Proper Display of Promotions and Employment Dates on a Resume

February 13th, 2011 § 2 comments

Seemingly small errors and omissions on a candidate’s resume can have disastrous affects during the interview process. Today’s question addresses the specifics of listing title and employment dates for each employer on a resume:

I have been at my current job for a few years. In that time, I have worked my way up to program manager after starting as an entry-level assistant. How do I format my resume, when the time comes, to indicate that not all of my experience at this company has been in a managerial role? It would be misleading to put ABC Company, 2007-2010: Program Manager.

Dates of employment are an area where candidates tend to take a little more leeway than in other components of their resume. Whether not including months in addition to years when referencing full time roles or including only certain titles as part of one company, any ambiguity can lead to an uncomfortable false assumption during the interview process.

Include the month and year you were employed on your resume.

All resumes should include months and years of employment along with firm name and title. What reason is there not to? Experienced recruiters know that when information is sparse or vague, it usually means a candidate is trying to cleverly hide something. If your employment is continuous, there’s no reason to not include the month – its absence leads one to assume you are trying to conceal a gap where you weren’t working.

While you may not ever have to reveal such specifics during the hiring process, inadvertent discovery of a large gap in employment is embarrassing and will certainly harm your case. It’s better to be upfront and honest, particularly if there are no terminations for cause in your work history.

Provide specifics regarding promotions, advancements and title changes.

Promotions are recognitions of hard work and accomplishments that should be highlighted when interviewing for a new opportunity. Properly referencing title changes and increasing responsibility on your resume are signs of dedication and quality – areas to highlight. Many candidates mistakenly list only the position they ascended to with their most recent employer, and leave out the role they were hired for and any subsequent promotions. This can lead to odd progressions in the context of your whole resume. Consider this example:

ABC CPA Firm, New York, NY                        1/07 – Present
Senior Manager, Tax

LLC CPA Firm, New York, NY                        1/06 – 12/06
Staff, Financial Services & Corporate Tax

This resume example makes the candidate appear to have risen from an entry-level staffer to a Senior Manager with one job change. It makes one question how that’s possible – is the new firm quite small, perhaps a sole proprietorship? Is the title inflated and unverifiable? Don’t allow for the possibility that your consistent advancement and promotion could be misinterpreted. Here is the proper way to relate this career progression:

ABC CPA Firm, New York, NY                        1/07 – Present
Senior Manager, Tax                                                  1/11 – Present
Manager, Tax                                                                6/08 – 12/10
Senior Staff, Tax                                                           1/07 – 5/08

LLC CPA Firm, New York, NY                         1/04 – 12/06
Staff 2, Corporate Tax                                                1/05 – 12/06
Staff 1, Financial Services Tax                                1/04 – 12/04

Be specific in showing your titles and the length of time you’ve held each role. For recruiters who see hundreds of similar resumes, this bit of information tells a story that can help you to stand out from other applicants. The modified resume example shows a candidate that displays the fast-track career of a talented public accountant. By providing the detail of positions held within each employer instead of a Reader’s Digest compression of each job, you increase your visibility as a candidate.

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