Friday, September 14, 2007

Should I Include My Address On My Resume? - Page 2

Last week, one of my clients, R.R. asked me:

”Should I include my address on my resume? I heard at a community career center that it’s a bad idea ... “

R.R. was concerned about the risk of identity theft, a common concern today. However, she is also looking for a real estate job and had a number of years of experience in a specific neighborhood of a major metropolitan city. Additionally, she has an incredible amount of community, volunteer, and non-profit leadership experience with organizations located in the same local community.

So R.R.’s address is very important information to her job search, isn’t it? Not including her address limits her ability to be found by neighborhood - because her resume can’t be found in a search by address or zip.

In the case of applying for an out-of-town position and if you don’t have a local address to use, leaving your address off of your resume won’t matter. Employers will likely assume that you’re an out of town candidate - if that’s a deal killer, it won’t matter if your address was excluded or your out-of-town address is included.

While R.R. has a specific circumstance, it applies to many job seekers who are searching for a job within their own city. With the high number of candidates in the market today, employers and recruiters often give preference to local candidates - sometimes going as far as making geography a pre-screening criteria, so they only consider locals. Choosing an out-of-town candidate is an additional risk for an employer - a risk that the candidate won’t move, can’t sell their house, or they (or their family) won’t like the new location. If there are many local candidates who meet hiring criteria, why take on the additional risk?

But what’s the risk of including your address on your resume? What’s the risk of including other personal information?

Unfortunately, anyone with a computer and a credit card can get incredible amounts of personal information on just about anyone these days - including family, credit and legal history. This is regardless of whether you include your address on your resume or not ... including your address won’t increase or decrease this risk.

But excluding your address from your resume can result in employers not considering you for a position that you’re otherwise well qualified to do.

What information should you avoid disclosing? There’s still information that you’ll want to avoid including on your resume or posting on job boards. For instance, it’s probably not the best idea to disclose your Social Security Number. In past years, many job seekers included their SSN on their resume - it’s seldom disclosed on resumes today, due to concerns over identity theft.

Many staffing firms require Social Security Numbers prior to submitting candidates, because the staffing firm is responsible for submitting tax information and verifying citizenship/visa status to the government. These are legitimate uses and reputable staffing firms provide safeguards to protect candidates’ personal data.

As for your address - it’s a personal choice but if your goal is finding a new job, you take on more risk that you won’t even be considered for a local position if you decline to show that you’re local. In a better job market, it may not make such a difference ... but in today’s market, a candidate needs every advantage they can get.

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RickG said...

Hi Phil, if the concern is to not disclose too much personal information but still emphasize that one is a local candidate, use just town, state and zip. It's a compromise between disclosing your complete address, and you maybe having more peace of mind. I feel though that it really doesn't make any difference to a determined person, as you said anyone with a computer and a credit card can get your info. Just a "free" search will often locate a person and his family to the last three cities he lived at.

Stillness and Motion said...

The best way to combat the identity theft issue YET still let employers know that you are local is to include only part of your address - the City and State - and leave off your street address. This makes it harder for ID thieves yet still gives your location.

Phil Rosenberg said...

@Stillness - Identity theft is a real problem, no doubt. But do you really think leaving the address off gives a candidate any protection? If you vote, have a listed phone or own real estate, your address is just a Google search away. If someone wants to use your personal information to cause harm, and they have a credit card, it's very inexpensive to find out reams of personal information, including your SSN, credit and legal history.

While not disclosing an address can cause employers/recruiters to ignore a resume, it offers no real protection.

Additionally, in large metro areas, disclosure of where in the metro area you live is important, giving your connection to a neighborhood and giving the employer how far your commute might be. In a large city, different addresses could be an hour (or two) apart in rush hour traffic.

If a candidate is serious about finding a job why leave it off?

Beverly said...

In the case someone intending to relocate due to family living in that area or a recent engagement/marriage and one has a local address but still lives/works in another city until one finds a job in the new city, what would you suggest? Using the local address? But explaining that you have to fly in from another city for an interview might be misleading.

Phil Rosenberg said...

@RickG - Thanks for continuing the discussion ...

Again, with all the personal information easily available to identity thieves, how will the decision whether to include or exclude a portion of your address protect you?

However, excluding your address may cause employers and recruiters to overlook you as a candidate.

Do you also recommend staying off of social networks like Linkedin or Facebook because identity thieves might find you? Or disconnecting your land line and having your cell phone bill sent to a PO box?

I don't see extra protection gained from your suggestions ... just the risk of having your candidacy ignored or discounted.

@Beverly - I covered that issue in .