Omit Home Address from Your Resume?

Should you leave your home address off your resume? This question has a variety of answers, depending on the circumstances and whom you ask. Some key issues include privacy, protection from identity theft, and trying to avoid premature rejection by employers.

Resumes: Privacy and Protection from Identity Theft

The privacy issue includes ideas such as not letting people know where you actually live when you’re sending your resume out into the world, presumably since all kinds of people will be seeing it and could make note of your address for purposes of their own. Personally, I think the likelihood of this happening is fairly remote, but I can’t say it would never happen.

On the other hand, protection from identity theft has become a serious issue in recent years. It’s something that can cause devastating problems for you through no fault of your own. For that reason, it would seem a reasonable precaution to avoid displaying your complete home address on your resume. When an employer becomes genuinely interested in hiring you, providing the address becomes a non-issue.

One possible alternative that I believe makes good sense is to list the city, state and ZIP code, without the physical street address. Another way to deal with this involves renting a mailbox that doesn’t look on the face of it like a mailbox address.

Resumes: Avoiding Premature Rejection by Employers

Sometimes employers set up screening procedures that look for candidates living—or not living—in certain areas. For example, they might be biased against people living in other geographical areas for fear they’ll be asked to pay for relocation or because they want someone who is well versed in the local culture and has local contacts. However, companies might have other reasons for using your resume’s lack of location information or inclusion of certain information against you.

The following are some points recently shared by one of my professional colleagues, Robin Schlinger, who is located in Georgia:

  • If you eliminate the entire address and the client is applying for jobs in Georgia, they most likely will not be considered for the job, unless the client has really unusual, highly technical skills that are in demand.
  • In Atlanta, it is not good enough just to live in/close to Atlanta. Due to transportation issues, people need to live in the right ZIP codes to get an offer.
  • Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) check addresses or ZIP codes for proximity and will reject applications from applicants who do not fit the geographical profile.

Robin recommends that the resume indicate your mailing address if you’re not interested in relocation and that you rent a mailbox at a UPS store or other mailbox store in the general ZIP code area where you are looking for a job. You can also arrange to list the local address of a friend or relative, with his/her permission, and you can get a local cell phone number. Of course, with the current portability of phone numbers, an area code is no longer quite the location give-away it once was.

Be aware, however, that if you are currently working in, say, Texas and want to land a job in California, your resume is going to show a geographical discrepancy regardless of whether or not you include any location information in the contact section at the top.

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