Do I HAVE to Put Graduation Dates on My Resume?

Dates on your resume definitely point to how old you are. So, should you list your graduation dates if they make you look too old for the job you want? That’s what Jim wanted to know when he emailed us the following question. Keep reading to see Yana Parker‘s answer.

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Resume Question: Graduation Dates and Age on a Resume

Dear Yana,
Should people list on their resumes the dates they graduated from high school and/or college, or is it OK not to? And similarly, is it OK not to reveal one’s age on a resume?

Thanks,
Jim

Hello Jim,
Keep in mind that your resume is YOUR document. There is no law about what you can or can’t do on it. (Except you can’t LIE. If you do, it’s grounds for getting fired, later.) So, list your graduation date IF it works for you to do so, and DON’T list it when it’s not to your advantage to list it.

For example, if you have a recent degree in IT, list the date of graduation if you’re looking for a tech job. That recent degree shows that you’re current in your field. But, if you got your tech degree in 1968, don’t list the date because it makes your education seem out-of-date.

Also, if your graduation date tips people off that you’re old enough to be the target of age discrimination (either too young or too old) then leave the date off. If your graduation date suggests an age that’s desirable in your new field, then DO list it. For example, suppose your age is 58 AND you’ve JUST graduated from college 3 years ago. It probably would be to your advantage to list the graduation date.

Bottom line: Do what works to your advantage, without creating any overt deception. People will try to figure out your age from the dates you list, which is why you have to either HELP them figure it out or AVOID helping them figure it out, depending on what works for YOU. You deserve to get in there for an interview before someone makes a judgment about you, based on their prejudice about age.

Good luck with your job search, Jim!
Yana