A resume is a summary of your educational and professional experiences.
A large part of formatting these experiences on a resume is including the dates that they occurred.
The question we need to answer with a resume is not only “when?”, but also “for how long?”. How can we answer both of these questions in a clear and professional resume?
How do you write dates on a resume?
When putting dates on a resume, the formatting depends on which section you are writing. For the education section, writing only the year is sufficient. For the experience section, both month and year should be included. For awards or achievements, typically only the year is included.
For experiences that occurred during one season, such as during a summer holiday, it is appropriate to list the season beside the year.
How to write dates in the education section of a resume
If you have less than ten years of working experience, then it is recommended to include dates in the education section.
When formatting the dates, include only the year you begun and the year you completed your education. When listed correctly, it should look like this:
Boston University Boston, Massachusetts
Bachelor of Science, Major in Biology, Minor in Human Development (20XX-20XX)
If your resume includes a lot of relevant job experience and working history, then it is not necessary to list the specific dates.
How to write dates in the experience section of a resume
The experience section is where job histories should be written, and these should always include dates.
Employers want to know how long you had worked at previous jobs, as this can show dedication and loyalty to a company.
It also shows just how much experience you have in a certain field.
Be careful when listing short-term jobs, as employers will see the start and end dates which could reflect poorly on a potential employee.
Dates in this section should be listed with a month and year.
Never include the day you begun or finished employment, as this is unnecessary information that clutters a resume. When listed correctly, dates should look like this:
ABC Construction Company (January 20xx) – (March 20xx)
- Managed a team of thirty employees
- Oversaw job training for new employees, and bi-annual skills management courses for existing employees
- Scheduled employees as needed to give quotes and accurately assess new projects
If you are still employed at this job, your date would be (January 20xx) – (Present). Do not write today’s date as the latter, because that makes it look like you are no longer employed with this company.
How to list dates in the awards or achievements section of a resume
For new graduates, resumes will typically include an awards or achievements section which contain school or club related achievements.
While it is not necessary to include dates on these achievements, it can help a section look complete and impressive.
Being able to see that you accomplished something every year of your education can make you look consistent! Typically, only the year is included in this section. When formatted, it should look like this:
- Walter Andrews Women in Economics Scholarship (20xx)
- Women’s Varsity Basketball – State Silver Champion (20xx)
Should you list the season beside the date on a resume?
There are a few instances where it may be better to list the season on your resume instead of the month.
These are usually in educational instances in the US where semesters are separated by season. For example, when listing a Dean’s List achievement:
- Dean’s List – 2 Semesters (Summer and Fall 20xx)
Other common experiences for new graduates are summer programs such as job shadowing or internships.
In the case of short-term experiences like these, it can be best to list the season instead of start and end dates which are very close together. This could be formatted like this:
Buffalo State Hospital – Buffalo, NY – Summer 20xx
- Participated in a summer internship shadowing the lead pediatrician at Buffalo State Hospital for five hours a day, five days per week.
- Reviewed notes and case studies alongside a doctor and assisted in the distribution and labeling of patient charts.
Should you ever list the day on a resume?
There are very few circumstances which require listing the day on a resume.
The only instances which require a day in addition to the month and year are for professional licenses, or if the company specifically asks for a certain date in their job listing.
Special cases such as listing an invention you have patented would require you to write the exact date the patent was approved.
This is to help an employer search for your patent online and validate the information.
While not required, some companies ask for the exact date of a license. These can be licenses to operate certain machinery, or teaching licenses.
If a company asks specifically for the date, include the day, month, and year. If a company does not specifically ask for this information, the month and year will suffice.
Do you need to list dates on a resume?
According to the Age Discrimination (Act 29 USC §621) in the United States, it is illegal for employers to discriminate based on a person’s age.
Because of this act, employers are not allowed to ask questions such as how old you are, when you graduated university, etc.
While newer graduates are encouraged to write their date of graduation (as this would explain why their work history is shorter), more experienced professionals tend to leave off the date of graduation.
This is because it is often easy for an employer to work out someone’s age based on these dates. Some employers prefer to hire younger help, as they will typically accept lower wages.
By leaving off the dates, it gives all potential employees an equal chance based on their written experience.
Check out the Department of Labor’s website for more information about age discrimination laws.
Some people prefer to write the month as a number, and others as a full word. This could be written as “12” or as “December”.
Either way is appropriate on a resume when listing dates.
Never write the month as an abbreviation, such as “Dec”, because abbreviations look unprofessional on a resume.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.