Do You Put Your Degree Date On A Resume?

Do I or don't I add my graduation year?

Do I or don’t I add my graduation year?

At a recent networking meeting we had a lively discussion about whether job searchers should include on their résumé the year they graduated from college. The group was pretty much split down the middle. It was an important question as all the attendees were over 45.

I would like to share some points from both sides of the issue and leave it for you to decide.

Reasons for putting your graduation year: The number one reason was transparency and honesty. By including your graduation year, you are showing how open and honest you are. You don’t fear age bias and you rely on your skills and experience to prove you are qualified for the position.  

By leaving your graduation date off the résumé, you are actually calling attention to it. When the rest of the résumé contains your employment dates and your education lacks dates, there is something about it that looks odd. The reader will wonder if the applicant is too old or too young for the position.

The available technology makes it easy for anyone reading your résumé to find out how old you are.

The interviewer won’t be happy to learn they have been fooled when a person who is older than expected arrives for the interview. It leaves a bad impression when they feel they have been deceived.

Reasons against putting your graduation year: The number one reason was fighting age bias. People can be immediately disqualified for a position when the reader figures out how old the candidate is.

Along with age comes price. The older candidates cost more. This will prevent you from becoming a candidate for the position.

At , G.P.A is irrelevant and so are your major and graduation date. You have proven your capabilities by listing your experience.

The applicant just needs a chance at an interview to be able to prove their worth and dispel any misconceptions the interviewer has about older workers.

What I think: I think people should their graduation date. It creates an open and honest resume. You are how old you are. Highlight recent courses you have taken to show you are interested in learning new things. Show your accomplishments and achievements with numbers to prove how you are an excellent candidate.

So just what did we decide? Well, it ended civilly when it was declared we agreed to disagree.

What do you say? Where do you stand on this matter? Please share your thoughts on either side.        


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8 Comments to "Do You Put Your Degree Date On A Resume?"

  1. January 19, 2015 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    I’m a job search and career coach who is also a partner in an executive search firm. You should definitely not put your graduation dates on your resume. Just as a minority wouldn’t put on their resume, “member of protected class,” and just as women have used a first initial only to disguise the fact that they’re women, not including dates doesn’t make you dishonest. It’s excluding information that employers are not supposed to ask for or consider–specifically because it’s evidence of age bias.

    The only reason a CEO (or anyone else) would refuse to consider a person who omits their dates of graduation is because he’s discriminating based on age. If he’s sued for age bias by either a prospect or an employee, his policy would be cited as evidence (not proof)of age bias. “They’re trying to hide their age” would not be a good defense against such a suit.

    Yes, an experienced person can find anyone’s age on the internet, but most people are too lazy to do such a search. Some don’t know how, and others realize that doing so exposes them to age bias suits.

    When you’re evaluating strategies, tactics, or opinions, it’s not like a democratic election in which each person gets one vote that counts the same. Nor is this a question of ethics, so it behooves a job seeker to weight more heavily the opinions of those with current experience and working knowledge on all sides of the employment table, ignoring their ethics professor, other job seekers, and their neighbor’s babysitter’s uncle.

  2. G. M. Bloom's Gravatar G. M. Bloom
    January 16, 2015 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    It was a good meeting. Thank you! My takeaway from the meeting: It’s okay to omit many details from a resume’. Not only do I leave off the date of earning my BS but I don’t have dates on my older jobs. And it’s honest in the same way that I don’t include my high school, high school graduation date, or my very first (irrelevant) jobs. Even though the dates are not important, the facts that I have a BS and responsible jobs (longer than 15 years ago) are significant to my employment qualifications. My age is not a secret but it isn’t something to highlight either. Sure, leaving it off says “over 45” but I’ll take that first impression based on my resume’ now that I’m way over 45!

  3. January 16, 2015 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    I disagree – if you just got your degree – it proves you have no experience, a big reason why older job seekers – 55 – 60 and up – are often wasting time and money going for a degree (aside from short skill upgrade training) late in life. This is a problem facing many new graduates. Conversely, if you put dates on your resume it invites age bias – especially if your degrees date to the 1970s or even 80s – since most resume don’t go back further than 10 – 12 years it is harder to quickly determine an applicant’s age by recent experience. Since the ultimate goal is get an interview – make someone want to talk to you in person – anything that reduces your chances is not good. AS for transparency and honesty – there is nothing dishonest or less transparent here – and compared to the way many HR people treat applicants – especially older ones – I’m not such a bit fan of all of that anyway – IF – and only IF I get an interview wil I have chance to show them who I am – the rest is talk.
    Just sayin’

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