Pros and Cons of using a fake address for job applications
June 25, 2013 3:12 PM   Subscribe

I've just kicked off a job search, and am mostly looking for jobs outside of the city in which I currently reside. I'm considering changing my address on my resume so that it shows that I'm living in the cities in which I'm applying to jobs. Is this a good idea?

I live out west, and am applying to things that are mostly in D.C. and New York. I've only been at the job hunt for about a month, but so far have yet to hear back from any of the numerous places I've applied. I know it's a tough market, and this is certainly a contributing factor, but it has recently been suggested to me that another factor also may be the fact that I'm applying for jobs far away from the city I currently live in. I've made it very clear in all of my applications that I am available to come out for an interview if given a couple of days notice, but I'm wondering if I should just change the address on my resumes so that it looks like I live closer to the jobs I'm applying for. I have friends who live in both of these cities, who have told me that they're fine with me using their address on my resume if I want to.

I would just move, but I just finished a grad program and need a little time to rebuild my bank account doing some temp work here before I pick up and move to a new city without a job already determined, so while I'm sure some of you will suggest that as a course of action, believe me, I know. I just can't do that for the next couple of months unless I know I've got a job lined up already.

Any thoughts on whether or not using a fake address is likely to be helpful, or potentially get me in trouble?

posted by tokaidanshi to Work & Money (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I can't imagine that lying on a resume is ever a good idea.

Are you going to maintain the lie during the interview? After you get hired? Unless you're willing (and able) to deceive your coworkers into believing that you've lived in their town all along, and possibly to maintain that lie for years, you'll eventually be found out. Not a good look.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:15 PM on June 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Don't put your address on your résumé. Get a google voice number with an east coast area code for the resume.
posted by tilde at 3:19 PM on June 25, 2013 [15 favorites]

You probably won't get in trouble, but you might cheat yourself out of a moving bonus. I was hired during a pretty tough period and still got a fairly fat relocation bonus for moving from out of state. At some companies it's automatic.

Also, I just don't think it will be easy to keep up a lie like this during interviews. You'll be asked a lot of semi-personal questions and it will be hard to present a consistent story of someone who already lives in DC or NYC.
posted by telegraph at 3:23 PM on June 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Just take the address off.
posted by Jairus at 3:28 PM on June 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

While I always try to prescribe that honesty is the best policy, theres nothing saying that you arent putting your friends' address on a resume while youre looking for work because you're hypothetically crashing with them, not necessarily a long time resident.

I think the major roadblock would come if someone called you in for an immediate interview since you're "right down the road" and you would have to further the lies to explain why you can't make it in.

Something like a friend's address to get you by the HR screen doesn't seem like a big deal, but in a worst case scenario, it opens the door for beginning a professional relationship based on a web of lies, that if found out, could seriously tarnish your image and mark you as untrustworthy.
posted by Debaser626 at 3:30 PM on June 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Here's the deal. You can get away with putting a friend's local address, and (if it comes up) telling the grey lie that you're staying there while looking for jobs if: 1) you can fly out for interviews with 36 hours notice and 2) you never make it the employers problem when you do have to move.

And yes, realistically, you need to be about a 20% better candidate if you're not local, at least for most generalist-type jobs.
posted by mercredi at 3:37 PM on June 25, 2013

I have always ONLY put my city/state, phone, and email on my resume. One reason is for safety. Another is that people can look you up and evaluate your pay based on the area you live. Another is that if you include a zip on things like Monster you can get kicked out for being too far before an employer even looks.

I say include just your city/state, or just your state, or no city/state. Mostly they want to just know how to contact you so just your phone and email should suffice. If they ask where you live in an interview, tell them, and inform them that transportation or relocation is already taken care of.
posted by Crystalinne at 3:42 PM on June 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

You're loosing out on a potentially nice chunk of money if they're the kind of place that pays for relocation.
posted by not_the_water at 3:59 PM on June 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Alison Green of Ask A Manager does sometimes recommend doing this - if you read not only her posts about it but also the comments you'll get a sense of how people do this and how well it's worked for them.

I've personally almost always been hired out-of-state, never tried to hide it, and negotiated or received moving expenses/bonuses each time (though some offers have had duration-of-stay agreements attached to the relocation pay).
posted by vegartanipla at 4:22 PM on June 25, 2013

Most resumes I see now have only an email address and a phone number on it. With the fact that pretty much everyone has a cell phone and people move a lot but keep their own numbers an out of town area code doesn't even register on me.
posted by magnetsphere at 4:42 PM on June 25, 2013

I always borrow or pick a local address and it's never been a problem, however, I'm also content to handle my own flight/travel arrangements because I'm picky as hell about that kind of thing.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:15 PM on June 25, 2013

One thing you could do is to list two addresses:

John Smith
mobile phone: 111-111-1111
home address: Town, CA
local address: Town, MD

This makes it obvious that you're not "settled" in CA and opens the door for questions, to which you say that you already spend time on the east coast and are ready to move as soon as you have a commute to plan your location around.
posted by aimedwander at 6:48 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

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