Monday, January 24, 2011

Citizenship Status on Resume?

As a resume writer, I have a lot of international clients, U.S. citizens working overseas, and foreign nationals seeking work in the United States, so the topic of citizenship on a resume comes up quite a bit.  Is it appropriate to include your citizenship status on your resume?

"Yes and no."

When pursuing a position with the federal government, it is a requirement to list citizenship and visa information on your resume.  A federal resume differs significantly from and includes many more details than a corporate resume.  The federal resume format will include your social security number, salaries for every job ever held, and the names and phone numbers of all former supervisors too.  Point of interest: your social security number is required by law (Executive Order 9397) for application to any federal government job.  Your citizenship and social security number will be listed at the top of page one of your federal resume.

Regardless of your right-to-work or citizenship status, you do not need to include it in a corporate / civilian resume.  In fact, avoid listing anything in a resume that is not directly tied to the position to which you are applying.  You would not include your knitting club membership on your banking industry resume - it is not relevant to the position.  Neither is your gender, age, race, religious beliefs, height, weight, eye color, marital status, nationality, or citizenship.  It may be against the law to discriminate based on any of these items, but don't be naive - it does happen.  Don't include it.

It is illegal to discriminate based on national origin, however, it is not illegal to discriminate against people who are not legal to work in the U.S.  If you are an American citizen or other legal-to-work individual not currently living in the United States, you may want to establish and use an American address.  This will help to indicate your legal ability to work in the U.S. and be less confusing.

If you are not an American citizen and require immigration support, you don't necessarily want to advertise that in your resume.  Employers want the most return for investment they can eke out of their employees.  Therefore costly immigration, visa, and relocation fees could be seriously dissuading no matter your skills and experience level.  On the other hand, if you do have the right to work in the United States, it may benefit you to list this information.  Any citizenship, visa status, or language skills will go at the very end of your resume.

The answer to this question greatly varies with industry, job type, and company marketplace.  If you are unsure, provide the information only if it's requested in the job posting.  Your best bet is to seek professional consultation.  A certified professional resume writer will not only help develop a customized, attention-getting resume package but will help you traverse the ever-changing job search highway.

Want to talk to a professional resume writer to help you develop your strategic job search marketing campaign?  Click HERE to email Ramsey Penegar.


Ramsey Penegar is an executive resume consultant and is certified as a  professional resume writer by the Professional Association of Resume Writers.  She has developed more than 700 resumes for executives all over the United States and for international clients as well.  With more than 10 years experience in marketing and sales, she has the skills to build effective job search marketing campaigns and attention-getting resumes.

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