Why You Should Never Put Your Address On Your Resume

Recruiters are looking for every reason to put your resume in the "no" pile. Surprisingly, where you live is one of them.

Of all of the mistakes you could make when putting together your resume, you likely wouldn't consider including your home address as one of them.

But for many recruiters where you live is a potential red flag. The problem: the commute your address suggests.

That’s according to Donna Svei at Avid Careerist. Her insight:

You might not have thought about it, but in-house recruiters know that people with long commutes have more stress and often eventually quit "because of the commute." If you quit, they don’t look good AND they have to replace you. That’s more work, with no more money, for them.

The slow-boiling terror of the commute has been born out by research: behavorial scientists have found that somebody with an hour-long commute needs to make 40% more than somebody who walks to work. Bonus tip: long commuters are more likely to get divorced, too. No wonder recruiters count the commute so hard.

"When you put your address on your resume, believe me, they do the math," she continues. "If your commute would be longer than what’s tolerable long-term, your resume often finds its way into the 'maybe' or 'no' pile."

what to do about the commute if you’re already in it

If you’re already in the throes of a long-distance commute, there are plenty of ways to make it productive: if you’re taking the subway to work, you can load up your smartphone with awesome articles (like those from Fast Company, natch) or bring an actual book with you. Drivers can get erudite by listening to books on tape or get calm with guided meditations. And either can sidestep the rush-hour stress part of their commute if they work the first few hours from home or a café—letting you glide to work with much less exhausting hassle.

What to do about that commute if you’re applying for a job

If recruiters are going to discard your resume for having a too-far address on it, then don’t put your address there. Instead, Svei says, put your most recent employer’s city location only.

To Svei, going with this strategy gives your employer-to-be enough information to say that you’re local while not spilling the beans if you’re not local enough.

Or you could just move closer to the job. Research suggests it’ll make you happier.

Image: Shutterstock

Hat tip: AvidCareerist

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  • Steve Pecoraro

    I enjoyed this article as I am a considerable distance from my big city and I am looking for work inside that big city. Currently have a 45 min. commute. I was just researching this topic and am currently considering not including my actual real address, instead the address of my current employer, considering that would be more of an appropriate geo-based consideration on my resume. However, I do believe your message was very narrow focus. I believe paying more in square footage (with less space) to be closer to the city (which wasn't talked about) versus paying less for space (and having more of it) + a short and productive train ride, isn't quite the same of a trade as you had noted regarding the cost of a longer commute. What is the cost of paying more for rent? Also, I would hope employers are not using the address other than for application and human resources purposes. If I am applying for a job, that means I want the job. That means I have the means to come on site to work.

  • William Munoz

    This info is wrong...never worried about where they lived...only if was going to be a problem getting to the company on time...for all I knew the applicant may be looking to move to this area...in all the past jobs, companies, never once, did the question of where I live come up...there are lot of reasons your resume gets dumped, this is at the bottom...this is poor advise.

  • Michael R Moore

    Drake, while it was a good article, i would have too agree with Mr. Munoz. I've been submitting resumes for decades now, and any question of commute would have come up usually after the first or second interview, and it's usually then where I would elaborate any questions as to whether the commute was too long, or any other problems

  • As others in the business have mentioned, this advice is flat out bad. Resumes missing the address are automatically filtered to the 'maybe we'll look at this later pile' (which in reality never gets looked at) since a critical piece of information (location) is missing. Don't follow this advice if you are a job seeker.

  • Having worked for Fortune 10's and 50's, resumes without addresses were deemed as incomplete and non-responsive, and were immediately trashed. Would you really rather have the question asked of you as candidate withholding something?

  • Oddly enough, when I was recruiting, it was the candidates that turned down opportunities because of the commute, not the employers.

  • Sam Bendall

    umm...I would rather they put it in the "no pile" and not waste my time by asking me 5 questions with the 6th question being where do you live and have that be the excuse for not hiring me?

    Let them have my address. It's where I live now, it doesn't mean that where I'll live if I take the position. Maybe the new job is worth the move and I'll tell you, my resume, my experience, my skill set invalidates my "current residence". Also, even if i have a long commute I do it on an amazing motorcycle and every mile on a bike is a stress-reducer in my opinion. Rock On!

  • "Recruiters are looking for every reason to put your resume in the "no" pile. Surprisingly, where you live is one of them."

    Uh....as a recruiter, this is probably one of the dumbest statements I have ever read.

    If we're looking for every reason to put your resume in the "no" pile, how exactly are we supposed to keep our jobs? Recruiters are looking for every reason to put your resume in the "YES" pile - and if your commute is far, you should be honest about it instead of wasting both your and the recruiter's time. Most recruiters are willing to overlook the distance if the candidate is OK with making the trip. The only thing that varies is the client's preference, and if they have had negative experiences in the past with people taking a long commute. Honesty is the best policy, and that is what will take you far and help establish relationships between you and recruiters. All this is doing is encouraging people to be passively disingenuous.

  • Bit odd to assume that you don't live in a desirable neighborhood and within a close commute?

    I could be an issue for some, but for many the address could be an asset and provide reassurance.

  • There's another potential drawback of putting your address on the resume. If you live in a part of town that is not considered desirable by the talent acquisition, that can also get you in the 'no' pile. I've seen hiring managers do that even though it's not ethical or legal. If you live in one of the more segregated cities in the country, it opens up the possibility of discrimination. Unfortunately it's hard to tell if that's happening behind the scenes but it does exist.

  • This seems to be a pretty narrow issue. The headline reads, "Why you should never put your address on your resume." But what if you DO live close to the potential employer? Then it becomes an asset. And if the employer is truly concerned with a long-distance commuter, that will come out sooner or later regardless of whether you put it on your resume. I suppose if you're trying to get your foot in the door for a job that's a hike for you it makes sense so you're not automatically disqualified. But I'd imagine some employers would become suspicious of address-less resumes when looking for reassurance that they're evaluating a local candidate and not one who lives cross-country and is trying to fake living locally so they can sneak in. At any rate, like many issues of what one should or should not put on a resume, this is nuanced and largely a crap shoot based on individual preferences of the person reading the resume. Saying "never" is pretty silly.

  • MTL

    I had great difficulty convincing my first employer that I'd be able to make it to work. He seemed to think the bus would be unreliable. It was very exhausting to get to work (2 hour commute on two different bus lines), but that was my problem, not his. I was tired for the first half of my shift, but what are you going to do? I didn't earn enough to save up for a vehicle until about 4 years later, still working at that same job. It can be tough for both parties if you live in "bad" area. FYI, the driving time for the same route is 20minutes, but if you don't have a car, well...you play the cards you're dealt.

  • Kami Guildner

    Interesting! Not something I'd thought of before from a local perspective. I've got a client who travels from Denver to SF every week as a commute.. that's really a commute! But I'll remember to pass this onto clients who have more local commutes - in that hour range! Thanks!