Dates of Employment on a Resume


This posting is a guest entry from the Career Doctor, Randall S. Hansen, PhD: Amy writes: I am writing my first resume and I am using your web site for information in doing so. I have 7 years of experience and 3 employers on this resume. I was at my first job 5 years and had 3 positions while I was there. I know my whole date of employment with that employer, but I don’t know the exact dates that I went from 1 position to another. I only have estimated dates. How do I put estimated dates on a resume? I have been looking at sample resumes, and I haven’t seen any with my situation. All of this will make my resume about 1.5 pages. Is that too long? I tried to cram it on 1 page, but the only way was to crowd it and put the type as small as 9 pt., and it was hard too read at 9 pt. Please give me your feedback.
The Career Doctor responds: First, kudos for thinking ahead and perfecting your resume before you jump back into the job market. A resume of more than one page is fine for someone with seven years of experience. A one-page resume that uses non-existent page margins or tiny type will just not get read. As for content… First, remember that it’s perfectly fine to develop a generalized resume, but once you identify prospective jobs and employers, you’ll want to customize your resume using the employer’s words and highlighting the experience they seek. In terms of describing your experience with your first you have two choices. In the first approach, you list all three positions within the same company, using the company as an umbrella. In the second approach, which is favored by my partner Katharine Hansen, you list each job separately, which gives more weight to each position. I also tend to favor the second approach. And if you are unsure of your dates or exactly how to list them, contact the human resources department of the company, thus the dates on your resume will match their records in case a prospective employer calls to check. Finally, some general resume rules to remember:
  • Customize your resume to each position and employer.
  • Focus on accomplishments, not duties.
  • Design an attractive resume using normal fonts, sizes, and page margins.
  • Provide as much contact information (phone, cell, e-mail) as possible.
  • Avoid all errors, especially misspellings and typos.
  • Keep your resume factual.
  • Never include salary information, supervisor’s names, or references on your resume.
For more tips on resume-writing, including samples, go to this section of Quintessential Careers: Resume and CV Resources for Job-Seekers.