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"Should I Put the Year I Graduated on My LinkedIn Profile?"

Updated: Jun 7, 2022

“Should I put the year I graduated on my LinkedIn profile?”

After helping thousands of people with their LinkedIn profiles over the years, this is one of the most commonly asked questions I hear from people...

“Should I put the year I graduated on my LinkedIn profile?”

If your graduation year isn’t on your LinkedIn profile, recruiters are going to assume the worst. Your reason is most likely one of these four:

  1. Trying to hide your age.

  2. Didn’t graduate.

  3. Have something to hide.

  4. Completely forgot.

Here’s a breakdown and a strategy to help you get in front of any of these.

Here is my thought process behind it.

If you’re trying to hide your age…don’t. Even if you don’t put the year that you graduated, it’s basic math to add up the timeline of roles listed in your experience section. Plus, when you take an interview, the manager will see you face to face and you don’t want to start off on the wrong foot. Your experience is an asset, and hiring managers aren’t allowed to ask for your age anyway. Be confident in your experience - it will carry you much farther than hiding it. If you’re fearful that age is going to prevent you from getting the job that you want, bring good energy and let your experience shine through during the interview.

VERDICT: Put the year.

If you didn’t graduate, I would recommend leaving it off entirely. You can be honest about it during the interview - did you take time off to care for a family member? Did you have a change of heart regarding your career path? No matter the answer, remember that hiring managers are human too, and most of the time, they’ll respect your commitment to honesty. Even if a job does require a college degree, the recruiter may just think you have an incomplete LinkedIn profile (which is common, for people that do not read my articles…lol) instead of jumping to the conclusion that you didn’t finish school. This could lead to a conversation, and you may find yourself with a job offer even without a college degree. When in doubt, just leave it off.

VERDICT: Take college off entirely.

The same logic applies if you have something to hide - this is a good example for my own profile. I graduated high school in 1996, and my college diploma says 2005. In my case, I had to go back and take an extra course in order to qualify for the degree and just never made the time to do it. It’s up to you if you want to put the year on your profile in instances like this - you want to curate your own story for the interview. Use your best judgment, and own your story when it comes up in conversation.

VERDICT: Use your best judgment.

Pro Tip - Never put your high school on your LinkedIn profile unless it was extremely prestigious.

If you completely forgot? This is an assumption that some recruiters might make, but you want to avoid giving this impression. It looks sloppy. The decisions you make regarding your LinkedIn profile should be logical, well-thought-out, and intentional. It is very likely the way that you’re going to get your next opportunity.

VERDICT: Put the year.

If the rest of your profile is put together and impressive, your graduation year will be the least of anyone’s concerns. Many companies now don’t even require degrees. Make sure all your schools have logos (and all your companies). Remember that you are the one in charge of your LinkedIn story, and it’s the way you are able to portray your professional journey that will help you to succeed in your career.

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