Date: Month and Year or just Year?

When I first started looking for a job, I heard that I should simply include the years for each job without the month. The thinking was two-fold:

1) Too much detail is not a good thing. Only give as much as is required. Your resume is as much a tool to exclude you as it is a tool to get you an interview. It is a two-edged sword. Give the recruiter and hiring manager fewer reasons to toss your resume.

2) In today’s working world, it is not unusual to have a job last only 2 – 3 years. Then, it is not unusual to take a few months to find that next job. By only including the year, you obscure a 4 or 5 month gap in employment.

Anyone see a problem here? Eventually you will need to “come clean.” Most companies  will require a detailed accounting of your work history for the past several years. That is part of the application process as you sit in the lobby waiting for your interview.

Of course, the thinking is that you will either make or break your chances of getting hired in the interview. Therefore, you want to remove as many barriers between sending in the resume and scoring the interview as possible. The purpose of the resume is to get you the interview. The purpose of the interview is to get you the job. You should maximize the effectiveness of each tool for each step in the hiring  process.

Still, I have always thought that obscuring information just makes you look like you have something to hide. One of the responsibilities of recruiters is to protect the company from candidates who are not what they appear to be. Therefore, I was relieved a few weeks ago when I heard a job hunting coach encourage the audience to include both the month and year for each job on their  resume.

Besides, your LinkedIn profile has the month and year listed for each job. Do you really think that the recruiter is not going to look at your LinkedIn profile? I mean, LinkedIn even does the math for them. They don’t have to figure out how many years and months your were on each job. LinkedIn tells them.

And finally, on some job boards, the software takes your resume and fills in your profile. If you only include the year for each job, the default month is January. Your profile shows you starting and ending each job in January. You are either obsessive compulsive about only starting a job in January or you are not showing much attention to detail….and  “attention to detail” is listed on an awful lot of job descriptions.

For me, adding the months for each job makes more sense.


James Snider
Global Business Development and Social Media Marketing
Anyone can give you social media.  I make sure it’s marketing.

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About jamessnider

James Snider is the Vice President of Business Development for Engstrom Trading, LLC. Engstrom imports products from Scandinavian countries and builds a market for them in the USA and Canada. View all posts by jamessnider

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