Dates of Employment on a Resume

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 one 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 one 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.


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