Dates on Resume: How to Format, Templates & Tips

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Sep 8, 2022 7 min read

Your resume is a summary of who you are professionally.

It represents your work experience and your education, as well as any other relevant information about you.

A very important aspect of formatting your resume is including the dates that they occurred.

Not only because of the “When?”, but also because of the “How long?”.

And that’s a really significant part of getting the job you want.

It may seem difficult, but we’ve got you covered.

In this article, we will cover some important topics like:

  • Should you include dates on a resume?
  • How to Align and Format Dates on a Resume?
  • Where to List Dates on a Resume?

And we will finish off with some templates that you can use to perfect your resume.

If the dates on your resume are not the only thing that bothers you, we can help you Make Your Resume Stand Out.

But nevertheless, you need to include the dates in your resume.

So let’s dive in.

Should you include dates on a resume?

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The short answer is yes.

And here is why.

Dates on your resume can really help your potential employer understand your resume better.

For example, if you don't have much work experience, the dates in your Education Section can show that the reason is your recent graduation.

Furthermore, the dates in your Work Experience Section can show if you are qualified enough for the job.

The same applies to the Certifications on your resume.

No matter what the dates are for, the employer will learn more about you through them.

And that works in your favor.

Where To Put Dates On Resume?

Okay, now understand the importance of dates on your resume.

It’s time to figure out where to include them correctly.

There are a few different sections you need to consider when listing dates.

Just to have everything covered, we will go through all of them one by one.

In Work Experience Section

The first one is a must.

Your Work Experience Section should absolutely contain your dates of employment.

Your potential employer needs to know how long you have worked at your previous positions.

This can show them your dedication and loyalty to a company.

Furthermore, it shows your expertise in your field.

That raises the question - what should I do with my short-term previous jobs?

That is a tricky one.

If you think your dates of employment can have a negative influence on your resume, you need to consider leaving out this job position altogether.

But if you think your accomplishments or skills gained while working there are crucial to your resume, you might want to include it, despite the short time you spend on the position.

All in all, if you list a position in your Work Experience Section, you can’t omit the date.

So make sure that position works in your favor.

In Education Section

This is a tricky one.

The importance of dates in your Education Section depends largely on your work experience.

If your work history is shorter than 5 years, the dates in your Education Section are a must.

If you are a recent graduate, you would want to show that to your potential employer using dates for your education.

The same applies if you took some additional training.

You would want to make it clear at which moments you studied, so that it does not get mistaken for work history gaps.

If you have the proper listings in your Education Section, you can explain why you don't have much work experience in a particular area.

In Awards or Certifications Section

For your Awards Section or your Certifications apply pretty much the same rules as for your Education Section.

It is good to add dates in these sections, especially if you have graduated recently and don't have much work experience.

It is not mandatory to include dates in these sections, but it makes the resume look more complete and impressive.

How Old is Too Old for Resume Dates?

That’s not an easy question as well.

It depends on a variety of factors that you need to consider.

The most important factors you need to take into account are:

  • The required qualifications
  • The industry you are in
  • The years of work experience you have

Using all these factors can determine how far back you can go on your resume.

In general, the perfect way to go is to go back 10-15 years.

That includes both your Education and your Work Experience.

There are some exceptions, of course.

If you have a relevant work position that dates back further in the past, you can do it.

Just make sure that it gave you valuable experience and skills that would work in your favor.

On the other hand, if you shifted careers, it would be better to include only jobs you did in that field, even if it dates closer to present time.

After all, the most important thing about your resume is to make it relevant.

Why You Shouldn’t Lie About Dates on a Resume

You might think that a little lie could never hurt.

That could be true, if your lie is really a little one.

But often that is not the case.

Being honest on your resume can get you a lot further than fabricating your education or work history in any way.

Your potential employer may overlook some small lies on your resume, but that could hurt your job satisfaction or even your career in the long run.

Furthermore, hiring managers are trained to spot potential lies on your resume.

And the truth coming to pass is just one phone call away.

And even one little lie can potentially cost your job.

Now it is easier than ever for hiring managers to find out if you are lying about something.

Through LinkedIn it would take them just a couple of minutes to check if your background information is all correct.

If you have some work history gaps or any unusual circumstances in your resume, you should address them in your cover letter rather than in your resume.

All in all, be honest or it may cost you your career.

Should you List the Month on a Resume?

The short answer - it all depends.

There are different rules for the different sections of your resume.

When it comes to your Work Experience Section it is recommended that you use both month and year to describe the dates of your employment.

If you don’t include the months in this section, the hiring manager might get suspicious of your work history.

Especially if you have the same year for the start and end date of employment.

For the Education Section there are instances that the months might not be needed though.

If you have plenty of work experience, your potential employer would not be really interested in your graduation dates.

But if you don't have much work experience, you should seriously consider including months in the dates.

And when it comes to your Awards and Certifications, it may be better for you to add both month and year, so that your resume would look more complete and impressive.

Should you List the Day on a Resume?

In general, the answer to this question would be no.

But there are also a few special circumstances that require you to list the day as well.

The main cases when this occurs are when your potential employer requires it for your:

  • Professional licenses (for heavy machinery, teaching, etc.)
  • A patent for your invention

If the job listing says that you need to specify the day of some dates, you need to do so.

In any other case, you don’t, and probably shouldn’t, include the day in the dates on your resume.

Templates for Dates on resume

As promised, we are not going to leave you without showing you how to do your dates right.

We are going to show you how you should structure the main 3 sections that use dates on your resume.

In Work Experience Section

[Company Name]: [Start month and year - End month and year]


[Job Position]

In Education Section

If you are a recent graduate, you would want to use this template:

[Company Name]: [Start month and year - End month and year]


[Degree earned]

But if you have years of work experience behind you, you can stick to the more basic:

[Company Name]: [Start year - End year]


[Degree earned]

In Awards or Certifications Section

[Title of certification or award]: [Month and year you received it]

Takeaways: How many bullet points per job on a resume?

We are all done.

Now you know how to use the dates on your resume correctly

You are now ready to start listing your work experience, education and certifications in an easy-to-understand way for the hiring managers.

Take your time and think about the periods you include in your resume and how they might make you look

Don’t forget to be honest on your resume, as it will get you further than you think.

Keep our templates in mind and make your section perfect for the job you seek.

Make your move!
Your resume is an extension of yourself.
Make one that's truly you.
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Kal Dimitrov
Kaloyan Dimitrov is a resume expert and content manager at Enhancv. He frequently publishes blog posts around resume writing, cover letters & job applications, and authors more than 500 publications on the site. Kaloyan also runs a Career Accelerator Bootcamp for young graduates where he applies his practical knowledge of job applications and writing resumes and educates people on how to present their best selves in front of business representatives. His opinions on resume writing and career development have been featured in Chron., as well as cited by top universities such as Simon Fraser University and UCL.
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