Sobhan Mohmand, Career Expert 1 January 2024
A common question we are often asked is,
“Should I put my address on my CV?”
The short answer is, yes.
A traditional CV must contain the following personal details of the applicant:
Your home address can be a positive trust indicator that you are local, established and settled in a particular location rather than being always on the go or not having a permanent address.
In recent years, however, some people have cited personal privacy and identity theft as reasons for not including a postal address on a CV.
This guide will briefly explain the pros and cons of putting your address on your CV and advise you on what the best course of action would be for an applicant in your situation.
Let’s get started!
There is a general agreement among recruitment experts that a conventional CV’s personal details section should include the applicant’s postal address alongside their name, telephone number and email address.
For example, Corinne Mills, a well-known career expert and HR executive, has produced a comprehensive checklist of what personal information to include or omit from a CV in her book You’re hired, how to write a brilliant CV, pg. 21.
Each entry is either marked “include”, “do not include” or “optional”.
As can be seen from the table above, address is listed under “include”, which means that this information should be on a CV and shouldn’t be omitted. The fact that is not listed under “optional” further reinforces the importance of its inclusion.
In a traditional CV, the top part of your CV is reserved for your personal details such as your name, telephone number and email address.
Including your home address in this section is and has been standard practice since the invention of CVs.
It’s usually best to stick to a standard CV format that is familiar to employers. Don’t make your CV stand out for the wrong reasons, particularly when your job or livelihoods are at stake!
If you live locally to the job you are applying for, including your address on your CV may add some additional value to your application as some employers give preference to local applicants over those that commute long distances to work.
Sometimes, your address can give you a tactical advantage, e.g. when you are applying for a job as a teacher in a school that is very close to where you live. Showing them that you are a ‘local’ will play to your advantage as employers sometimes give preference to local applicants over those that commute long distances to work.
Ideally, it shouldn’t matter whether you are commuting for 10 minutes or an hour; as long as you get to work on time and fulfil your duties, it’s all good.
However, we do not live in an ideal world and sometimes personal preferences, biases and judgements affect our decision-making. In this case, you can use this to your advantage.
Having an address on a CV can be an excellent trust factor.
It shows to the prospective employer that you have a permanent place to live (rather than being on the go all the time), do not have something to hide by omitting it and that you follow a standard CV writing convention which is adopted by the vast majority of applicants.
This will also enable the employer to focus on the information that really matters on your application; your skills, qualifications and work experience.
Putting an address on a CV has been shown to potentially introduce elements of negative bias into the selection process.
As previously stated, some employers prefer to shortlist local candidates instead of those that live far away and have to commute longer distances.
An employer might think to themselves, “They live there? That’s too far away. They will never make it to work on time!”
In an ideal world, if you have the right experience and qualifications for a senior and well-paid role, it shouldn’t matter whether you live in an affluent suburb of London or in a deprived neighbourhood in Manchester.
Employers should only judge you based on the skills, experience and added value that you bring to the organisation, regardless of your background or in which neighbourhood you live in.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world.
It is a sad reality that the area in which you grew up in or live in can affect the way people perceive you and deal with you.
Some applicants have claimed that they have faced discrimination simply based on the area in which they live in. Although it is hard to confirm these accounts, there may be some truth to them.
An employer might think to themselves, “They live THERE? Terrible part of town. Next CV, please.”
In order to avoid discrimination, some applications may understandably decide not to mention their address on their CV.
It should be noted, however, that these are isolated cases that only apply to a small minority of employers. Most employers couldn’t care less where you live, as long as you can demonstrate that you can do the job.
The prime space in your CV, is the upper half, of the first page of your CV.
Some have argued that you shouldn’t fill up this precious space with information that doesn’t add value to your application, i.e. your address, particularly if you’re struggling to cut down the length of their CVs to 2 A4 pages.
Furthermore, successful applicants will be required to provide all their personal detail, including their full address, to the HR department at a later stage in the recruitment process so this information is redundant.
In recent years there has been a significant rise in identity fraud crimes.
This has made many people wary about disclosing any of their personal or sensitive details in public, including their places of residence on their CVs.
Before deciding to omit this information from your CV, there are a number of ways in which you can write down your address without disclosing your exact location:
Approach 1 – Omitting the street name and house number
Approach 2 – Omitting the street name, house number and postcode
Both these approaches will keep your personal details safe and at the same time inform the employers of your current living circumstances.
It’s a great solution!
However, if you’re still not happy and feel anxious, you may omit your address entirely from your CV, provided that you have included your telephone number and email address as contact details.
If you are applying for a job which is very far from where you live, it may be useful to add some context to explain how you will get to work every day.
If you are willing to relocate, add a short statement to this effect next to or under your address at the top of your CV. Indicate which areas of the world you would be prepared to work in; for example, ‘Prepared to relocate within the UK.’
Other phrases you can use:
If you do not have a secure or permanent place to live, find an address that you can use for correspondence. Perhaps a friend or family member would let you use their address so that you can receive mail (including your employment contract) in a secure place where it can easily be retrieved regularly.
If you’re a student living in short-term student accommodation, give both of your addresses, labelled “current address” and “permanent address”.
The address on your CV should be written as concisely as possible, consisting only of your house number, street name, city and postcode.
Things not to include:
The following is a good example of how to present your address on your CV:
288 London Road, Leeds LS3 3EG
Mob: 07976635294 Email: [email protected]
What makes this a good example?
Bad example 1
64 Victoria Road
What makes this a bad example?
Firstly, it takes up a lot of vertical space – five lines! That is five fewer lines that could have been utilised for more important information.
Remember, the maximum length of a CV is restricted to just two A4 pages so every little bit of space on your CV is precious, especially on the first page.
Secondly, the address is made to be one of the most prominent components of the CV, which it clearly isn’t. Yes, it will make it easier for the employer to quickly identify on which street of Chester the candidate lives but that won’t increase their chances of securing a job interview!
Employers are much more interested in a candidate’s skills, abilities, experience and education rather than in where they live.
Bad example 2
89 WESTMINSTER STREET, NOTTINGHAM NG3 8DL
What makes this a bad example?
Using all capital letters for sentences is never a good idea, especially on formal documents such as CVs.
Research suggests that capitals are harder to read than lowercase.
Furthermore, all caps are mainly used for emphasis. By using all caps for your address, you divert the attention of the employer away from more important information such as your education and work experience.
FINALLY, WRITING IN ALL CAPS MAKES IT APPEAR LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING, WHICH IS USUALLY CONSIDERED TO BE RUDE.
A standard CV should contain the applicant’s address, alongside their name, telephone number and email address. Based on a recent HR survey, 93% of candidates included this information on their CVs. It serves as an excellent trust factor and employers usually expect to see this information on CVs.
For those applicants who are worried about personal privacy and identity theft, they should shorten it (i.e. remove the street name and door number) so that it does not reveal the candidate’s exact place of residence.
Good luck with your job hunt!