Anyone working in HR or recruiting probably has great stories and experiences they’ve encountered throughout their career. Whether it involves employees or employers, there is very little that will surprise us. But every now and again we hear something and we are dumbfounded! Just when we think we’ve seen it all, something will make us scratch our heads and respond with a “Wait – what happened??!”.
Recently I received a resume for an open position and there were no dates on there. Not one. Their experience looked good so I gave them a call and asked why they didn’t put dates of employment on their resume. The response left me in awe; they were working with a career center and they were advised it was better NOT put dates on their resume. There was a bit of silence after he said that because I was literally speechless and felt terrible for this person. They had been struggling to find a position and when he sought advice through a career center that is what he got! In my time as a recruiter never have I worked with a manager who didn’t look at employment dates. After I was able to gather my thoughts we spoke in detail about why dates are important. Sadly this person was not the first and will not be the last to receive poor advice like this.
Despite what you have been told, here are two important explanations why managers want to see dates on resumes.
If a manager is looking for a long-term employee (whether it be contract to hire or direct hire), they want to look at a person’s history. They will look for how long a candidate has stayed at each position, if they progressed and how quickly they were promoted, patterns in work history, etc. All of these are questions a manager needs answered that can’t be if there are no dates on the resume.
If a company is hiring and looking for a specific skill set, it’s important for them to see how much experience a candidate has in that role. Let’s say a manager is looking for a Test Technician with 5+ years’ experience. On your resume it says you were a Test Tech in your last role and previously were an assembler in two other companies. If there are no dates the manager has no idea how long you were a Test Tech. It could be 2 months or 10 years, but I would guess that manager will skip over your resume because of that missing data.
As a recruiter, I know that a hiring manager will not look at a resume without dates of employment. If one is sent to them without them they will think the candidate is trying to hide something. So please keep this in mind the next time you update your resume or are given this advice. Leaving dates off your resume will not help in your job search. Give us a call and talk to a recruiter, we can help!