How to Right Align Dates on a Resume Why Should You Include Dates in a Resume? What Dates Should be Included in a Resume? Reverse Chronological Order How to Correctly Justify Dates on Resume Prepare a Great Document From Scratch Final Words
How to Right Align Dates on a Resume Why Should You Include Dates in a Resume? What Dates Should be Included in a Resume? Reverse Chronological Order How to Correctly Justify Dates on Resume Prepare a Great Document From Scratch Final Words
Updated 28/12/2020

How to Right Align Dates on a Resume

Are you having trouble formatting the dates in your resume correctly? We will tell you why you should write dates on your resume and how to align them correctly using popular text editors. Here is some useful information to help you create a top-notch resume.

Are you having trouble formatting the dates in your resume correctly? We will tell you why you should write dates on your resume and how to align them correctly using popular text editors. Here is some useful information to help you create a top-notch resume.

Getting a successful job always starts with writing a professional resume. This is a short but essential document that will tell the employer about your strengths, talents, outstanding experience, and academic achievements. A high-quality resume will help even those candidates with limited experience to get a job. But all components of the resume must be prepared perfectly. Each little detail matters. That is why we will talk about such essential details as dates and explain how to indicate them in your resume correctly and format them properly.


Why Should You Include Dates in a Resume?

There is a lot of debate about whether to include dates or not. Recently, various articles have appeared on the topic, arguing that dates do not matter. But in fact, this is a mistake that misleads applicants and can even play against them. First, dates allow you to demonstrate your experience to the employer. Imagine that the company is looking for a candidate for a position, and you decide to apply. Believe us, there will be lots of competitors, even if it is a small firm. In March and April of 2020, more than 22 million Americans lost their jobs due to quarantines related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This led to tighter competition in the labor market. Now imagine that dozens of people who also have good qualifications are applying for the same position as you. What will be the priority for the employer? Experience. And the dates on your resume are an opportunity to showcase it. In your document, you should indicate the period during which you held each position. To do this, you need to specify the months and years of the beginning and end. Here's an example:

Work History
11/2015 - 07/2019
Construction Manager
Rau TCP, Portland, Oregon

Thus, the employer will immediately assess your experience and what can be expected of you professionally.

Secondly, practice shows that without dates, the applicant tracking system (ATS) cannot determine your experience, and accordingly, you are unlikely to receive an invitation for an interview. The ATS is software that helps recruitment managers sort the resumes of suitable applicants. When you apply for a job, before the recruiter sees it, it will be processed by ATS. If your resume is well optimized for the applicant tracking system algorithms, the software will definitely display your candidacy in the list of promising applicants. The ATS’s goal is to help hiring managers to save time in the selection process by filtering out “bad” resumes. Many employers receive over a hundred applications a day, and ATS is truly a lifeline. Research shows that over 95% of the Fortune 500 companies use the applicant tracking system, while 65% of large companies and 35% of small businesses also rely on it. So if you want a recruiter to see your resume, dates are a must-have.

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What Dates Should be Included in a Resume?

Before we move on to how to align dates on a resume, it is worth determining which dates should be specified in your document. As you now know, dates can dramatically improve the presentation of your qualifications. And here are the places on your resume where you should include them:

  1. Experience. We have already figured out that dates have a special meaning for listing experience, so the recruiter should see them in this section of your application.
  2. Education. If you recently graduated from an institution, you should also indicate when you started your studies and finished. It will show the employer why you don't have enough professional experience. As a rule, include the study period on your resume until you have at least five years of professional experience.
  3. Internship. With an internship, you will have the opportunity to gain professional experience. Indicate this in your documentation, including your training dates to demonstrate that you have some practice. Also, include the internship in the job title so that the employer can see that this is not a full-time job and won’t wonder why it ended so quickly.
  4. Certificates. Many employers appreciate when candidates put certificates on their resume. It shows that the candidate strives to update their professional knowledge and improve their qualifications. Thus, if you have any, include them in your resume, backing them up with dates. Such a format will allow employers to understand the relevancy of your knowledge.

Find out which professions will be relevant soon by reading the Top 45 Best Jobs of the Future.


