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I've seen a somewhat related question, but it doesn't answer my question quite right. Say you're writing an event that happened on a single day, and you need to put it in your resume or CV. So how would you write it? For example 11/21/2013:

  • 21 November 2013
  • 21st November 2013
  • 21st Nov. 2013
  • November 21 2013
  • November 21st 2013
  • Nov. 21st 2013

Should I put a comma somewhere? Change the order?

  • November 21 - 26 2013
  • November 21 -- 26 2013
  • November 21st - 26th 2013

And what if the event spans several days? And the span takes one day from one month to the next one? For example 11/29/2013 - 12/02/2013:

  • November 29 - December 2 2013
  • November 29th - December 2nd 2013
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Welcome to Writers. Since the "best" format for dates is extremely subjective, have updated your title so that the question is more answerable. –  Neil Fein Apr 16 '13 at 20:33
    
Thanks Neil, I appreciate it. –  Alejandro Marcos Aragon Apr 16 '13 at 20:34
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Be aware that there exists an ISO standard on date formats. –  Karl Damgaard Asmussen Apr 16 '13 at 22:10
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5 Answers 5

The best date formats are the ones that are (1) clear and (2) familiar to your audience. You want your readers to focus on the content of your resume/CV, and this will be difficult if they have to "translate" dates to a familiar format in their heads while reading.

In general, the two extremes - long, unambiguous dates verses shorter, more informal dates - run the spectrum from convenient to write and compact (if potentially unclear) to longer and harder to write (but clear).

And, the most important thing: Pick a single date format for the document, and follow it everywhere.

Clarity

Shorter date formats, such as 4/12/10, are familiar and comfortable, but they can be unclear. Did I just write 12 April or 4 December? 1910 or 2010? (That last is unlikely to be a problem in a document like this.) Choosing a date format and sticking with it for the entire document can help with this.

Longer, unambiguous formats are preferred from the standpoint of being clear, but they take up more room (an issue in a resume, especially when formatting them for a single page) and can look clumsy to some audiences.

I'd find out what formats are the most common in your field and use those.

Familiarity

People are generally pretty good at recognizing different formats, but why make more work for them? It's the work of a few minute to change the date formats to be appropriate and consistent.

While it's unlikely that an "odd" date format will cause someone to put your CV in the "circular file", if presented with two resumes that are roughly the same in terms of qualifications and experience, a hiring manager could easily simply choose the one that looks more familiar and comfortable.

Formatting

I'd avoid dates formatted like "November 2 2013" because losing a space can be hard to read. Using spoken-word-type formatting like "3rd" can be a bit too chatty and conversational in a formal business document (as well as being another opportunity for typos to occur).

In terms of ranges: Most style guides suggest using an en or em dash (not two hyphens in a row) for these.

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Now, I'd say adding the ordinal suffix makes the date more formal, not less. Perhaps that's another US-vs-Europe difference (I'm Irish). –  TRiG Nov 7 '13 at 18:43
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Bear in mind that a compact numerical date format like 01/02/2013 uses a different convention in the US than in Europe. In the US it's interpreted as month/day/year, while in Europe it's day/month/year. So if you're writing a document that might be read in both hemispheres, I'd avoid the compact form. If it's only one or the other, less of an issue.

A form like "November 2 2012", with no comma between the day and the year, is very uncommon, probably because it's a little hard to read. Depending on the font and the reader's eyesight, the space might be lost.

Since about 1990 I always put a four-digit year to avoid any ambiguity. If space is really tight, a two-digit year is unlikely to be ambiguous if you're talking about recent events. For a resume, if you say you worked at Foobar Corporation from '08 to '11, I think we could safely assume that you mean 2008 to 2011 and not 1908 to 1911, unless you are a very, very old man. But if you were writing in some larger context and you said that Foobar Corporation was founded in '08, it might not be at all clear whether you mean 2008, 1908, or for that matter 1508.

Personally, when I'm writing for an international audience, I generally use either "Nov 2, 2013" or "2 Nov 2013", i.e. use an abbreviation of the month name, a four-digit year, and if putting the day after the month, separate it from the year with a comma. Both forms are unambiguous but still reasonably compact. When I'm writing strictly for the US, I usually put 11/02/2013.

I heartily agree with Neil Fein that whatever you do, be consistent.

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Note that there's an ISO standard for the compact format that deserved more frequent use and most people should be able to understand 2013-02-11 –  Michael Borgwardt Jan 1 at 11:33
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You can write the date like this :

e.g. : 2nd November 2013 e.g. : From 2nd November 2013 till 29th December 2013

Whatever format you choose, be consistent with that..

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IMHO in CVs the day is not that important, so you could go with Month Year, like Nov 2013 - Dec 2013: worked for Xmas Inc.

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The format that best preserves both clarity, brevity and formality is:

21 Nov, 2013

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