Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Addresses - or not - on Resumes

A recent college grad wanted to know what address to put on her resume. Here's the situation:

She has an address in Georgia on her resume but she staying with her father in Northern Virginia, and looking for work in Washington, DC. She wondered if she should change her address on her resume to VA, leave it as GA, or leave off a street address altogether? Her phone number has a (703) area code which is Northern Virginia.

My response:

If she intends to work in DC, she should use the VA address or leave off an address all together. It's great that she has the VA area code, and that alone with an e-mail address will convey that she is from this area. It's important to signal that she is from the area, which implies that she knows the local environment, vibe, politics.

The GA address would be a hindrance in this instance and economy. People in DC are just as bad as folks in NYC (and other major cities) - if you're not already from here, you can't possibly know how things work here, be as good as we are, or get up to speed fast enough. So you start off with a disadvantage.

In this economy, with so many great people looking for work, an out-of-town person may not even get an interview. And that's the point of a resume and cover letter - to get you an interview. Once you get in the door, you have a better chance of impressing people and moving along in the hiring process.

Of course, it's also possible to be considered, through some serious networking. A recent client of mine relocated to NYC from Portland, Oregon. His resume didn't have a street address, just his cell phone number, e-mail address and LinkedIn profile link. It was impossible to hide where he was from, however, because he worked for the county and that was throughout the resume. So he networked his way into informational meetings and interviews for posted jobs, and eventually got a great job.

The twist was that the job he eventually got was for a higher level job than the one for which he was initially considered. We believe it's because he was from Oregon that New Yorkers had a hard time believing he had the high-level skills he really does have. Once people met him, they realized how great he was. He was willing to take the lower-level job to get a foot in the door, and that attitude opened some doors for him. Fortunately, the person interviewing him recognized his expertise and ability and proposed him for a new, as-yet unposted position.

Contact information can deliver subliminal messages to those who read your resume. So think about the message you want them to receive.