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Written by Karl KahlerKarl Kahler

Should I put my address on my resume?

11 min read
Should I put my address on my resume?
Artwork by:Nadiia Zhelieznova
Do you still need a mailing address on your resume in the digital age? The answer is yes, no, and maybe. Here are the pros and cons to consider about telling employers where you live.

Thirty years ago, nobody would have ever asked whether you should put your address on your resume – of course you should! But also, 30 years ago email was nowhere near as ubiquitous as it is today. 

Yet the digital revolution, which developed at dizzying speeds in the 1990s, made the World Wide Web, online access, and email available to virtually everyone. As part of this process, physical mailing addresses became less important, because suddenly you could send a letter (or a resume) without addressing an envelope.

Today, the question of whether or not to include your address on your resume remains a somewhat contentious issue. In this blog we’ll explore the pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision. Here’s what we’ll discuss:

  • The purpose of an address on a resume
  • The reasons why a hiring manager may prefer to see this information
  • Situations where including address may not be the best choice
  • Our recommendation about whether to include an address on your resume

Pros of including an address on a resume

There are several arguments to be made about why it may make sense to put your address on your resume:

1. Employers may expect to see it, as it's historically been a traditional part of a resume

Prospective employers may review your resume and wonder: Did you forget to include your address? Did you think it was unimportant? Are you trying to hide something? For example, are you applying for a job in Chicago but you actually live in London and you don’t want the employer to know?

An entirely omitted location is likely to be noticed, potentially raising questions and doubts. What if you were that employer in Chicago, and you received two identical resumes, but one had a Chicago address and the other had no address? Wouldn’t you feel a bit more comfortable dealing with the Chicago applicant, with no unknowns about where the person lives?

2. If you live close to the company, this provides reassurance. 

If you’re applying for a job in Miami and you live in Seattle, you can’t just drop by for an interview. The employer may have to spend time and money to fly you to Miami and meet you in person — and if hired, possibly pay for your relocation costs. 

There's a time cost, too — it may take weeks or even months for you to pack up your home in Seattle, move across the country with your family and all your stuff, find a new place to live in Miami, move in and get settled, and find your way around.

But if you’re applying for a job in Miami and you already live in Miami, none of those concerns apply. So why not let the employer know? 

Also, in many fields a knowledge of the home base can be a big advantage. If you’re a sales rep, a hairdresser, a mechanic, or a dog groomer, you may be able to bring some of your clients from the old company to the new one. If you’re a delivery driver, you already know your way around town. And if you’re a reporter, you’re already up to speed on all the local news.

3. The employer may need your address to create an applicant profile, to do a background check, or for other reasons.

Eventually, most employers will need your mailing address anyway to mail your W2 forms, benefits information, your first paycheck, or even a holiday card. 

That means that if you make the cut and find yourself in the hiring pipeline, you’re bound to be asked for your address. It can make sense to display it on your resume to make this part of the process quicker.

4. To avoid unwanted surprises.

What if the moment comes when your prospective employer in Dallas asks for your home address, and it turns out you live in Paris? 

“Paris, Texas?” 
“No, Paris, France.” 
“Wait, WHAT?!”

Or perhaps a New York company really likes your (address-free) resume, has done a video interview with you, and is seriously thinking of hiring you. But only late in the game does it emerge that you actually live in Singapore. This can cause issues with not only costs and relocation, but also work visas — and the company may be flat-out unable to hire you if you don't already have a US visa. 

If they think you've attempted to deliberately obscure these facts, you won't score any points for being up-front and transparent. 

One way to handle this is by including relevant information such as a willingness to relocate. That way, it's clear to the employer that you are actively planning to move and aren't trying to surprise them. You can also include visa information if it's relevant. 

Example resume header for relocation & visa

John McDonald

[email protected]

15 School Lane, Reading RG61 7XU (Relocating to US)

Dual US/UK Citizen

Copied!
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Cons of including an address on a resume

On the flip side, there are several reasons why you might not want to include your address on a resume.

1. Concerns about privacy or safety.

You may have reasons to keep your street address private out of concern for your personal security. Perhaps you have a stalker ex, or you may be a millionaire who doesn’t want people casing your mansion. Maybe you fear identity theft or — who knows? — you may be in the FBI’s Witness Protection Program!

Even if none of those apply, many people post their resumes on LinkedIn or other global job boards that are accessible by anyone. It's your right — and a safer choice — to keep your home address private. 

One option is to create an address-free resume for posting publicly, then use another resume with an address to contact a company privately. 

Another idea is to rent a post office box. Nobody will know where you live, but you will have a mailing address on your resume for employers who want one. That said, this choice costs money and time, so it likely isn't worth it. 

The best option, however, which also helps avoid the “unwanted surprises” mentioned above, is to provide only your city and state. An employer in Toronto, Canada, may be reassured to know that you live in Toronto, but you haven’t provided enough info for any unwanted guests to show up at your doorstep. See the below example:

Example resume header with city & state

John McDonald

[email protected]

234-456-6679

Cleveland, Ohio

Copied!

2. If you live too far away, it may be a turnoff.

The reasons cited in the second "pro" point above can cut both ways: If you do live far from the employer, it can be a strike against you. Maybe they don’t want to fly you in for an interview, they don’t want the expense or lag time involved in a relocation, and they do want someone familiar with their area.

Without being deceptive, you can opt to exclude your address from your resume for these reasons. You want to be judged on your merits, not your location, and perhaps you’re confident that when managers see what a good fit you are for the job, they won’t care where you currently live.

3. You don’t want to fall victim to biases about where you live.

It’s illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race or national origin, but there are certain cities (or certain zip codes within cities) that are known for having specific ethnic or socioeconomic demographics. While it's never right to hold a negative bias based on this type of information, it's unfortunately still something that happens.

If you live in an area some see as "the wrong side of the tracks," it makes sense to keep your address (including city or zip code, if you feel it makes a difference) private until the employer has already made a decision based on your merits. 

4. You are a remote worker whose location doesn’t matter.

Although remote work is less prevalent as we shift further away from the start of the pandemic, there are still plenty of companies open to hiring remote workers. If you are a “digital nomad” who can work from anywhere, your mailing address is less relevant than ever. And if the company is remote-forward, they're not likely to try and send physical mail, anyway. 

Just think: the article you are reading now was written, illustrated, edited, and put online by a team working across four different countries — the addresses are irrelevant!

If that’s the case with you, there’s no need to provide a mailing address. But we still recommend providing at least a city, state, and/or country — if only to keep track of time differences for all those Zoom calls.

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So, should you include your address on your resume?

In most professions, no, you don't need to include your full mailing address on your resume. It opens you up to privacy issues and biases, and it's frankly becoming a bit old-fashioned.

Instead, be up front with employers by providing the information they actually need: your general location (city, state, perhaps country), any relocation plans or openness, and work authorization if that is in question. This will avoid surprises, keep most employers from making snap judgments, and still keep your privacy intact. 

Key takeaways: the bottom line

  • There is a lot of confusion about whether it's best to include your address on your resume or leave it off. There are plenty of arguments for both options.
  • While addresses on resumes have traditionally been the convention, times are changing. Most employers won't mind if your resume doesn't include an address.
  • Ultimately, your resume will stand or fall for more important reasons than whether you include your address. For more guidance on resume preparation, see our comprehensive guide on “ How to write a resume.

And whether you’re Mr. Transparent or Ms. Incognito, best of luck in your job hunt!

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