasizes skills and work-related achievements without putting all the focus on steady work history but is less likely to put a recruiter off than a functional resume format.

Q: Do I need to put my date of birth on my resume?

No, you should not include your date of birth on your resume. Age is a protected class, and a potential employer does not need to know it at this point in the hiring process.

Q: How do I format dates on a resume?

You can use whatever date format you want as long as it’s consistent. However, it is important to note that it is most common to use the MM/DD/YYYY format on a U.S. resume.

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