How hard can it be to list dates with your work experience on your resume? Depending on how you format your dates of employment, it can mean the difference between appearing like a candidate who can perform with a consistent work history, and a candidate that is a risk due to a history of frequent job change or too many gaps in employment. Related: 5 Tips For Formatting Your Resume For Easy Reading Follow these tips as you prepare and review your resume:
ConsistencyRegardless of the format you choose to list your dates of employment, remain consistent. If you switch between listing the month and the year and then only listing the year for another period of employment, it will stand out and bring question to whether there's something you're trying to hide.
Year OnlyMost hiring managers prefer having the details – the month and year – but if you choose to only list the year, you can probably still get by. Just be prepared to address the question of how long you were employed with the employer. If you were employed nine months and you indicated 2012-2013, it's not that big of a deal and it can actually play in your favor to show a lengthier work history. If employment was only for one month, you have to ask should you even include the experience. The hiring manager will likely be ticked that you tried to make it come off like a year.
Historical DatesListing dates that go way back in time can go against you. Most employers only find the last 10-15 years of employment of interest. Going back further than that dates you. Remember, it's also unnecessary to list the year you graduated next to your degree. Don't give off your age even if there is no concern for age discrimination.
Applicant Tracking SystemsMore resumes are being filtered through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) today. If you want your work history progression to be read properly, include dates next to every job title, including the ones resulting from a promotion from the same employer. The dates help the ATS detect job titles, so you also want to avoid including dates with your description of achievements. Other things to keep in mind is the ATS doesn't know to associate seasons as a period of work, like Summer 2013. It does recognize words like “Current" and “Present" to stand as employment you currently hold though. As simple as it may seem to include dates associated with employment, it's also important to understand how you can use it to play in your favor as well as how technology like the ATS reads it on resumes.
Related PostsHow Far Back Should Your Resume Go? Is Your Resume A Career Obituary? How To List Temporary Work On Your Resume Effectively
About the authorDon Goodman's firm was rated as the #1 Resume Writing Service in 2013 & 2014. Don is a triple-certified, nationally recognized Expert Resume Writer, Career Management Coach and Job Search Strategist who has helped thousands of people secure their next job. Check out his Resume Writing Service. Get a Free Resume Evaluation or call him at 800.909.0109 for more information. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert.
I recently came across a resume that listed a summer cashier position in 1976 as part of a person’s “professional experience.” RELATED: Need to write a resume? Watch these tutorials! While it may seem a little strange or ridiculous to include an irrelevant position from over 25 years ago, I can tell you it’s actually not that uncommon to come across something like this. A lot of people think they literally need to include everything they’ve ever been involved with on their resumes, and I can assure you not only do you not have to follow suit, you also don’t really need to go back any longer than 10 years. The main goal of your resume should be to impress the reader with the specific qualifications and experiences that make you fit to be hired for a desired position. That being said, the reader is most interested in what you have done recently, not in what you did over 10 years ago. The bulk of your resume should be devoted to the last few years of your working history – this is what potential employers want to know about. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably held a number of jobs over time if you include the part-time and casual positions. If you wrote a little bit about each one of these, your resume would probably near the four page mark in experience alone. Considering it shouldn’t be longer than two pages, this is far from ideal. When it comes to listing your professional experiences, stick to the most recent and relevant positions. There is no need to include everything, and writing about too much will sometimes blur your positions together and detract from your real qualifications. Unless you’ve held the same position for over 10 years, there is really no reason to go back any longer than this, and employers don’t even expect to go back that far on your resume anyway. If you do have quite an extensive work history of relevant positions, focus on the most recent ones and then simply list the earlier positions under a new category for “previous or other employment.” Just remember there is such a thing as “too much” on a resume. Focus on what the hiring manager wants to see, not on how much information you can cram onto it.