Life Advice

Dear Bossy #5: Should I remove my grad years from my resume because I'm older?

Dear Bossy

I am over 40. I am looking for a new job (scary), but reality. Do you think I should remove the year I graduated from college from my resume? It will definitely date me.


Elder Job Seeker


Dear Elder Job Seeker

I’ve been there, literally. And though you are older and wiser, you are also at risk of being seen as just older to prospective employers. This can hurt your chances. I do think somewhere around 40something, it makes sense to leave dates that could age you off your resume. This includes years of graduating as well as saying something like “I have 30 years of experiences in…”

This may be the time to switch to a functional resume instead of a chronological resume. Functional resumes highlight skills and experiences, but not chronological jobs. I would suggest this type of resume if you are switching fields or looking to make some sort of transition. If you are staying solidly in the same field and your work history and places of employment and titles are relevant, then you could just focus on that last 10-15 years of jobs, not your entire life history.

A resume isn’t meant to be every job, it is meant to show you in the best possible light to prospective employers (and screening computer programs), so focus on relevant skills and experiences and don’t list everything you’ve ever done.

One caveat - those pesky applicant tracking systems will make you put a date (including year) for everything, so even if you leave it off your resume, it is likely going to be listed somewhere.

Remember - you have years of experience, so be proud and confident that you are a seasoned expert and the right next job will be one that values that experience.

Good luck!


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