Should your vaccination status be on your resume? Here’s what experts say

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The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has raised many questions about where and how we work, but one question has become more pressing for job seekers in recent months: do they need to include their Covid-19 vaccination status on their resume? 

In September, President Biden said that he is asking the U.S. Department of Labor to issue a rule requiring employers with 100 or more workers to require vaccines or weekly testing, a mandate that will impact over 80 million workers when it is issued, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It's unclear whether the federal vaccine directive will include fully remote workers. The announcement followed a summer that saw several large companies including Microsoft and McDonald's issue their own vaccine mandates for employees. 

Even before Biden's announcement, many companies created their own vaccine mandates in an effort to make in-person work as safe as possible for employees. Hiring managers have consequently grappled with how to comply with vaccine mandates without making job candidates feel uncomfortable. interviewed 1,250 hiring managers in August and found that 33% would automatically eliminate resumes that don't include a Covid-19 vaccination status. On top of that, 69% of hiring managers said they are more likely to hire someone who has already been vaccinated against Covid-19, and 63% said they prefer to see a job candidate's vaccination status on their resume.

Taking their cue from the Biden administration, some companies have begun requesting vaccine information from their employees and introducing their vaccine requirements during the hiring process. One executive steering such efforts is Maria Selvaggio, the vice president of people at M1 Finance who has previously led recruiting efforts at Grubhub, Google and Groupon. 

In the spring, when Covid vaccines became more widely available, Selvaggio tells CNBC Make It her team "didn't see vaccination statuses on resumes at all," but recently, it's become a "more and more frequent" occurrence. "Ultimately it's up to the individual whether or not they're going to include their vaccination status on their resume, but they should know that they're going to be required to share that information at some point in the hiring process," she says. "As more offices adopt vaccine mandates, disclosing your vaccination status on your resume can only help you in the interview process." 

Job seekers can include their vaccination status as a short line, for example, writing "fully vaccinated" underneath their contact information or as a footnote at the bottom of their resume where it's "prominent and easy to find," Selvaggio says. 

Offering vaccination information either in a resume or initial interview upfront also minimizes headaches for hiring managers, who have to be extremely careful about the legal consequences of when and how they ask applicants about their vaccination status. "What we as conservative employment lawyers advise is not to ask candidates 'Are you vaccinated?' because you run the risk of somebody saying that is a discriminatory question," Walter Foster, an employment lawyer with more than 30 years of experience, says. "But if a job applicant brings it up or has their vaccination status on their resume, that's a voluntary disclosure by the person and doesn't have legal ramifications." 

Companies can, however, mention their vaccine policy in a job description or interview with a potential hire and ask if they have any concerns with the rule. "It is totally fine for a company to tell a candidate, 'Hey, we have a mandatory vaccine policy, will that be a problem?'" Foster says. "If a candidate isn't vaccinated or can't comply with the policy, the employer could then ask if the candidate would need reasonable accommodation." 

Foster encourages job seekers to consider noting their vaccination status on their resume as it signals to employers that they are sensitive to a challenging issue companies have faced the past few months. "I think volunteering that information could elevate someone's chances for securing an offer," he says. "Most employers will see that and think, 'Hey, this person is responsible, they're aware of vaccine mandates and will be compliant.'" 

Still, Magalie René, the CEO of Workplace Catalyst, a professional coaching and workplace training firm, warns that promoting vaccination statuses on resumes could create a "dangerous, discriminatory" job market against people with religious beliefs or medical conditions that prevent them from getting the Covid vaccine.

"There's been a renewed interest in inclusivity when it comes to recruiting and hiring, but if we begin to tell job seekers, 'Put your vaccination status on your resume,' that potentially excludes people that haven't taken the vaccine yet, but might consider doing so if it's a job requirement," she says. "It just creates another barrier to job entry, and what we need to be focusing on right now is how to foster inclusion, not driving polarization." 

It's more beneficial, she adds, for companies to outline their vaccine policies in a job description or email communication. Echoing Foster's advice, René also says applicants should feel empowered to initiate conversations about vaccine mandates during a job interview. "You can ask, 'For my own clarity, What are your company's requirements around the Covid-19 vaccine?'" she suggests. "It shows you're willing to have a potentially uncomfortable conversation and that you're open to being transparent — and whether you're pro-vaccine or against it, transparency is really important." 

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