While your graduation date may seem like a basic part of your resume, you aren't actually required, or expected, to include it in your education section. In fact, omitting your graduation date may be a smart move, increasing your chances of being evaluated based on what truly matters: your skills and relevant experience.
Why Remove Your Graduation Date?
A fairly recent graduation date may be glazed over when hiring managers are reviewing your resume, but the further back the date goes, the more likely readers are to consider you out of touch with the times or less capable due to your age. Age discrimination in the professional world may be illegal, but that doesn't stop potential employers from subconsciously gravitating toward younger candidates.
Omitting your graduation date takes some of the focus off your age to allow potential employers to concentrate on what matters. While it's true some hiring managers may look past dates and judge you based on the rest of your resume, this is a risk that may not be worth taking.
When to Take Out the Graduation Date?
Jaclyn Westlake, a resume writer and career advisor writing for The Muse, recommends keeping your graduation date on your resume for no more than 10 to 15 years post graduation. You may also want to take out some of your earliest work experience if it's more than a decade old. Many hiring managers view such experience as outdated.
Although you can begin omitting your graduation date at any point in your career, you should include the date if you're a recent graduate as it can help explain a lack of previous work experience. Another reason to keep the date would be if you look younger than your true age and don't want recruiters to assume you lack experience based on your appearance. Age discrimination can go both ways.
What Information Should You Keep on Your Resume?
Whether or not you decide to remove the date, be sure to include the type of degree, the school you attended and the subjects studied. You may also want to include your GPA if it helps your cause. However, leave more room in your resume for your work experience as this is what a majority of recruiters want to see most. Ensure your resume doesn't pass two or three pages, and double-check it for grammar and readability.
A few things you may want to omit from your resume, aside from your graduation date, include filler words, more than one telephone number, technical skills for basic programs like Microsoft Word, and the outdated objective statement.
In the end, keeping or throwing out your graduation date in your resume is a personal choice. Although this choice may sway some opinions, if your skills and experience make you shine, no one should pay too much attention to the dates.
Photo courtesy of texty cafe at Flickr.com