Sunday, October 17, 2010

Should you put a graduation date on a resume?

Although I gear Ask an Advisor toward current first generation and low income college students, I know future college students and graduates are among my dear readers. This one is for the recent first generation college graduates out there... A reader writes:
"Do I have to put my graduation date on my resume? I dislike putting it because then they'll think I am a recent graduate and don't have the years of experience. I didn't do the tradition path of school then work."
You are not the only one that "didn't do the tradition path of school then work" out there. First generation and low income college students are more likely to start college later and work full-time while in school, so many first generation college graduates will find themselves in this same boat.

So, if you are concerned about assumptions a potential employer might make about you as a recent graduate (or working student), I'd suggest putting your education after experience on your resume. This works really well when you have a relevant working history.

However, you should always include your graduation date at this point. If you don't, employers tend to assume things like you are significantly, significantly older or you didn't graduate. If you are a current student, you should include your expected graduation date, with the word "Anticipated" or "Expected" in front of it. Don't worry if you're not sure, just put your best guess and update it as things change.

Typically, after you have been out of school for 10 or more years you could remove your graduation date without these types of assumptions being a concern.

Got questions? Please feel free to ask The Advisor about it.

7 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. Asking for a date of graduation seems to be akin to asking for your age or date of birth. Smacks of ageism.

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    1. Including your graduation date is a pretty typical professional convention, so people make assumptions when you don't include it unless it is clear that you have a solid working history beyond your education.

      In the legal sense, in the US anyway, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act only prohibits employment discrimination against anyone 40 or older. By that age, it is also convention that you leave your graduation date off your resume and list your experience before your education anyway, so your graduation date on its own is unlikely to make you a target for ageism.

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    2. So what you are saying is, put the graduation date if under 40, but leave it off if over, as this is typical and convention...? Like anonymous said, seems akin to asking for for your age or date of birth.

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    3. Kevin, it's not your age that should determine whether or not you should list your degree date. Rather, if you have substantial experience, it can be left off. Or, if you have a new degree, especially in an area which values it, you want to list the date. Convention is to leave your graduation date off after 10 years or so, so if you are a traditional-aged student, it would come off before you were 40 anyway.

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  3. I have recently returned to college and am graduating this June however the last time I attend college was in 2005. What start date do I put on my resume

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    1. You do NOT need to list your start date at all for education! it is common just to list when you finished a degree :-)

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