I am trying to cut out all the unnecessary decorations on my resume and make it as minimalist as possible to give more weight to the skills and experience. One of the considered line items within that initiative was to knock out the months from the employment ranges and leave only years.

E.g. before

Company X
Mar 2008-Nov 2011

Now becomes

Company X
2008-2011

I wonder if this is a good idea.

OUTCOME: As a result of many good rationales in favor of keeping the months, I have decided to do so. Thanks to all responders.

  • I do it only for things further in the past (say more then 7 years). That way I leave out information that is no longer very relevant. – Jan Doggen Mar 20 '13 at 7:35
  • If you worked late December 2008 to early January 2011, it's just slightly over 2 years experience. If you worked January 1 2008 to December 31 2011, it's 4 years. That's a difference of almost 2 years. Based on how this monthless range is interpreted, your estimated (because they don't know for sure since you didn't give the months) experience could be doubled or halved! I would include the months, unless the range is so large (maybe if it's > 12 years) that a difference of +/- 2 years is almost negligible. – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Mar 20 '13 at 14:08
  • 1
    Knocking out the months is going to make some people think you are trying to hide an unemployment gap. It probably is not a good idea. – HLGEM Mar 20 '13 at 14:19
  • Do you work in an industry or part of the world that will really appreciate your minimalistic approach? – user8365 Mar 20 '13 at 19:23
  • tastes vary but i sure would like them to – amphibient Mar 20 '13 at 19:30
up vote 12 down vote accepted

As a hiring manager, I would probably ask you to supply the months, so I could get a better understanding of your work history. I'd want to know and be able to ask you about any extended periods between employment. My rules of thumb tend to lean toward:

  • One job ending in the same or subsequent month the next job begins means you likely left of your own volition.
  • Two to five months difference may signify the job loss was not your choice, but you had the initiative and/or the talent to be able to find another job relatively quickly.
  • Six months or longer will definitely cause me to ask you to explain the gap.

If there is education or skill development that covers all or part of the time period, I could readily assume you were focusing on your studies, which may or may not leave you sufficient time and focus for a quality job search.

All that being said, you may come across a hiring manager that isn't looking as closely as I would to these types of details. Whether or not you include or exclude the months is completely up to you. Historically, I've never excluded them personally, and I don't recall ever hiring someone that didn't include the information. With that in mind, I would never reject an applicant who didn't supply the information, and I know I've never summarily rejected an applicant who didn't provide the months if their work experience met the qualifications I was looking for. I guess what I'm trying to say is if you really feel the need to trim down content, be more concise with your job duties.

  • I think you just validated the practice! The goal of a resume is to get an interview or at least a call back. If this resume convinces you to contact the person, they are a step closer to getting the job, aren't they? – Bryan Oakley Mar 20 '13 at 23:12
  • If I did, I probably validated the practice if you are sending the resume to me. That being said, I know I have detailed my interview selection process as an answer to an earlier question. I most likely won't eliminate you from consideration, but if yours is the only resume I receive which doesn't include months, don't presume you'll be starting in the most favorable position. I don't want to have to dig too deeply for information which should be readily available. – Neil T. Mar 21 '13 at 3:06

If I saw a CV that only had years, this wouldn't ring any immediate alarm bells unless there were multiple roles in the same year.

Months are only really relevant for contracting staff where they might reasonably have multiple roles in the same calendar year.

That being said, the majority of CVs I see do mention month and year. One or two have exact dates which isn't really necessary in my view.

I don't see any advantage, but that just might be my lack of asthetics. Including the months in a resume/cv is so common, it may bring uncessary attention to an area you're trying to de-emphasize. At best the highering person will ask you to clarify during an initial interview. Otherwise, they may think you're trying to hide something.

I don't think the minimalist approach you're taking is going to make a noticable difference, but everyone appreciates the effort to have a cv that gets to the point.

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