Years ago when I was building resumes, I’d routinely add the address of the applicant. Just like many people today, I never gave the matter any thought to be quite honest; it was a given.
With the passage of time, it has now become my norm to first look at where the applicant lives in relation to the potential employer, and determining the proximity of the two from one another guides whether I add the address. After all, if a person is within a few blocks of the employer, it’s a huge advantage for the employer to see how close they live and this bumps up their credibility when they claim they’ll be able to be depended on to show up for work. Conversely, living 50 – 75 km’s or more away could play into the fears of an employer that this applicant will have attendance problems due to weather, traffic, etc.
Distance isn’t the only factor; an address has the potential to set off preferences and prejudices in the mind of anyone considering an applicant. Do they live in a nice or poor part of town? Was there a bad news story of late involving people on that street and could this have involved this applicant? Unfair? Sure. Does it happen? Yep.
So now I ultimately leave the inclusion or omission of a person’s address up to them in the end after having explained potential pros and cons of each and giving them my opinion.
Once a résumé includes the address, the full disclosure should be equally presented in the cover letter, and applying online where it’s an option to include is a non-issue because it’s been consistently shared both in the cover letter and resume.
The problem comes when the preference is to withhold the street address in both the résumé and cover letter; and do be careful to omit the address in the cover letter if that’s your résumé strategy otherwise it’s rather pointless to offer it in one of two documents you send. So where’s the problem? The online application.
Yes, I’m seeing more and more that online applications have mandatory fields which applicants must complete to send their application, and one of those mandatory fields? You guessed it; street address. So your snookered. Rats! Foiled again!
You’ve been smart to withhold this information on your résumé, wanting to eliminate being unfairly prejudiced from receiving an interview solely based on where you live. Of equal frustration is the fact that you can’t tell whether the online application will require your address or not when you first start the process. Sometimes the online application is to simply upload the résumé, fill in a name and phone number field and click, ‘submit’. Done.
However, if you’ve done many applications via the internet, you’ll see other applications have you fill in much more information and you can’t advance to the next page and get to the, ‘submit’ button unless you complete the mandatory fields – one of which may be your street address. There is no way now for any Employment Coach, Job Counsellor or Resume Guru to bypass this Human Resources Department guided, online application trap.
Give them credit; employers are catching up to what they see as needed information. Now taking me for example, I live in a community that is a 95 km, 1 hour commute to and from my employer. My attendance record for over 15 years has been excellent; in fact have a look at my LinkedIn profile and you’ll see I’ve included Attendance Awards as evidence of my reliability. Still, were I applying today and openly shared the distance factor, I wouldn’t even get more than a 4 second consideration with many employers. No chance to share my dependability in an interview or my online profiles; time dictates they aren’t going to invest any of theirs in looking further into my candidacy.
Now I’ve read articles and comments across social media where the discussions are to add or not the address. Some say include the city you live in or the zip/postal codes. I come down on the, ‘withhold this information’ camp. Where I live shouldn’t impact on my dependability – that’s my problem and I either have a strong work ethic and accountability standards or I don’t. Some people live 10-15 km’s from a workplace who won’t make it in on poor weather days or are consistently, ‘running late’ for other reasons. Distance isn’t the only cause that determines reliability.
I’d love to hear suggestions, advice, ideas etc. on if and how there are ways to bypass submitting addresses online when the fields are mandatory. To me, it seems to be an insurmountable obstacle.
Once you get a job offer and you’re signing on, sure that’s the time to give personal information like address, Health and Social Insurance Numbers etc. In an interview you may reveal your address if asked outright – but you got the interview without revealing it didn’t you? You can market your strengths and if reliability is one of them, prove it, making distance a non-factor in their mind.
Blind resumes; one’s that conceal name and address to end preferences and prejudices, may become more mainstream to mitigate such factors. However, someone in the organization is aware of these as they remove them for others who do the hiring. I wonder if the ones blinding the resumes don’t themselves have preferences and prejudices however.