The Real Reason You Shouldn’t Put Your Address on Your Resume

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by Donna Svei on February 2, 2014

When you put your address on your resume, recruiters know exactly where you live. This matters because a person with a one-hour commute has to earn 40% more money to be as happy with life as someone who walks to the office (Stutzer & Frey). They’re also a lot more likely to get divorced (Sandow).

The Problem

You might not have thought about it, but in-house recruiters know that people with long commutes have more stress and often eventually quit “because of the commute.” If you quit, they don’t look good AND they have to replace you. That’s more work, with no more money, for them.

When you put your address on your resume, believe me, they do the math. If your commute would be longer than what’s tolerable long-term, your resume often finds its way into the “maybe” or “no” pile.

The Fix

Instead of giving your address, give your current or most recent employer’s city location, like this:

The Coca-Cola Company, Atlanta, GA (if you work at the mother ship)

or

The Coca-Cola Company, Oakland, CA (if you work at a branch office)

Sharing your employer’s city places you in a broad metropolitan area.  It gives recruiters enough information to know you’re local (if you are), without sharing that you’re not local enough (if you aren’t).

Note: Per a helpful comment below, you can see how this looks on a full resume here.

More

Beyond the push to get a job, think about the stats in this post’s opening paragraph when you decide where to live and where to apply for work. Working close to home can make you and your family happier and prevent you from looking like a job hopper on your resume.

Hat tip to The Guardian for the terrific article that led me to these stats: The Secrets of the World’s Happiest Cities.

I write executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Save time. Get hired. Email me at donnasvei@gmail.com or call me at (208) 721-0131. 

Image:  © carlos_bcn – Fotolia.com 

Featured on LifeHackerFastCompany, and SmartBriefOnYourCareer.

 

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom Bolt February 3, 2014 at 07:01

Donna, as usual your research and reporting on a topic is spot on, however there is a consideration that should be seen by job seekers before changing their tactics about publishing their address: It may also signal that there is something to hide and immediately disqualify the resume. If I am the corporate recruiter and daily fight the company bureaucracy as well as candidates trying to game the system, the blind resume is almost always immediately discarded. If I am an outside recruiter trying to find the best fit, the address is less relevant than the qualifications to do the job and we will discuss the requirements for relocation or commuting honestly before moving forward. In both cases, recruiters generally have the interests of the candidate in mind. Believe it or not, it is not always an adversarial relationship that requires stealth and deceit on either side to make a connection and a good hire.

Hi Tom,

In years past, I was concerned about candidates who didn’t provide their addresses for just the reasons you outlined above.

Now, as concerns about identify theft have become realistic, and most communication is electronic (thus no need to snail mail applicants for any reason), I think people can provide general metropolitan area information and be OK. It’s definitely a “best resume practice” in transition. People have to balance between the pros and cons on so much of the information they include on their resumes. In the end, they have to weigh what seems best for them and make an informed decision. I appreciate you raising this perspective for people to consider.

I’m curious to hear what other people think about this topic!

Thank you,

Donna

Judi hays February 3, 2014 at 10:52

Valid points. How would you approach applying for jobs in a different city?

Hi Judi,

The same question came up on LinkedIn this morning. Here’s what I wrote:

I recently worked with a resume client who wanted to move across the U.S. He was willing to pay his own relocation costs. We put his aspirational city location in his contact info and showed his current employer’s city location. We also put a line at the bottom of his resume that said, “Willing to relocate to [desired location] at own expense.” It worked.

Donna

Kathy Bernard February 3, 2014 at 14:33

I usually just put the city / state on clients’ resumes, like this:
Oakland, CA | 510-000-0000 | name@companyname.com | LinkedIn address

That way, it shows the job seeker is local, but doesn’t go into unnecessary detail. Kathy

Hi Kathy,

Thank you for this. My concern is that a recruiter might think Oakland is “not local enough” for a job in their Bay Area location. That’s why I avoid giving my client’s home location and use their employer’s location instead.

Donna

David Ayer February 4, 2014 at 00:15

As I’ve never seen a résumé without a full home address front and centre, it’s most intriguing to give this a re-think. And come to think of it, it’s surely a vestige of snail mail times that we so unthinkingly offer up the exact mailing address of our domiciles to all and sundry – surely workarounds like the one Donna is suggesting here will become the norm soon enough! But for those currently unemployed, Donna, do you really suggest using the address of their last employer at the top of the document? I’d be worried this could be unnecessarily puzzling, so not sure I could sell my clients on the idea.

Hi David,

Thank you for your clarifying question. I added a link to a sample resume above.

Kind regards,

Donna

Steve Gallison February 4, 2014 at 10:45

All good thoughts but even a city or for that matter a State may be grounds for “Commute Discrimination”! I always suggest that if this was the dream job would you be willing to re-locate and if so put that information at the end of a Career Summary.

Hi Steve,

Thank you for this. I don’t get that from an employer’s location. It just tells me they manage to get themselves there from somewhere. Who knows? Maybe my client’s location is closer to home for a candidate!

It’s always interesting to see how other people interpret information. That’s one of my favorite aspects of blogging. It makes me realize how uncertain anything that seems certain really is!

Kind regards,

Donna

Warren White February 4, 2014 at 11:35

Hi Donna,

I have not used a physical address on my personal resume for years, and I have advised clients that it is no longer a requirement to have it there (some choose to include it, and that’s fine) for the reasons you’ve cited above, as well as the concerns with identity theft, etc. Employers rarely use snail mail to communicate with candidates these days, so the address doesn’t really add value–it provides another chance to lose out on an opportunity for reasons other than qualifications and ability to do the job. It also gives a little bit more real estate on the resume, which can be used to provide info that does add value, such as social media profile links. Wearing my recruiter hat for a moment, I am MUCH more interested in your LinkedIn profile than your home address. If as recruiters the objective is to identify the best possible candidates for the job, then we ought to be looking for more ways to include good candidates than somewhat arbitrary (in some cases) reasons for rejecting them.

