Once you’ve chosen whether to be vaccinated for COVID-19, you may have another big decision to make if you’re looking for a job: Should you put your vaccination status on your résumé?
While some employers are still figuring out whether they want to require all of their employees to be vaccinated, it does appear that vaccination status already is affecting the choice of who gets hired. According to a survey of 1,250 hiring managers conducted by ResumeBuilder.com, 33 percent of respondents said that they would automatically eliminate résumés that didn’t include COVID-19 vaccination status.
Including your vaccination on your résumé may not only help you get past the first cut with hiring managers, but it may also boost your chance of getting the job, according to the survey. Among the hiring managers who participated, 69 percent said they are more likely to hire an applicant who already has been vaccinated.
“Some employers are simply dismissing applications that don’t indicate whether or not the candidate is vaccinated against COVID-19,” says Amanda Augustine, a career expert at TopResume, a company that has partnered with AARP for the Resume Advisor service. “Think of it this way: If you don’t list the details of your education on your résumé, employers will assume you haven’t earned a degree. Based on recent data, it appears some employers are applying this same logic around the presence or absence of a vaccination status on a candidate’s résumé.”
More job postings include vaccination mandates
As workplace vaccination mandates expand, hiring managers are more likely and willing to take an applicant’s vaccination status into consideration. For example, the Ladders website recently reviewed 3.8 million job postings on its platform and found that the number that included a vaccine mandate grew significantly this year, from slightly more than 100 postings with vaccine requirements in January to more than 2,300 such postings in August.
“The fact that any job postings mention a vaccine mandate is astounding,” Ladders CEO Marc Cenedella said in a statement. “Employment requirements and preconditions are normally included in employee handbooks, not on job listings. Plus, we know that not every employer mandating vaccination includes that in the job description. So, this is truly just the tip of the iceberg.”
According to current federal guidelines for workplace safety during the pandemic, employers likely would not be considered to be discriminating if they evaluate résumés based on vaccination status, as long as they make allowances for applicants with sincerely held religious beliefs or medical conditions that prevent them from getting vaccinated. The federal law governing the privacy of personal medical information also does not prohibit employers from inquiring about vaccination status.
These federal vaccination regulations are being challenged in courts, and some state and local governments have enacted their own laws regarding vaccination mandates. What’s clear right now is that many employers are thinking about vaccination status when they look for applicants.
How to use your résumé to show you’re vaccinated
While the role COVID vaccination status plays in the hiring process is still taking shape, there already are some practices job seekers can use to share that information with hiring managers.
For example, if you choose to disclose your vaccination status, make sure to list it near the top of your résumé so employers can see it quickly. And use terminology that is likely to be recognized by any software programs that might be screening résumés before a person sees them. For example, use the words “vaccinated” and “COVID-19” or “Covid 19.” Avoid terms like “vax,” “vaxxed” or any of the other expressions people use in conversation or on social media.
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“Disclosing your vaccination status on your résumé and other job-application materials is a personal choice,” says Augustine. “However, if you’re vaccinated against COVID-19 and comfortable sharing that information, it’s best to add this detail to both your résumé and LinkedIn profile so you are less likely to be passed over for opportunities by employers who have prioritized that requirement. It can be as simple as adding the blurb 'Fully vaccinated against COVID-19’ at the end of your résumé’s professional summary and the summary section of your LinkedIn profile.”
If you’re adding your vaccination status to your résumé, consider also using this moment as another opportunity to review how well your résumé matches the skills listed in the description of the job for which you are applying. Just as your résumé should include keywords from the job posting that also match your skills, it also should reference any details the employer provides about the health and safety protocols for its employees and workplace.
And, whether you’re vaccinated or not, it also would be wise to review your pages on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram to make sure you haven’t posted content that might conflict with potential employers’ positions on the vaccines or mandates.
What to do if you’re not vaccinated
Many employers already are requiring their workers to be vaccinated, and that number could grow significantly in the months ahead. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recently released guidelines that, starting Jan. 4, will require all businesses with 100 or more workers to have all of their employees either vaccinated or taking weekly COVID-19 tests. And at all health care facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid, all workers will have to be vaccinated, without the option to be tested weekly instead.
Although this federal mandate faces several legal challenges, many large employers are enacting vaccination requirements of their own. That means that if you are not yet vaccinated, you may need to be more selective in your job search process.
“If you are not vaccinated, your best bet is to target opportunities with smaller companies who won’t be affected by the new mandate [or] that don’t mention a vaccine requirement in their job listings,” Augustine says.
You may also want to explore remote-work opportunities or work that mostly is outdoors, where your vaccination status may be less relevant.
Kenneth Terrell covers employment, age discrimination, work and jobs, careers, and the federal government for AARP. He previously worked for the Education Writers Association and U.S. News & World Report, where he reported on government and politics, business, education, science and technology, and lifestyle news.