Many job candidates who are unemployed or thinking of changing jobs is faced with creating a strong résumé that will resonate with a hiring manager and make it through an automated program to a recruiter’s desk. With still many more people looking for work than there are available jobs, having a strong résumé is essential. The two most popular résumé formats are chronological and skill-based. My favorite is a chronological format because it’s easier for a recruiter to quickly assess what you are all about and if there may be a potential fit with a company you are recruiting for.
Skill based résumé formats are often used by older workers who feel they have too much experience and are attempting to downplay their length of time in the workplace. It is also used by job applicants that have had a number of jobs and careers and who don’t want to appear as if they jumped around in their career. A better way of positioning your résumé is to just put your past 10-12 years experience on it and/or what may be relevant to the company you are applying at.
So the question many struggle with is “Should I put the year I graduated from college on my résumé?” What amazes me is that there is a major concern over “being too old” by some candidates who are in their early forties. It seems that many workers are suspect about getting prejudiced against based on their age. This is especially true of workers who are in their fifties and sixties. So, is it wise to list your graduation date on your résumé? Will your age keep you from getting an interview.
My recommendation is to list your graduation year on your résumé. Recruiters want to know when you graduated. It is part of the vetting system, but it is not because they are attempting to eliminate the older worker from the interview process. Often, it is because they want to have a clear idea of who you are and yes, how old you are. It helps recruiters better position you in a job opening and keeps the guess work out of evaluating you for a position. They need to know as much about you as possible before they present you to a hiring manager. By neglecting to list your graduation date, it may impede you ability to get an interview.
With age comes experience and many companies are hiring the most experienced candidate they can find for an open position. By not listing your graduation date, it draws more emphasis on your age. Younger workers always list their graduation date, so by not listing it you stand to be not considered for an open position because you are “afraid” to put it on your resume. Companies look for people who meet the criteria for an open position. Rarely does age make a difference if you are “current” in your skills and offer value to an organization.
Employers are looking for job candidates with current skills and knowledge, so perhaps adding more education in areas that keep you current is better than avoiding listing your last graduation year from college. If you have pertinent experience and knowledge age should not make any difference.