I just had a conversation with someone around this very question. As a recruiter, I can tell you that we do look at where someone is located when reviewing his or her resume. Some of us will even screen you out if you’re too far away and we don’t offer relocation (I’ve done it). And it’s that fear of being screened out that leads some folks to put the local address of a friend or family member. I completely get it. However, you’re not fooling anyone when you do this. A quick look at your work history will tell us where you are — especially if you’re currently employed. Also, a review of your LinkedIn profile will tell us what area you’re in unless you fudge that too.
You could hide the location of your jobs and leave your address off your resume all together. Yes, it could get you a call and the opportunity to prove yourself. But once the recruiter finds out where you really are, there’s a good chance he or she will feel swindled. Why lead with deception?
I’ve written about looking for a job in a new city before. It’s definitely tough. But rather than agonizing over what address to use (You can put no address if you’re really pressed), you should be focused on making sure your resume hits all the requirements and ideally the desirables for the job. You even have the flexibility to adjust your job titles to make them more fitting. For example, I used to have the title “Talent Associate.” When I was on the hunt, I changed that to “HR Generalist” or “Recruiter & HR Generalist” both on my resume and LinkedIn profile. Those were my primary responsibilities and more likely to be searched for or viewed favorably by whoever’s taking a look on the other end.
Also, your cover letter is a great place to assuage any concerns about location. You can say you have a plan in place, but don’t talk about being ready to move at your own expense. It could cost you money should you make it into the process and get an offer. Even if there’s not a formal relocation package, they may be able to do a sign-on bonus or something else creative.
So yeah, stop wondering “should I put a local address on my resume” and focus on everything else that makes you an irresistible candidate. You may get a few years back on your life as a result. Or, more importantly, a new job.