Applying for a job has never been easier, thanks to the multitude of online job boards and career sites available to the job seeker. Plus, with the lowest U.S (4.5%) unemployment figures that we’ve seen in a decade, some employers are having to ease up on their requirements in order to fill vacant positions, as the talent pool gets smaller.

All this sounds spells good news for the job hunter, however, the painful irony is, that for every job posted, there can still be upwards of 200 candidates all praying their resume will win them an interview.

With the competition so fierce and the prize so valuable, it’s no wonder that job hunting can feel like the most unrewarding game out there, especially if you don’t fully understand the rules.

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And as a close friend recently complained to me said ”It’s like not knowing the rules to Poker, and trying to beat a pro” 

You see, employers and recruiters are still firmly in the driving seat and will only interview the top 2% of candidates, leaving the other 98% wondering where they went wrong.

So, just before we get onto how to stop your zip code ruining your resume, let’s run through a few of the other resume rules to help keep you in the game!

The rules every job hunter needs to know…

To begin with, your resume needs to be right on the money.

And that means targeted. 

With so many applicants, resume vetting has become almost an art form and the smallest of errors will see you packing.

A cookie cutter, generic, shot in the dark resume, certainly won’t help you get in the top 2%.

You see, recruiters and hiring managers have seen them all. A Google.doc template and some hopeful buzzwords and clichés, will not only irritate the hell out of someone and be happily be rejected by the computer vetting systems. 

You’ve got to think like an employer and focus on what they are actually looking for in an ideal candidate. You got to ask yourself ...

What type of candidate would you pick for the job posting you’re applying for?

Look at the job description and really hone in on the keywords they are using. Identify those keywords and use them in your resume.

What skills and experience would the role require and what proof can you provide to let the hiring manager know that you’ve got them?


Yes, not just your previous duties or skills like Ms. Excel proficient…(resist mentioning that skill by the way).

Measurable proof in the form of accomplishments.

Where have you accomplished tasks or projects and got a specific, measurable result that is relevant to the job description?

For example, you might have found a more cost-efficient office equipment supplier and saved your department money by negotiating better terms.

The measurable accomplishment might look like this…

“Identified, negotiated and implemented a 20% reduction in office costs across 3 departments resulting in a $330,000 budget surplus requirement”.

If the job role requires someone with a track record in negotiation or budget reduction, you’ve just hit it out of the park! 

Plus, if you can add context to your accomplishments, i.e the circumstances in which you managed to achieve those results…you’ve then created your hero story.

How will my Zip Code crush my interview chances?

The job market can certainly be tougher in some places than others, so deciding to relocate can be an inviting prospect, especially if your dream company is based there.

But, here’s the thing.

If you were an employer would you:

A/ Hire someone local, who has the qualifications, knows the area and is settled.


B/ Hire someone from another city or state, who has the qualifications, who may end up moving back, can’t make friends and may miss their families.”

There are no prizes here!

Untitled design (83)You see, there at the top of your resume in the contact details you’re going to have to put your address, zip code, and telephone number.

Remember that computer vetting program I mentioned earlier?

Well, even if you attach a cover letter to your resume, explaining that you’re moving to the xxx city to live with your grandmother, that zip code will almost certainly be enough to get your resume rejected. 

Those vetting systems will probably filter out your application because you’re out of the radius of the job post. You could be the best candidate for the job but your resume won’t even get to be seen by a human. 

So what’s the answer?

No no no my friend, lying is not an option on a resume!
However, expanding on the truth is.
If you’re moving to live with your grandmother, then put her address and zip code in your resume and invest in a  voice mail number or service with the area code of the location you are planning to move to.
Or, if you don’t have a grandmother in the city you’re moving to…

A/ Borrow one … you’d be surprised what you find on Craigslist (just joking)

Or better still…

B/ As your mailing address, use a Post Office box, a relative’s house, or a mail service that provides a street address.


This same rule applies if you’re looking to be found by recruiters in that city/state, as they will often filter out candidates who live outside of a certain job post radius.

There you have it!

Now you know why having the wrong zip code can stop you winning that job interview and how to prevent that from happening.Untitled design (77)
But don’t stop there!

I’ve got another SEVEN priceless strategies to help get you in the top 2% of candidates, ensuring your resume lands you an interview.
Just click the button below and download the 7 Step Checklist for free….

As the founder of Arran Pullen Career coaching, Arran has worked with career professionals and job hunters since 2007. As an accredited coach and NLP practitioner, he provides a safe sounding board for his client's ideas and provides resources, strategies, and techniques to help them to exceed their career goals. His articles have appeared in various e-zine sites including and LinkedIn and focus on practical techniques to help professionals land their next job. Arran designs online courses and job landing tools that further support job hunters negotiate the job searching maze.