Personal Information and Privacy: When to Put Your Address on Your Resume

By LiveCareer


It's easy to get so caught up in trying to work out how to write a resume that'll win you an interview that you forget to give proper thought to the smaller, more mundane details -- the bits and pieces that go into the header, for example. Your street address is one such detail. Owing to our historical reliance on snail mail to communicate, it's been standard practice for many years to include a home address on your resume, and so many of us still do it today without even thinking.

But is it still necessary in an age when all aspects of the hiring process are managed online? And is it still a good idea, considering safety and privacy issues? We tackle the topic here.


The threat of identity theft

Your greatest cause for pause when considering whether to include a full address on your resume should be the fear of falling victim to identity theft. For anyone who's not yet familiar with the term, it refers to attempts to gain unauthorized access to someone else's personal information, often in order to commit fraud or other crimes under the guise of a stranger's name. It's not something you want to happen to you -- the consequences can be dire -- and it's a lot more common than you might think. In fact, a recent study found that a whopping 16.7 million U.S. consumers were impacted by identity fraud in 2017 alone.

Job seekers are also especially at risk. This is because perpetrators often target individuals on the hunt for work because they tend to be fairly willing to hand over private data in the process of trying to secure a new position. We all know to be careful when shopping or banking online, but we're often less cautious when trying to advance our careers.

To avoid the risk of having your private details stolen, many experts argue that it's best to leave information like your street address off your resume. Of course, there might be certain situations in which you feel fairly safe adding these sort of details -- if you're emailing your application directly to a hiring manager with whom you already have a relationship, for instance. It's fine to trust your instincts, but your default should be wariness.

It's especially important to put privacy first when uploading your resume to a public job board or database. In the same way you wouldn't advertise your physical address on Facebook, you shouldn't publicize it on any other digital platform either, even if you trust the website and your details are password protected. There's always the risk of hacking, and you could be making yourself vulnerable to scams too. If you feel it's important to include sensitive data, make the effort to contact the relevant company to apply directly -- something you should probably consider doing either way.


A waste of precious real estate

Aside from protecting yourself against identity theft, another reason not to include your full address on your resume is that it's simply no longer necessary. In 2019, all correspondence tends to happen digitally, and no hiring manager needs to know exactly where you live in the early stages of your job search. Considering how times have changed, employers might even consider the addition of a complete physical address to be a bit archaic, which won't reflect well on you and your ability to keep up with trends.

When space is of such importance -- as it is on a resume -- you don't want to waste any with unnecessary information. Sure, a street address is only a few lines, but when you're trying to get a two-page document down to one, every little bit counts. So, think carefully about whether you really need to disclose all the ins and outs of your location, and if not, axe them to save precious real estate.


What if keeping your address private could hurt your chances?

It is true that hiring managers might want information about your general whereabouts so that they can assess whether you're locally available or not. Generally, employers want a candidate to be based in their area (unless remote work is an option), and they'll probably also want to know how near you are to their offices for the sake of in-person interviews and assessments.

If that's the case, and omitting your entire address would hurt more than help you, then you can, and absolutely should, include just your current city and state. Adding only these details shouldn't make you vulnerable to identity theft and won't take up much space either.

If you're job hunting outside of your current city because you plan to relocate (or are at least open to the idea), still include your city and state, but note in your resume summary statement and cover letter that you are willing to move to the target city.

A basic version of your address should suffice earlier on in the application process. If a prospective employer really needs your precise house number and street name for paperwork purposes, you can always disclose this information later on once you've met the hiring manager in person and are closer to being offered the job.


How to write a resume header

As a reminder, here's how you would set up your header to include just your city and state in place of a full address on your resume:

 

  • [Full Name] (in a slightly larger font size)
  • [City, State]
  • [Phone number]
  • [Professional email address]
  • [Website/portfolio URL] (if applicable)
  • [LinkedIn profile URL]

 

If you'd like additional guidance on all things resume, let LiveCareer help. Use our resume formats page for guidance on how to format yours, or put our resume builder to work, and get top-to-bottom writing assistance with the construction of your resume.



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