"This Could Make Or Break Your Job Application" — Experts Are Sharing The 1 Thing You Should Avoid On Your Résumé

A collage-style image featuring a person walking away, surrounded by torn pieces of paper with words "address," "resume," "address," "highlights," and contact information "123 Million Street, Atlanta, GA 12345; 800-000-5678."
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As a job seeker, it is frustrating when your amazing résumé gets no responses. There are many reasons outside of your control as to why you’re hearing silence, but one clear reason might be because of your address.

That’s because the address you list on your résumé –– or lack thereof –– can rule you out of contention before you have a chance to make your case to a hiring manager. 

Ashley Watkins Thomas, a job search coach, said that when she worked as a corporate recruiter for on-site jobs, her “spidey senses” would kick in when she saw résumés with no address listed at all.

“When you intentionally leave pertinent information off of your documents, we know you’re hiding something,” Watkins Thomas said, noting that the missing information signals that you likely live out of town.

“You’re saying that you live in Florida, yet your experience section says that you’re in Tennessee, so which is it?” she said recruiters will question.

So the first mistake is thinking you can get away with listing no address for hybrid or fully onsite jobs. On the other hand, how you word your address can also be a dealbreaker for certain jobs. Here’s why:

Your local address can make or break your job application. 

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Jessica Hernandez, a career development coach with more than 10 years of human resources experience, said for remote jobs, “the only element that will matter is the country.” In those cases, you just need to clearly state that you’re based in the United States for a U.S.-based role, for example.

But you will need to be more specific for hybrid or on-site jobs. Hernandez said the biggest résumé mistake she sees on listing an address is not including a local address when they’re open to relocating.

“If a recruiter is looking for a local candidate and the person has an address that isn’t near the location, for instance ... then this candidate may be excluded from the search,” she said. “I’ve heard of many job seekers who struggle to relocate because their current address is on their résumé instead of the address for where they are relocating to.”

To work around this, Hernandez recommends using the address of a friend or family member in the area where you hope to relocate. And if you do not have a trusted friend, “you can always get a UPS box at a local UPS store, and it will give an actual street address,” she advised.

Watkins Thomas, however, said it is better to be transparent about where you live and to avoid using other people’s addresses. She said an employer could find out your location through a background check, and you will come across as “being dishonest.” Additionally, being upfront about where you live can make you eligible for potential relocation benefits, “because companies will make changes for who they want.”

Recruiters often exclude candidates outside of a certain radius because the job requires local connections. They also might assume you will not be able to start working within a tight timeframe.

To counter that, Watkins Thomas said job seekers can signal their readiness by including a sentence at the top of their résumé alongside contact information that says: “Willing to relocate by July 2024.” And you can reinforce this message with more details in your cover letter.

Saying too much about your address is also a mistake. 

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One other big mistake is listing your full street address on job applications that do not require it.

You typically just need a city, state, and zip code for recruiters doing location-based searches, experts said. With a full street address on a résumé, recruiters can make assumptions about your race and socioeconomic status, Watkins Thomas said.

It’s OK to leave off your small town in favor of a more well-known metro region, though. Watkins Thomas said some of her clients in smaller towns have gotten callbacks after saying they live in the “Atlanta, Georgia, area,” for instance.

Don’t give more than one address, though. Watkins Thomas said she commonly sees college students put both a permanent and current address, which she advises against doing. For one, it clutters your résumé, and “when things are cluttered, we’re more likely to skim over them and not pay any attention to them.” Additionally, it’s a signal that you are a new graduate entering the job market for the first time.

“A lot of times, that’s a dead giveaway that you’re a college student,” Watkins Thomas said. “And you don’t want people focusing on the fact that you just graduated; let them focus on things like the value that you bring, the problems that you solve.”

How you can greatly increase your odds of getting interviewed.  

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You can spend hours agonizing over the exact wording of your résumé, but Watkins Thomas said that candidates who need to relocate have a much stronger chance of getting interviewed if they network with people who can advocate on their behalf.

“If it’s your target company, you should already be building those relationships and already having those conversations,” Watkins Thomas advised. In these informational interviews, you can ask them, “Are you familiar with the hiring manager and whether or not they have specific requirements about location?”

“If you have someone on the inside who has some influence with the organization, they can vouch for you and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got this person here, they’re easy to relocate,’” Watkins Thomas said. “They can help tell that story for you and advocate for you versus you being just among the number of résumés received for a particular position.”This article originally appeared on HuffPost.