Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Address Yourself - Street Addresses on Resumes

With nearly limitless information available on the Internet, protecting one’s identity has become a necessity. Identity thieves prey on those who are not safe with their personal information, inflicting significant economic and emotional harm on their victims. With a large amount of personal contact information traditionally contained on it, the resume has become a point of contention in recent career strategy. Should information-particularly the street address-be omitted for the sake of information security? And could listing the street address make you a less desirable candidate? Below we’ll focus on this issue and I’ll offer reasons why maintaining tradition shouldn’t be so trepidatious.

Don’t be indiscriminate: One of the arguments against putting a street address on your resume is that you do not want a group of strangers who view it on the Internet to know where you live. This advice baffles me, not because of its logic but because I can’t recommend to any job seeker to simply post a resume online for the world to see-whether a street address is on it or not. Resumes are to be targeted toward a specific job or a specific industry; simply posting it online, to me, indicates a lack of job search savvy and sophistication. You might as well walk around with a sandwich board on your shoulders saying “hire me!” YOU control who sees or does not see your resume, so distribute it to specific companies who are looking for specific positions to fill. Do not just allow it to be viewed publicly in the hope that an employer will happen upon it.

Address bias: Another reason/rumor I hear to remove an address from a resume is “address bias,” where a recruiter, human resources rep, or hiring manager will discriminate against candidates by making assumptions about their skills and work habits based upon socioeconomic characteristics of their neighborhood. Socioeconomic status is not a protected class, so legally a company can, in theory, practice this type of discrimination. But let’s say that you find out that a company does do this…would you want to work there? The hiring practices of a company speak to how it treats human capital, be they candidates or employees. If you fret to put your street address on your resume for this reason, put it on there anyway and consider it insurance against the bad companies out there that don’t deserve your talents.

Illusion of anonymity: Simple reasoning will lead you to the conclusion that your street address can easily be obtained via an online background check or even a simple Google search. There was a more difficult but no less effective way to do this in the near past: the white pages. Don’t give employers any reason to throw up any kind of red flags regarding your candidacy: protect your birth date, social security number, and invest in a diamond-cut shredder to destroy important documents, but your street address is-and should remain-a must on your resume.

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