Why You Should Always Put Your Address on Your Resume (Even If You Live Far Away)

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017 - Resume

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Should you put your address on your resume? If you live out of town, it’s a tricky question.

When you’re applying for jobs out of state, using your resume to break into the local job market can be be a challenge. If you’ve ever had your eye on a job in another city before, you’ve probably struggled with this issue. Between navigating the job market in a new city without connections (or a permanent address) and trying to cut through the mounds of in-state applicants already ahead of you, getting past the job posting and into the hiring manager’s inbox can feel impossible. Thankfully, there’s a solid resume hack out-of-state applicants can employ to, well, get employed.

Why Including Your Address Isn’t Optional

According to Carolyn Thompson, executive recruiter and managing principal at Merito Group, whether you already live in the state in which you’re applying for jobs or are angling to relocate after landing a position, your address should always be included on your resume. While it might seem old-fashioned in today’s digital-first world to include your snail mail contact info, Thompson says there’s one critical reason you should keep your street address listed: not doing so might get you knocked out of the running.

Many applicants choose to scrap their out-of-state address for fear of looking difficult to employ in the eyes of hiring managers. (Even if a candidate is willing to move on their own dime, the mere possibility of having to bring someone in from out of state is enough to turn some recruiters off … especially if they have to foot the relocation bill.)

Add in the fact that resume space can often be pretty limited, and the address easily becomes one of the first items to meet the chopping block. And although scrapping the one-liner might seem like no big deal, Thompson says these days, leaving it off — even if you’re trying to conceal that you’re not yet in the area — might actually do more harm than good.

“Applicant tracking systems match by ZIP code,” Thompson explains, “and all recruiters use [location] as a top priority field. Most usually search within 15 miles — sometimes 25 miles.”

Why include your address on your resume? Not doing so might get you knocked out of the running. Click To Tweet

The Resume Trick That Can Help You Get Your Foot in the Door

Given that most recruiters and major companies use applicant tracking software to sift through candidates, Thompson says that not including your location on your resume makes the ATS more likely to skip over you altogether. That doesn’t mean you have to take yourself out of the running, though; for applicants open to relocating, including an “objective statement” outlining a willingness to move, accompanied by the city’s ZIP code, can make all the difference.

To make things even clearer, Thompson recommends including a specific move date (if you have one) to clear up any worry on the hiring manager’s side. And of course, put them way up at the top to grab the recruiter’s attention. 

As she tells it, something to the tune of, “moving to XYZ area effective XYZ date,” is key. Specific phrases like, “willing to relocate,” can also help applicants get flagged by ATS software, though Thompson says it “doesn’t always solve the ZIP code search issue with companies or outside recruiters.” For the most part, it’s best practice to include the ZIP code of the city you’re looking to wind up in (with some context) somewhere on the resume.

Why Location Still Matters

Even if the company in question doesn’t use applicant tracking software, it’s usually still in the candidate’s best interest to make their location known on a resume. Despite the fact that many employers are becoming more open to remote work situations these days, Thompson stresses that at the end of the day, location and proximity are critical to landing a job.

“It’s all about location, location, location,” she stresses. “Where you are is key to being able to do work for people more than 70 percent of the time. There are remote work opportunities as well, but the majority of jobs still require you to be located in or near the actual work location.” 

Thompson also reasons that different locations might need different types of skillsets. Houston, for example, is a city known for attracting and grooming oil and gas professionals, whereas a place like Minneapolis might not be in the eyes of the recruiter. Including a location on your resume might work in your favor in this instance, especially if the city is a mecca for the sort of job you’re looking to land.

The same sentiment holds true for cultural fits, too. While it might be an unfair judgment to make, someone from a rural area code might have a tough time fitting into the pace of an urban mecca (or so some recruiters might think).

Of course, if an applicant does make it through the ATS screening round, it’s usually easier to bring up the relocation conversation during, say, an in-person interview than during email correspondence — though it’s not unusual for hiring managers to inquire about it right off the bat. Still, Thompson maintains that honesty is the best policy, and that most hiring managers are willing to be flexible for the right candidate. Who knows? There might even be a relocation bonus waiting on the other side.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you ever used a trick like this to get your resume through the applicant tracking system? We want to hear from you. Tell us your story in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

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