This installment in my how to write series focuses on resume mistakes and how to fix an error that might be preventing you from getting work.
I’ve been self-employed as a freelance writer and editor for almost two years. I didn’t plan on this career course, and never leaving my living room, but being laid off from a full-time job in September 2016 thrust me into this professional life.
In those 20 months, I’ve applied for at least 100 full-time jobs. I’ve stopped counting, to be honest. From those 100+ resume submissions, I’ve had one interview. That’s it.
No exploratory phone calls.
No emails inquiring more about my work experiences
Not one single request for more writing samples or references or emails to just grab a cup of coffee.
I’ve reshuffled my resume, created a freelance-focused resume to highlight my accomplishments, spent hours on my LinkedIn profile and even gone so far as to mail hiring managers crisp $5 bills just to take a look at my cover letter. In one case, I had to settle on a half a roll of quarters. The other half of the roll went into a washing machine.
“How the hell do you not have a job?” is a question that more than a few colleagues and friends have asked and my answer is usually some version of “I HAVE NO F%@!*@# IDEA!” I didn’t mean to yell, but the washing machines at the laundromat are loud.
Then the other day I stumbled across this article on Forbes. Here’s an excerpt…
“I finally got fed up with my job and started job hunting. Six weeks went by and I didn’t get one response. I was really surprised because I know my skills are current and it’s not that easy to find people with my experience.
Finally, I heard from a recruiter. He was really helpful. He said, ‘Are you getting much response from employers?’ I said, ‘No, honestly I’m not.’
He said, ‘I showed your resume to two of my clients. They like your background but they’re concerned about one thing.’
I said, ‘What is it?’ He said, ‘It’s your location.'”
The applicant lives 45 minutes away from the city. The recruiter explained that companies are hesitant to hire people who live so far away from the office. “They worry that you might not make it into work when it snows, or there’s any kind of weather,” the recruiter explained.
A majority of the writing jobs for which I applied were in New York. I live in southern New Jersey, an hour train ride away. The trains in my area are usually a hot mess. So much of a mess that this happened.
MORE WRITING ADVICE
My New Resume And Learning From My Mistakes
I can’t be sure, but there’s a good chance that people see my address on my resume, realize I’m more than an hour away from the office and will most likely have to take the train and quickly slide my resume into the “NOPE” pile.
Every resume template includes an address line. It’s just something job hunters have filled in since forever, without ever thinking twice. But in 2018, with telecommuting and rampant identity theft, is an address on a resume necessary at all?
Liz Ryan, the Forbes writer, had this advice for the applicant. “Get a P.O. box in the city and use that P.O. box on your resume instead of your home address. If they ask you on an interview, ‘Where do you live, exactly?’ you can say, ‘I’m staying in the suburbs while I’m job-hunting. Once I get a new job I’ll figure out where I want to live.'”
But just like everything in life, there’s a pro and a con, and there a few reasons to keep an address under your name in the resume header.
“When reviewing a resume, the applicant’s address is one of the first things I look at. Finding someone who is committed and excited about not only the company but also the community, is very important,” explains Tom McCarthy, a senior director for Townsquare Media.
“For example, if someone living in Atlanta, Georgia is applying for a position in Twin Falls, Idaho, I know to ask about their motivation. Is it their hometown? Do they have family in the region? Will they be committed to the position and the community, or is this just a pit stop in their career? Are they applying for any position even close to their target job without regard for the location? Did they do any research on the company at all before applying?”
If you’re currently hunting for a new job, consider deleting your place of residence if it might be keeping people from going the next step and reaching out for an interview. If you’re applying for positions right in your own hometown, maybe keep the address line intact.
I removed my address from my resume.
Let’s see how this works out.
In the meantime, does anyone have extra quarters? I’ve still got an entire pile of towels to wash.
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