Awesome Warren. Thank you for the wonderful “guest post!” Donna

Malcolm February 5, 2014 at 18:30

I don’t care about a physical address when I’m reviewing resumes. I’m not a recruiter, but I’m involved in recruiting. I do care about email, phone, and time zone though. And i care if you have a decent internet connection. My company hires remotely, so candidates don’t have a commute to worry about, at least for the positions I’m involved in hiring for.

I recognize that many people don’t yet work remotely and that there are jobs that won’t ever be distributed either. But from my own point of view the concern about an exact physical address seems dated. If the person is hired though, we do need that for records, to ship stuff to, etc.

When review resumes I want to see contact info: email, phone, name, city. I want to see what you’ve done that’s notable, and your skills, and that you’re legal to work in my country. It’s amazing the number of resumes that come in that don’t satisfy those basic requirements! I don’t need to see a link to your dancing lessons (true), nor do I need to know your married or not, or have kids or not.

Thank you Malcolm. Donna

Jesse Mei February 5, 2014 at 19:44

I have been working remotely for a company based in another state for four years. The nearest major city is about a 35-45 minute commute. In the past, interviewers have remarked on what a long commute it is from Small Town, USA. What would be the best way to handle the ‘no address’ on a new resume?

That’s a tough one Jesse. Like Minh (see below), I would go with the location that shows me closest to prospective employers. Thank you, Donna

Minh February 5, 2014 at 21:56

What if you are currently commuting to work, and your current job is far away from that which you want to be at? For instance, I currently live with a friend an hour away from an apartment I still have a lease on to commute an hour to go to work, but I want to apply to a job that is within commuting distance of my apartment that I still have the lease on. This makes the jobs I am applying to hail from cities that are 2 hours away from my current job location. What should I do?

Good question Minh. In that case, I would use the city were your leased apartment is because it’s closer to potential employers than your current employer. Thank you, Donna

David McKay February 6, 2014 at 05:29

Would you REALLY put “US Resident Alien.” on a resume? Seriously?

Hi David,

Good question. I have placed many people from other countries in the U.S. and the EU. In those cases, employment eligibility is often a concern.

The questions go like this:

1. Can we legally employ this person here?
2. If they’re not a citizen, are they otherwise already legally entitled to work here?
3. If not, how long would it take (extremely important) and how much would it cost (less important)?

Because of this, when there is any potential question about someone’s work eligibility, and they are fully eligible, I spell it out on the resume. Not doing this could easily cost them the opportunity to interview.

In the case you ask about, U.S. Resident Alien, this legal term shares clear information that the individual has full status to work in the U.S. long-term without any visa, time, or cost issues.

Thank you for asking about this!

Donna

Robert Dagnall February 7, 2014 at 00:57

Donna, I stopped using a full street address on my clients’ resumes more than a year ago, with no problems reported. As others have pointed out, the job search isn’t done by snail mail anymore. Providing your street address doesn’t add any value to the process. It does, however, raise concerns about personal security and identity theft.

And one other concern I didn’t see mentioned elsewhere: the practice of recruiters running your street address through a real estate database like Zillow to determine home value–and use that as a factor in negotiations. Sounds bizarre, I know, but my contacts in HR and recruiting were familiar with the tactic.

Robert

They actually show previous purchase prices on Zillow and other Internet locations…which would let a company estimate your mortgage…smart background research for them to do…with a TOTAL creeper feel to it. Thank you for the heads up on this Robert. Donna

Shel M. Carandang February 9, 2014 at 22:13

Hi Donna,

Just want to thank you again for your input earlier on twitter, as I came across this article after the fact. Sorry about that. Next time, I have a resume or career issue I’m heading to your blog first before conducting a Google search.

I have to agree with you about the fact that a job candidate’s home address takes up essential space on a resume, that can be better used on value added material. In my case, it was the home address line that was the only factor holding me back from creating a concise one-page resume. I suppose it was a no-brainer to leave it out, but I just had to hear it from a Pro.

Donna, you provide such a valuable service for us job/career seekers. Can’t thank you enough. It seems down the road when I am financially ready to relocate to Dallas from San Diego I’ll be contacting you directly to make use of your services to butcher or polish up my resume and LinkedIn profile. Simply impressed with your background, accomplishments, and kindness of helping those in need.

Regards,
Shel

Wow, Shel, thank you! What a lovely way to start the week.

Kind regards,

Donna

David Smith February 17, 2014 at 03:52

Good post. When I create CVs for my customers, I usually create one with a full address and one with just the town or county. The latter is for uploading online. Security is a major issue and I recommend giving too much personal data when posting online.

Thank you David. Donna

Caleb March 28, 2014 at 09:10

They will find out your address someway. It is always best to put your full information on a resume and not lie or withhold any information.

They certainly can if they want to Caleb. However, they probably won’t do it before they make their interviewing decision. Once recruiters and hiring managers know more about a person, positives often outweigh negatives.

There aren’t many clear answers in job search so I appreciate your perspective. Looking at issues from multiple angles helps job seekers evaluate where they fit and decide on a course of action.

Thank you,

Donna

Ed April 9, 2014 at 23:46

What if your current employer and home are in the same town? I’m in that situation, and applying for jobs in Boston, about an hour away.

Ed, I would probably show my employer’s location and leave mine off. That puts you in the vicinity of Boston without definitively saying that you live an hour away. Donna

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