When it comes to writing a resume, there is no shortage of advice out there.
The problem is that if you ask 100 different people how to write the perfect resume, you will get 100 different answers.
For example, one person will say that including an objective statement is a must, while the next insists you remove it. Or you’ll be told that “it depends,” which isn’t exactly helpful either.
Well, I’m here to tell you about yet another “resume rule” that you should follow that might be surprising. I had never questioned it before, and I’ve helped thousands of people write resumes.
What is this one surprising thing you should remove from your resume?
It’s your address.
Yup! Even your contact information (which seems like the most straightforward part of writing a resume) might need a little more attention than you thought.
But like most resume advice, whether you should include your address or not “depends.”
Let’s look at the reasons for and against adding your address to your resume.
Why You Should Remove Your Address From Your Resume
First, here are the reasons you should keep your address OFF of your resume.
Your Address is Private Information
Protecting your privacy matters, especially online, where hackers are trying to collect your personal information and data to scam you or steal your identity.
When you apply for a job online, you are sharing a lot about yourself. This can put you at risk of identity theft and threaten your safety, especially if you are a vulnerable person or are in a vulnerable position.
The major job sites like Indeed and Monster aren’t always safe either, as there have been complaints about fraudulent job postings on both.
If you’re unsure about the site’s security or at all hesitant to share your address, don’t share it. Your safety and peace of mind come first.
You Might Be Discriminated Against
Let’s face it. Unfortunately, there is a lot of stereotyping, bias, and discrimination in the world. And while it is illegal to discriminate during the hiring process, it still happens all the time, whether intentional or not.
Every city or town has its “rich” neighborhoods and the “bad” neighborhoods where there is more crime, low property value, and a lot of judgment about the people who live there.
If you live in one of these “bad” areas, a hiring manager might make a negative association about you and either reject your application based solely on these assumptions or look for other reasons to reject it.
This is wrong and shouldn’t happen. A recruiter should know better and have systems in place to help prevent it.
But we all have biases. And sometimes, we aren’t even aware that we have them. (Not that that’s a good excuse.)
And of course, some people will knowingly discriminate against an applicant based on things like their address, name, or level of education.
How Do You Prove Discrimination?
Discrimination is, unfortunately, easy to get away with. It’s virtually impossible to prove without concrete evidence or a confession from the employer.
No one will tell you that you didn’t get the job because you were discriminated against. Most places won’t give you any explanation at all as to why you were not the successful candidate, let alone the candid truth.
If you suspect you were discriminated against, you would need to hire a lawyer and sue the company. (Who can afford that?!) And then prove that the ONLY possible reason you were passed over for the job was because of discrimination. Trying to prove that there wasn’t a single other applicant that was even slightly more qualified than you would be impossible.
Many years ago, employers used your mailing address to mail you the relevant documents and correspondence needed during the hiring process. Nowadays, everything is sent over email instead.
Most online applications will require you to include your address as part of your profile. So from a practical standpoint, including your address on your resume is redundant.
It’s a Waste of Space
Your resume has only 6 seconds to pass the glance test. Your name and contact information are typically one of the first things a recruiter will notice, as it’s right there front and center.
Of course, you want them to remember your name, but I doubt you want them to remember what street you live on. There are much more important details about your skills, experience, and accomplishments that you want to be remembered for.
From a formatting perspective, removing your full address can keep your resume to one page and make it more visually appealing and scannable.
If you are willing to move for a job or are already planning to move and are applying for jobs in the new city, including your current physical address on your resume might mean it ends up in the trash.
Some companies are reluctant to hire people from out of town because it’s typically faster and less expensive to hire someone local. A local candidate can usually start working much sooner and won’t ask for relocation costs.
Hiring someone that is moving specifically for the job can also be seen as a risk. What if they don’t like living in the new city? How long will they stay before they are looking to move again?
Employers Don’t Need It (Yet)
An employer doesn’t actually need your address when you’re applying for a job.
They won’t need it until they have interviewed you and are seriously interested in making a job offer and want to run a background check. They will ask you for it when they need it.
Why You Should Include Your Address on Your Resume
There are also circumstances where including your address can help you, and not hurt your chances. Here are some of the reasons you might decide to keep your address on your resume.
You Live Near-By
Do you live close-by to the office or place of business? If so, including your home address could be seen as favorable.
The assumption is that you’ll be more punctual and focused at work, and will be less stressed than those with a longer commute.
You Live in a “Good” Neighborhood
Positive discrimination also exists. It may not be fair, but if a potential employer sees that you live in a good neighborhood, they might be more impressed.
There is a Strong Sense of Community Around the Job
I landed my first job after graduation because I grew up in the area and understood the community’s needs. I heard that this is what our manager said set my job application apart from the rest. They were looking for someone local with strong community ties and not someone who would be living here for the first time.
Employers Expect To See It
Leaving information off your resume can raise questions for hiring managers.
Are you trying to hide something? Do you not pay attention to detail? Are you the type of person that’s going to “break the rules” or not be able to follow simple instructions?
Yes, many assumptions are happening here, but traditionally speaking, people expect resumes to look a certain way.
You Don’t Want an Incomplete Application
If the company is using an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to screen applicants (which most do), your address might be set up as a way to filter resumes. So there is a chance that you are accidentally screening yourself out of the running by leaving it off.
Unfortunately, there is no way to know what keywords or criteria a company will use. (But there are other options, which are covered next!)
You also don’t know what their internal application process is. I realize this might sound ridiculous, but if the company has a record-keeping system that requires an address to create a file for you, they may skip over your resume and cover letter because they can’t add you to their system.
Examples of How to Include Your Address on Your Resume
Your resume has to have some contact information on it. And most online applications will require you to put something in the address field.
So what are your options for doing this safely without risking being rejected for the job?
1. Use Your City & State
One of the most straightforward solutions is to exclude your full street address and list the city and state (or province) you live in.
2. Use Your City, State & Zip Code
Adding your zip code (or postal code) can help narrow down the area you live within your city, but doesn’t explicitly tell anywhere where your house is.
3. Use Your Region
If these options don’t work for you, consider using your region instead. It gives hiring managers a general idea of where you live without being too specific.
4. Relocating to City & State
If you are relocating, you probably don’t have an address yet to include. In that case, you should include the city and state you’re relocating to, along with the date you anticipate moving. It’s up to you if you want to add your current address or not.
You should also mention this in your cover letter and let potential employers know what your relocating plan is.
5. No Address or Location
Lastly, if you choose not to disclose your location at all, be sure to include a phone number and email address where an employer can reach you.
Deciding whether or not to include your address on your resume seems like one of the last things job seekers should have to fret about. But if you have privacy concerns, there are suitable options to use that don’t involve disclosing your home address.
YOUR TURN: What do you think? Do you use your full home address on your resume or one of the variations mentioned?
Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.