How to Put an Expected Graduation Date on a Resume

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Frank Hackett

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

Frank Hackett is a professional resume writer and career consultant with over eight years of experience. As the lead editor at a boutique career consulting firm, Frank developed an innovative approach to resume writing that empowers job seekers to tell their professional stories. His approach involves creating accomplishment-driven documents that balance keyword optimization with personal branding. Frank is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) with the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PAWRCC).

How do you include an expected graduation date on your resume? It seems like a simple enough question. List the month and year you believe you’ll finish your degree. But how do you determine the expected graduation date? When should you begin looking for a job during your education? This guide will discuss how to include your anticipated graduation date on your resume.

How to Format Your Expected Graduation Date on Your Resume

To format your education section appropriately, you’ll want to feature your degree and major on the first line. You’ll then highlight the full name of your university in addition to the city and state. Depending on your template, you can include the graduation date next to your major or in the line below with the university information. Below, you’ll find two examples of appropriate formatting when featuring your expected graduation date on the resume:

Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Computer Engineering

TEMPLE UNIVERSITY, Philadelphia, PA Expected May 2023

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Philosophy, Expected May 2023

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, New York, NY

Include the Expected Graduation Date but Omit the Start Date

While it’s important to list your expected graduation date, there’s no need to include the month and year that you first enrolled in the university. This is especially important for job seekers who have taken time off from their education and are going back to finish their degrees. By including the start date and the anticipated graduation date, you’ll only be drawing attention to the fact that it took you longer than expected to finish your education, which won’t enhance your job application.

Should I Put Expected Graduation Date on the Resume?

As a general rule, you’ll always want to include the expected graduation date on your resume if you can obtain a realistic timeframe for when you believe you’ll finish. If you’ve only just started your degree and are unsure how many credits you’ll be able to obtain each semester, you could instead list “September 2020 – Present” on your document. That said, highlighting an expected graduation date will be much more attractive to prospective employers and benefit you while pursuing internship opportunities.

How to Calculate Your Expected Graduation Date

Calculating your expected graduation date can be complicated, especially if you’re unsure how many credits you’ll realistically complete each semester. One semester may be 12 credits, while another might be 15. Try to average how many you’ve completed previously to create a framework for calculating your graduation date. For example, suppose you’ve completed 60 credits and are averaging 15 credits per semester. In that case, you’ll likely hit the 120-credit requirement for graduation within two years and can put that timeframe on your resume.

How to Find Expected Graduation Date

Another way to find your expected graduation date is to schedule a consultation with a student advisor at your university. These counselors have the resources to help you identify your anticipated graduation date and ensure that your degree isn’t delayed due to specific course requirements. To graduate on time, you’ll need to complete your general education requirements in addition to your major, which can take careful planning to manage effectively. For example, if you’re an English major who needs to complete a statistics course, you may want to avoid taking a science course on top of it. Planning ahead is an important part of success in higher education, so you’ll want to utilize available resources at your university to create an effective strategy.

Consider Adding Coursework to Your Resume

In addition to your degree and expected graduation date, you may want to consider incorporating coursework you’ve completed throughout your academic career. This can be especially helpful if you’re pursuing an internship, as you’ll be able to show prospective employers that you have the necessary skill sets to succeed in the position. Either create a separate section for this information on your resume or include it directly beneath your degree. Below, you’ll find two examples to help you showcase your coursework on your resume:

Information Technology Coursework:

  • Intro to System Architecture & Administration 
  • Python 101 
  • Introduction to Cloud Technology & Microsoft Azure
  • Advanced Database Management & Disaster Recovery
  • Advanced Software & Hardware Maintenance

 

Education

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Philosophy

HARVARD UNIVERSITY, Cambridge, MA Expected May 2023

GPA: 3.94/4.0

  • Introduction to Existentialism
  • Postmodernism and Wittengenstein
  • The Self in German Idealism 
  • Nietzsche’s Aesthetics in the Birth of Tragedy
  • Simone Weil, Kirkegaard, and Christian Existentialism

 

Feature Academic Projects

You should also consider highlighting key academic projects you worked on while pursuing your degree. Whereas coursework will demonstrate your familiarity with industry concepts, your academic projects are an opportunity to show hiring managers examples of you putting these methodologies, technologies, and skills into practice. Below, you’ll find an example of how to feature academic projects on your resume correctly:

Academic Experience

Software Engineering Projects, University of San Francisco, California CA

May 2018 – Present

  • Designed a mobile application to support users in monitoring and scheduling appointments through real-time alerts, which included functionality testing, bug fixes, and programming in Python 
  • Designed and developed a fantasy football application using JavaScript to enable users to compare player statistics to determine scoring percentages and trade values

 

How Long Before Graduation Should You Apply for Jobs?

You’ll want to begin preparing for the job hunt one semester before your graduation date. If you’re graduating in May, you should start researching potential opportunities during the Fall and tailoring your resume toward those job descriptions. Employers are often willing to hire students before they graduate, especially if they possess the necessary skills to impact the organization, but you will need to clearly state the month and year you intend to graduate on your document. This will allow them to identify a potential part-time schedule while you finish your degree and help them to create a timeframe for the onboarding process.