Reverse Chronological Order

Now let's figure out how to line up the dates on a resume. One of the most common resume formats is chronological order. It is simple enough and easy to scan. That is why many employers prefer that candidates submit such resumes. Bear in mind that the description of experience and list of positions starts from the very last place of work and ends with the first. This order of dates dramatically improves the perception of information and helps a recruiter quickly identify your strengths. In addition, it is much easier to write a resume in this format, as it provides clear order and ensures that your most relevant experience is at the top of the list.

But should you always use reverse chronological order? This format is great for candidates with significant experience who need to demonstrate their professional path. It allows applicants to put their success stories at the center of their resume, which immediately grabs the employer's attention.

But it's worth noting that chronological order is not always a good idea. Here are some situations in which it loses its value:

  • When you are at the very beginning of your career. If you have limited experience, then reverse chronological order will not work for you. If your path consists only of free practice and volunteering, the recruiter will see that you do not have experience in a paid job with full responsibility, and therefore are not the best candidate. This is a case when it is worth moving away from the linear resume format and making a functional document in which you put your skills and talents first.
  • If you have long gaps in employment. There are many completely different reasons why you may not have had a job for a long time. But to the hiring manager, it might look suspicious. That being said, you don't have to make excuses, but your resume should also not focus on periods when you did not have a job. Thus, in this case, it is better to choose a format that reflects your abilities in the most appropriate way.
  • If you change jobs frequently. Employers do not want to spend resources on educating and training personnel who will soon leave the company. Thus, chronological order would also be inappropriate in your case, which can alienate hiring managers. This is another situation in which skills and talents must come to the forefront.

Do you want to pass a panel interview successfully? Here's a guide to help you prepare for the 6 Most Common Panel Interview Questions and Answers.

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How to Correctly Justify Dates on Resume

Many sources suggest that the most optimal format for a resume is tabled without borders, which allows you to arrange parts of the text correctly. However, remember that ATS is not good at handling table content. Thus, use paragraphs and text editor formatting tools. Aligned dates on your resume make your document cleaner and more organic. It only takes a couple of minutes to perform, and if you have the opportunity to improve something, it's always worth doing.

The best option is to right-align your dates. And here are some tips on how you can do it correctly without spacing.

MS Word

One of the most popular text editors in the world has the following alignment steps:

  1. Select All. If you are using a PC, press Control+A, and if you are using Mac, press Command+A on your keyboard.
  2. Then click on the Format menu and go to the Tabs.
  3. Then just Clear All (if there are any already set).
  4. In the next step, type 7″ in the upper left bar. Accordingly, select “Right” and “None” (you made 7″ is for .75″ margins, but you can adjust it based on your setup).
  5. Then click Set and OK. You’re done! You can now start typing text in your document.


Pages is an analog of Word for Mac OS. Here are the steps you need to take in it:

  1. Highlight dates in your text.
  2. In the Tab bar, click on Format and choose Style.
  3. In the Align section, choose Right arrangement.
  4. To apply these changes to all paragraphs in your document with the given paragraph style, click the Update button next to the paragraph style name at the top of the sidebar.

Google Docs

Formatting in Google Docs is simple enough and only takes a few steps:

  1. Highlight the dates you want to align.
  2. Click Format in the Tab bar.
  3. Move to the Align section.
  4. Just choose the alignment to the right.

OpenOffice Writer

Another fairly popular text editor, which successfully competes in the market due to free access. Its functions are more limited, so the algorithm is as follows:

  1. Click Insert.
  2. Click Frame.
  3. In the Frame window under type, change the horizontal and vertical position to center and both to "Entire page."
  4. Because the frame has borders, unless you want to keep these borders, click the borders tab and click None under Style.
  5. Type dates you need.

Prepare a Great Document From Scratch

Sometimes formatting an old text can be a real challenge and take longer than writing a new document. In addition, taking into account all the features of the ATS can also be difficult. Use reliable tools to create a professional resume and get an interview invitation.

GetCoverLetter career experts have experience in assessing and selecting candidates. Therefore, we have created a great builder for preparing resumes, which takes into account all the features of the ATS algorithms. We put all our knowledge and experience into it to help job seekers make a professional document in less than 20 minutes.


Final Words

Now you know that the right alignment of dates on a resume is an important nuance for the employer to consider your candidacy. These simple yet useful tips will help you create a powerful resume and gain a competitive advantage. But if you want to save your time, use a reliable resume generator to create a great document that already takes into account all aspects that the recruiter pays attention to.

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