When you’re listing your contact information in the header of your resume, you may assume your street address is part of that. And for a long time you would’ve been right. But in our increasingly online world—when’s the last time a job you applied to sent you snail mail?—you might wonder if you still need to put your full street address on a resume. The short answer: No.
However, it’s still a good idea to list your location on a resume, meaning your city, state, and zip code or the metropolitan area where you live (i.e. New York Metropolitan Area).
Read on to find out why and how exactly to list your location—plus, what to do if you’re applying to a job in an area where you don’t currently live.
“The best practice in the U.S. is to omit” your full address from your resume, says Muse career coach Emily Liou, former recruiter and founder of Cultivitae. Since the job application process no longer involves sending and receiving things by mail, there’s little reason companies need to know your full address before hiring you. Even if it’s a job that requires a background check (for which a full address would be necessary), that will be done later in the hiring process, long after the step where you’d submit a resume.
There are a few reasons to leave your full address off a resume:
- You might look behind-the-times: Much like the phrase, “References available upon request,” adding a full address could look outdated, says Muse career coach Barb Girson, and may make the person reading the resume (often subconsciously) feel like you haven’t looked for a job in a while or aren’t keeping up with current trends. You might be particularly concerned about giving this impression if you’re an older job seeker, but you’ll want to show you’ve done your research no matter what your age.
- You might open yourself up to bias: Adding your full address to your resume could open you up to additional discrimination or bias if a recruiter or hiring manager has preconceived notions of the neighboorhood or area where you live—or the people who live there. And one of your goals when job searching is to remove “opportunities for biases to be triggered, even unconsciously,” Girson says.
- You might unintentionally disqualify yourself: If you live in a neighborhood or area that’s farther than ideal from the job you’ve applied for—or the area where you live is known to be difficult to get to—a recruiter might assume that your commute would be too long or that you’d have trouble getting into the office on time.
- You might risk your security and safety: When you share private information, like your exact home address connected to your name, phone number, and email address, there’s always a chance it could fall into the wrong hands. The ramifications of the wrong people or entity getting this info can range from spam mail to identify theft to a threat to your personal safety. During the job hunt, the risk is highest if you’re uploading your resume to a job site where it can be viewed by anyone or if you’re unwittingly applying to a job scam. “Don’t submit your address or location if you suspect or even have an inkling the posting is fraudulent. Better to be safe than sorry,” Girson says.
There are a few exceptions where it may make sense to include your full street address on your resume. If you’re applying to jobs outside of the U.S. and Canada, your full address is often a requirement, Liou says. Some federal government jobs will also require a mailing address on your resume (the government is one of the few entities that still sends snail mail to applicants). And for some jobs—a local delivery job, a community advocate, or a school crossing guard, for example—living in the neighborhood might work in your favor, Girson says.
Even if you’re not listing your full address on a resume, adding your location “helps recruiters and hiring managers make decisions about their workforce” says Muse career coach Matthew Ford. So if your location makes you a better potential hire, you should share that information. For example, some jobs have long hours and are centered around your presence in the office, Ford says, so showing you live in the area might signal, rightly or not, that you’d be more available to make this work than someone who lives much farther away.
“Local candidates are the safest candidates,” Liou says. Companies always want to identify local talent first because there’s no need to wait for them to relocate or to pay a relocation package. You’re also less likely to leave if you don’t have a long or difficult commute: One survey found that 23% of workers have quit a job due to a bad commute.
As such, many recruiters will start to narrow down the pool of applicants who applied for a job by searching within a few miles of the office’s city or zip code in the applicant tracking system (ATS), Liou says. ATSs are the programs many recruiters and companies use to keep track of applicants and to search submitted resumes for certain keywords or attributes, such as your geographic location. (Note that it’s legal to search for applicants in this way as long as the intent or effect isn’t discrimination against a protected class, such as race, gender, national origin, and more.)
If you’re applying from outside of the area, but are open to relocating, Liou still recommends including the city and state of the company on your resume, along with “Relocating to” or similar language. (More on how to do that below.)
