Job Search Answers: Should I list my graduation date?

Apr 19 2012 in Featured, reCareered Blog, Recruiters, Resumes by Phil Rosenberg

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At the end of my Resume Revolution complimentary webinars (enroll at, I open up the floor to job search questions … from you.

This was an interesting job search question asked by R.H. during a recent webinar:

“Should dates of jobs (past experience) be included or not and should graduation dates from schools be included?”

Let’s take the easy one first – Dates of jobs should always be included. Period.

Now for the more interesting question – should you list graduation dates?

The issue of graduation dates is the source of more bad advice than just about any other area of job search. Most career advisers advise excluding graduation dates to try to hide your age. This advice is naive, assuming that recruiters and HR reps won’t catch your deceit. It’s a bad idea with a high risk of backfiring on you.

Here’s 5 reasons to list your graduation date on your resume:

  1. Prevents a red flag: If you leave graduation dates off your resume, you’re not fooling anyone. Even though so many career advisers tell you to leave graduation dates off your resume, HR reps and recruiters have gotten wise to this game. Lack of a graduation date sets off a red flag to most recruiters and HR reps that you’re trying to hide something … like your age, maybe?
  2. Shows you actually graduated: The number one way candidates lie on their resume is about their education. This is one of the things recruiters and HR reps are trained to specifically find. Leaving your graduation date off causes recruiters and HR reps to be concerned – because candidates who lie about their education won’t include graduation dates, making it more difficult to catch. It’s almost impossible to confirm a candidate actually graduated, without a graduation date and degree to match against the candidate’s name.
  3. Transparency: Full disclosure on your resume gives the first impression that you tell the truth. Isn’t that the exact first impression that you want to give employers – that you’re trustworthy? Excluding your graduation date from your resume gives the impression that you’re hiding something. Is that really the impression you want to give?
  4. Social Networks: Almost 90% of employers include checking your social media profiles as a part of their background screening. One of the main reasons is to catch inconsistencies between resumes and social profiles. So if you’re going to try hiding your graduation date, you’ve a lot to hide.
  5. Even if you fool HR, you’re not fooling anybody: Let’s say you leave your graduation date off your resume, hoping recruiters and HR reps don’t catch it and offer you an interview slot. The recruiter or HR rep who recommended you for an interview was successfully tricked into believing you’re younger than you actually are, because you left off your graduation date. How are you going to fool that same individual, when you show up … live, in person?
  6. So the day of your interview you show up, with your interviewer thinking you’re a 30 year old, not a 50 year old. I don’t care if you had more plastic surgery than Joan Rivers, no matter how much Just For Men you’ve put in your hair, you’re not going to look like a 30 year old. So the first impression you’ll make in person is that you’ve deceived the HR staff into thinking you’re younger than you actually are.

    And you made this impression, because you did try to deceive HR into thinking you were much younger. Your interview and your chances ended the moment you walked through the employer’s door.

    Why waste your time?

Rather than try to hide your graduation date, why not instead focus on companies that actively look for more senior workers? See “A Simple Guide To Finding Companies That Hire Senior (40+) Employees” at .


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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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