Do I Need That Graduation Date?

Dear Cassie,

I’m enjoying your new column and am looking forward to learning more tips!

I have a question. I’m putting together a resume for the first time in ages (I’ve been with the same hospital for 23 years), and I’m worried that if I list all of my experience and the date of my nursing school graduation that recruiters will pass me over for being too old. Is this a legitimate concern? Should I leave the dates off?

Thank you in advance for any advice you can provide.



Dear Cindy,

First, congratulations on exploring new opportunities after 23 years. I have worked with many candidates that have done the same and found a wonderful, new, and rewarding consulting career after a lengthy stint in hospital-based employment.

Your concern is certainly legitimate; however it is worth mentioning that discrimination against those over 40 years of age is illegal and age is a protected class in employer hiring practices. Regarding your resume, it is totally OK to leave the date of graduation off your resume, in fact, I recommend it to everyone. I also hear the opposite concern from candidates who are afraid including their graduation year will illuminate how young they are. You have no obligation to include graduation dates, but, I do recommend including your dates of employment. It is common practice and if you don’t, it’ll be the first question your recruiter will ask.

It is also OK to use a resume with, say, only your past 15 to 20 years of employment listed as well as focus your resume on your most recent accomplishments and work experience. I’ve seen resumes that expound upon the most recent years and then include something such as this below to cover early career history.

Previous Experience
Sisters of Mercy, St. Louis, MO
Manager, Department of Case Manager
Case Manager
Nurse Manager, Pediatrics
Staff Nurse, NICU

This will also help keep your resume a reasonable length.

Finally, be sure to include all your education credentials! Especially since you are a nurse and consultants with clinical experience, especially RNs, are highly valued in our industry.

Cindy, I wish you all the best in your upcoming job search. If you have any other questions, please reach out again! Thank you!


Have a career question you’d like to see addressed in this column?  Post it in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer it!

About the author


Cassie Sturdevant

Cassie Sturdevant is a Senior Recruiter for Impact Advisors, a healthcare IT strategic and implementation services consulting firm just named 2013 Best in KLAS for Overall Services. She specializes in humor and follow up.