Lately, I've been noticing that more people are omitting their address or other contact info from their resume (OK, grammar police...take it easy). I think that because we live in a world where much of the job search process is done on line, many people think that an address is not necessary. As a recruiter, this is a little frustrating but probably not for the reason you would expect. Technically, where a person lives doesn't really matter to me. One of the first questions we ask folks outside of our local area is whether they are open to working in Redmond. We end up asking the question to most candidates that we talk to anyway. So living in a city outside of the Seattle metro area really isn't something that I would use to rule a candidate out.

The problem with resumes lacking contact info is that when you work for a company that receives about five thousand resumes a day, there are a lot of people out there with the same names (or similar names). Also consider the fact that when recruiters search a database for a candidate, they often truncate some of the first name (not sure whether Joseph is entered as Joe, you search on Jo* to get both). So when we are looking at candidate records, a simple search can pull up a lot of folks. What is the other data entered into the system that helps us weed through these lists of candidates to find the right one? City and state and e-mail address. Looking through a list of similarly named candidates, it's the piece of info that helps us zero in on the right person (if you submit a resume, move and then submit a new one, we can capture that info and change the address on your record). For example, if I was looking up my name, I would be looking for the Heather Hamilton of Redmond, Washington. Without the city and state info, the recruiter could have to pull up each resume individually to review the background of each person to figure out which one is me. That is not fun. (This applies to looking for candidates by name, not keyword searching resumes, by the way)

So if you include your address and e-mail address on your resume, it helps us get to you faster. A few other pointers with regard to contact info on your resume:

-I would recommend using a lifetime e-mail address if you have been offered one by a university, alumni or professional organization. While addresses may change over time, a lifetime e-mail address stays the same. This helps us stay in touch with you over the long term, even though you decided to switch from AOL to MSN (I'm just saying!). You can have all of your e-mail from your lifetime account forwarded to wherever you are at the time. Makes you more find-able to recruiters.

-If you are an international candidate, please consider the fact that we (recruiters) may not dial international numbers all that often ( I may only be speaking for myself here) and include all of the numbers that we would need to dial to reach you (please don't forget that country code).

-Since many recruiters work off the digital version of your resume, there is a good chance that a recruiter would be giving you a call without printing out a copy of your resume. Putting your contact info in a header creates an extra step for the recruiter to be able to view it. Ideally, a recruiter should be able to view the entire document without having to take any extra steps. Using a header may result in a prettier printed copy, but I know that I generally only print out resumes of candidates that I am interviewing in person. By then, you've already got my attention.

Couple more things...

-This isn't about the contact info, but one more thing I'm still seeing a lot of on resumes is people not explaining what their company does or what their product is (if they are in a product focused role). This is info that recruiters care about...so don't forget to include it. Even if you think it's obvious.

-And also remember that when a resume is scanned, formatting is lost and the scanning is from left to right. If you want to see what your resume will look like in our database, save it in a .txt copy and view that. That cool formatting you did may actually end up working against you. Graphics will be lost (feel free to submit both a .doc and a .txt copy if you want recruiters to have a pretty copy and also a text copy to scan). I'm not a big fan of graphics, because I like resumes to be as simple and straightforward as possible (the info should speak for itself), but I am sure there are some creative fields where one would be more likely to include graphics.

I'm not sure if December is the official month to clean up one's resume (nice and quiet at work, thinking about that new year's resolution), but it wouldn't be a bad idea to do it now if 2005 could bring a career change for you.