Leaving off your location completely in this case is risky since recruiters will be able to get an idea of where you live regardless. “If we look at their education and last workplace to notice they are out of state it might raise suspicion,” Liou says. Not having any location listed can be a red flag for recruiters because they don’t know whether an applicant realizes the job is not in their area or if they’re willing to relocate, Liou says. “These objections can be eliminated by putting that statement right at the top.” Without any location on your resume, you may also get left out of any ATS searches the recruiter or hiring manager might use to narrow down the pool.
If you’re not looking to relocate and want to see if the job can be done remotely, you should be up front about it in your cover letter.
When applying to fully remote positions, you might think that where you live doesn’t matter. However, “Companies [still] want to know where you intend on working from,” Liou says, for a number of reasons. Even if you’re not working in an office, the company may only legally be able to have employees in certain countries or states for tax and other reasons. Some companies also prefer employees to be in certain time zones to align with their work hours. Ideally, these requirements would be in the job description, but that’s not always the case.
Don’t leave your location off your resume in hopes the company won’t find out. Before you’re hired, any reputable company will verify your address and eligibility to work—possibly by requiring a notary or other authorized individual to view your documents. Even if you get through the hiring process, you can’t omit your address from a tax form, which you’ll need to fill out in order to get paid!
Above all else, definitely don’t lie about your location, Liou says. You can be terminated or have a job offer revoked for lying. (And if you lie on a tax form, the IRS will have something to say about it as well.)
If you’re including a location on your resume (and you generally should), it belongs right at the top with your other contact info (your phone number and email address at the bare minimum). But exactly how you should write it depends on your situation.
If You’re Local or Applying to Remote Roles
If you’re local to the company and within easy commuting distance, your best bet is “[City], [State] [Zip Code]”—since recruiters often search by zip code—or just “[City], [State].” For fully remote roles, one of these two options also makes the most sense.
Boston, MA 02125
If the City in Your Mailing Address Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story
Note that in some areas your “city” may not immediately communicate to recruiters how close you are to the office. For example, in some boroughs of New York City, the city part of your mailing address is your neighborhood—maybe it’s “Flushing” in Queens, for example—which a recruiter might not immediately recognize. Or your city might border a larger one, but be fairly small and/or unknown. Or maybe you’re in a suburb but planning to commute. In these cases, Liou strongly suggests including your zip code. Or you could write “[City] Metropolitan Area.” Consider what information would give a recruiter or hiring manager the quickest sense of where you’re located.
Baltimore Metropolitan Area
If You’d Need to Relocate
For applicants who would need to relocate to take a job, you probably shouldn’t list your current location. Instead, you’ll want to find an accurate way to list the location you’d be moving to. How you do it depends on your situation. “If you are outside the area, strive to address the questions the hiring agent may have in advance,” Girson says.
If you’d relocate to the area where the position is located only if you got the job, consider writing, “Open to Relocating to [City, State of company].”
Open to Relocating to Chicago, IL
If you’re definitely relocating to the area, try “Relocating to [City, State of company],” and if you have a date or time frame in mind, even better!
Relocating to New Orleans in September 2021
If you’re willing to or planning to pay for your own move to the area where the job is located, you can also indicate that on your resume by subbing in “self-relocating” for “relocating” in any of the previous examples. Or you might mention this in a cover letter (yes, employers still read cover letters!).
Self-Relocating to Los Angeles Metropolitan Area in Summer 2022
However, whether or not you need to state you’re willing to self-relocate depends on your experience level. “If [you’re at the] entry level, I would write a cover letter stating that you’re looking to independently relocate. If [you’re] higher up, where $5-10K in relocation costs would be relatively immaterial, then I don’t think it matters,” Ford says. For an entry-level role, relocation costs will be more significant percentage of the budget a company has for the position than they will be for experienced roles. Plus, for higher-level roles, skills and qualifications are more specialized and as a result the talent pool is smaller. A company is more likely to be able to find someone local (i.e. cheaper) to fill an entry-level job.
By stating you’ll fund your own move, you’re not necessarily disqualifying yourself from relocation help, Liou says. “You can still negotiate for a relocation package—it never hurts!”
Remember, everything on your resume should be tailored to show why you’re the best candidate for a given position. While your address has little to do with your qualifications, your location—or willingness to change it—shows recruiters that you’ll be where you need to be to do the job.