Dates are essential for your resume. They help hiring managers and recruiters form a clear picture of your career trajectory. Hiring managers depend on dates to provide a timeline of your career, education, and skill advancement.

Properly formatting the dates on your resume for consistency and readability can keep your resume from falling through the cracks.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • How to write dates on your resume.
  • Where to add dates to your resume.

You’ll also find examples of how to format your resume dates to create a good-looking resume that stands out.

How do you write dates on your resume?

The primary date arrangement on your resume should be month/year in one of two formats.

  • MM/YYYY (03/2022)
  • Month Year (January 2022 or Jan 2022)

Avoid writing resume dates in the following formats:

  • Day, month, then year
  • Year only
  • Mixed formats

Stick to a single date format throughout the entire resume for consistency and readability.

Do dates on your resume affect the ATS?

The ATS is the database that stores your resume once you apply for a job. It parses your resume for keywords and helps your resume rise to the top of the pile if it contains the keywords the hiring manager is searching for.

Your resume could be perfect, but if the dates are not properly formatted, the ATS won’t parse your resume correctly.

Use Jobscan’s resume scanner before applying for jobs to ensure your resume is optimized and your date formats are correct and consistent.

If the dates on your resume aren’t compatible with the ATS after running your resume through the scanner, you’ll see the following notice on your report.

Jobscan resume scanner report about dates incorrectly formatted

Where to put dates on resume

Dates are listed in most resume sections, making them all the more critical for the ATS. You’ll find dates in the:

  • Work experience section
  • Certification section
  • Education section
  • Professional memberships section
  • Volunteer section

How to format dates in your resume work experience section

When most people think of dates on their resume, the mind immediately jumps to work experience. Including the start and end dates at your former jobs gives hiring managers a sense of your job timeline, including how long you tend to stay in a role. 

What is the best resume date format?

Right alignment for your resume date format can take advantage of white space. The examples below illustrate the options for formatting the dates.

Resume work experience dates aligned to the right
Resume work experience in abbreviated month year format

You can maintain left alignment to keep your dates close to your former roles and the organization you worked for. Below are some examples.

Resume work experience left aligned full month year
Resume work experience with new line in MM/YYYY format

How to format dates in your resume certification section

Certifications can illustrate skill development and specialization, but it’s helpful to the hiring manager to know when you obtained your certification. 

You can add the year you received your certification in a single line, like in the example below.

Resume certification with year format

If you prefer right alignment, see the examples below to add to your resume date formatting.

Resume certification section with right aligned month year format
Resume certification format from Jobscan resume builder

Additionally, if your certification has an expiration date, you should also add that information. Formatting can look like the example below. 

Resume certification section with expiry date

How to format dates in your resume education section

If you’re a new graduate without experience, adding your graduation date to your resume can help the hiring manager gauge your knowledge and skills. 

However, putting your graduation date on your resume isn’t always a good idea, according to recent advice.

One thing that most experts acknowledge is that a graduation year can contribute to ageism. Recruiters and hiring managers can determine your age from your graduation year. That detail may unconsciously influence their hiring decisions. 

Regardless of whether you choose to add your graduation date or not, here are some ways to format the dates.

One method is to add your graduation year aligned to the right or left alignment.

Resume education section with a right aligned date format
Resume education section with left alignment

If you want to add more detail, this resume example created by Jobscan’s premium Power Edit tool includes the start and end period of education.

Resume education section with a start and end date

For multiple degrees, always place the most advanced degree first. This resume lists the Master’s degree before the Bachelor’s, and adds the completion year on a separate line.

Resume education section with year date format in a new line

Resume date format for joining a professional organization

If your job requires you to be a part of a professional organization or association, you can highlight your membership with a dedicated section.

One method to illustrate your membership status is by indicating the date range, like in the example below.

Resume professional association membership one line

Another option is to include that you’re an active member, and the year you joined the association. This example shows how that can look on your resume.

Resume professional assoications date format with new line

How to format dates for your resume volunteer positions

Volunteer positions can tell the hiring manager about your non-work experience. Experience as a volunteer can benefit your resume if:

  • You have gaps in your resume you can explain with volunteer work.
  • You don’t have a lot of work experience to highlight on your resume.
  • You want to show off skills you honed in your volunteer role.
  • You are making a career transition and the volunteer work is relevant.

Dates can help indicate how long you stayed with an organization and whether you’re still a volunteer. This can eliminate confusion the hiring manager has about your current roles.

Volunteer resume sections look similar to work experience, and the format should be consistent with the rest of your resume. In these examples, the resume date format follows best practices for ATS readability.

Resume volunteer experience section with date in a new line
Resume volunteer experience section with date right aligned

How to include current or ongoing dates on your resume

When you have a certification or degree in progress, you can still include it in your resume! You just have to communicate it to the hiring manager to eliminate confusion about your skills and qualifications.

In this example, this applicant is including a CPR certification and adds the expected completion date for the reader to know.  

Resume certification section with in-progress date format

If your degree is in-progress, explicitly state that you’re still in school and have yet to complete your program. In this example, the first thing you read is that the applicant hasn’t finished school, but is on track to graduate by a certain time.

Resume education section with in-progress date format

Remember to run your resume through Jobscan’s resume scanner to ensure it’s ATS-friendly.

FAQs

How to align dates on a resume?

You can align the dates on your resume to the right or left. Both are acceptable and readable by the ATS. However, keeping a consistent style throughout the document is essential. 

What if you’re young and have resume gaps?

Young job seekers and new grads often gravitate towards the functional resume format. It emphasizes skills over work experience, but hiring managers don’t like this format because it can hide dates and gaps in your resume. 

If you have a lackluster work experience section or have gaps in your professional career, it’s explainable by:

  • The dates of your education
  • Certifications, volunteer experience, and education dates

You can always delve deeper into the gaps in your cover letter

Which date format is best for CV?

A resume and CV, or curriculum vitae, are different documents. A CV is often longer and more comprehensive for academic purposes. 

Academic committees don’t focus on dates but on:

  • Education
  • Teaching positions
  • Academic accomplishments
  • Publications
  • Presentations
  • Grants
  • Fellowships
  • Professional association memberships

Add dates to these achievements with a Month Day, Year format (e.g., June 1, 2021) or Month Year (e.g., June 2021).

What is the date format for a job application?

There are 2 acceptable formats for the ATS to read:

  • MM/YYYY (03/2022)
  • Month Year ( January 2022 or Jan 2022)

Maintain consistent formatting throughout your resume, including alignment, bolding, and italicizing.

Is it OK not to include dates on your resume?

You shouldn’t leave out dates in your resume work experience section. If you’re including the role, you should add the date. 

You can combat ageism by removing certain clues from your resume. Your resume education section date can point to your age. If your degree is older, hiring managers may consciously or unconsciously assume your age and make hiring decisions based on their perception. 

You don’t have to include your degree in your resume education section if your degree isn’t recent and you think it will affect you negatively in your job search.

Additional resources

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Kelsey Purcell

Kelsey is a Content Writer with a background in content creation, bouncing between industries to educate readers everywhere.

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