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September 22, 2021

Should Your Vaccination Status Be Placed On A LinkedIn Profile And Résumé? Career Experts Share Their Answers

Vaccinations, like everything else lately, have become politicized, pitting people against each other rather than conducting calm conversations. President Joe Biden, registering his frustration in a speech to the American public, said he’s signing an executive order mandating vaccine requirements for about 100 million Americans. Companies were told that if they had over 100 workers, […]

Vaccinations, like everything else lately, have become politicized, pitting people against each other rather than conducting calm conversations. President Joe Biden, registering his frustration in a speech to the American public, said he’s signing an executive order mandating vaccine requirements for about 100 million Americans. Companies were told that if they had over 100 workers, the employees must get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. 

The business community largely rallied around his plan. It made the lives of executives easier, as they wouldn’t have to pick sides in the battle between the vaxxed and unvaxxed. Many major corporations have previously put in place mandates for vaccinations of their staff. They run the gamut from Tyson Foods, a meat processor, to top-tier investment bank Goldman Sachs.  

The next big question for workers and job seekers is whether or not they should put their vaccination status on their résumés and LinkedIn profiles. It could look like they are virtue signaling or simply stating a fact. 

Not having the status could spook hiring managers, making them wonder if an applicant for a role or a co-worker received their jabs. It's a really interesting question. Since the nation is so divided, it could alienate nearly 50% of the people you're interviewing or working with.

Indeed, the large job aggregation site, reported that job listings requiring vaccinations have soared. “The share of Indeed job postings per million requiring vaccination was up 242%” July to August 30. On the opposite side of the spectrum, "the share of searches for jobs not requiring vaccination was nearly 20 times higher month over month, with the majority of those searches in healthcare.”

Placing a banner on LinkedIn, similar to the #OpentoWork trend or adding a bullet point to your résumé could mean the difference between getting a job offer or not. Depending upon the interviewer, company culture, colleagues or bosses, your decision may make you an outcast. There’s the possibility that you can find similar-minded people who accept your decision.

I’ve reached out to an array of career coaches, résumé writers, talent acquisition professionals and recruiters to help you determine what’s the right thing for you to do.

Daisy Wright, founder of the Wright Career Solution, is a certified career coach, résumé strategist, interview coach and overall job-search strategist. According to Wright, “This is a new phenomenon in the job search landscape, but I don’t think one’s vaccination status should be placed on a résumé or LinkedIn profile.” She points out that other personal items aren’t prominently displayed on a résumé or LinkedIn profile. “We wouldn’t mention age, race, sexual orientation or (dis)ability on a résumé or LinkedIn profile, so I would treat one’s vaccination status the same way.”

Wright offered the big picture surrounding this issue, stating, “Some companies clearly state that proof of vaccination is a condition for employment. In such a case, that’s great for those who are vaccinated, but it need not be included on a résumé or LinkedIn profile. On the flip side, it would be a signal to anti-vaxxers to seek employment elsewhere or get the vaccine if they want the job.”

Wright advises, as with everything else, start with research. If vaccination is an issue, find out if the company has made the news in that regard. If not, contact them to find out if they have any vaccination policies in place, and what they are. Do they have a policy for employees to be tested regularly, if they are unvaccinated? The research may show that they are an anti-vaxxer friendly employer.

“Although I shudder to even think of putting one’s vaccination status on a résumé or LinkedIn profile, I would say if it could be a selling point, then by all means mention it on the résumé or highlight it in the cover letter, but never on a [LinkedIn] profile. One approach could be to go the ‘Don’t ask; Don’t tell’ route.”

Sweta Regmi is the founder and CEO of Teachndo, Career Consultancy. Regmi shares, “The job search is all about getting your résumé and LinkedIn in front of employers. If you want to make things easy for both parties, you need to play the game, based on the demand.” There could be the “potential for discrimination for choosing only vaccinated people, if the job description doesn’t outline the mandate,” Regmi offers. At the end of the day, “you do you, as everyone's situation is different.”

“The job market is getting competitive and thinking outside the box to make it easy for employers is the key if you want that dream role. While it is a personal choice to disclose and only release the information when the time comes, it doesn’t hurt to place it on LinkedIn, résumé and the cover letter strategically, in my opinion, only if you are okay with it.”

“For example, on the LinkedIn ‘About’ section, you could give a hint of ‘willing to travel, fully vaccinated’ or on the cover letter with a strategic story. When it comes to a résumé, you have an option to add either on the top below your name or at the bottom. Just like you would add ‘willing to relocate,’ add ‘vaccine passport available upon request’ or be creative if you want to give them a heads up.”

Regmi proclaims that employers, on a job description, need to be fully transparent as well and “make it easy for career professionals to disqualify with self-selection. Not everyone is willing to share private information in the initial stage without identifying the mutual fit. What I would hate to see is waiting until the conditional offer and asking for the vaccination proof, which is not fair to the candidates.”

Regmi tells her job-seeking clients, “Here is my advice, research if your industry and the role require proof of vaccination. Know your negotiables. [For example,] if you are open to travel internationally, as per business needs, as most countries require proof. Are you dealing with vulnerable sectors, dealing with seniors and children? Most public sectors require proof of vaccination and if it doesn’t work for you, then pivoting might be an option. Have a back-up plan based on your firm belief.”

Virginia Franco, the cofounder of Job Search Journey, the industry's first marketplace that offers job seekers access to high-quality and affordable job-search support from application to offer, said, "Vaccinations remain a political hot potato that can be addressed during the application process.” 

The all women-led startup founder added, “As a job seeker, if you feel strongly about the topic, and want to work at a like-minded company, the good news is that public companies are taking public stances and this information is easily available to search.” Signaling that you had your shots could be beneficial. For instance, Franco points out, “If you are in a role where travel is expected or where lack of vaccine is a hindrance to doing business, sharing your vaccine status could give you an advantage.”

Christine Dykeman, a career expert for the State of New Jersey, responsible for helping workers and job seekers, has some self-described thoughts, which may “go against the grain.” Dykeman says that stating your status on a résumé is a “big no-no.” However, she believes that organically stating it in a conversation is an acceptable practice. “Taking up a line on a limited spaced résumé is like putting your hobbies on it or ‘references available upon request,’ as they are fillers and take away from the core bullet points.”

Dykeman raises some interesting points. If a company asks them to do this, it's as if they’re "outing them." The career expert brings up the issue, “What if they are disabled, and they have an exemption for health reasons and they are now being judged by vaccination status, not the ability to do the job? Or based on religion, which is another subject protected by law? This opens a can of worms that I would not recommend anyone get into.” The right time to disclose and discuss vaccination status is “when anyone is offered a job, based on a background check.” 

Mark Anthony Dyson is a blogger, writer, podcaster and the founder of the Voice of Job Seekers. Dyson says, “Right now, a displayed vaccination status will be problematic. It shouldn't happen.” He added, “Everyone, including employers, has dug their heels in at this point [and this will] influence the final decisions to hire.” 

Dyson points out, “The argument isn't stapled to employment status, but it also makes the culture of social networks harder and more biased. It affects conversations, connections or even comments.” He’s concerned that the “professional culture of LinkedIn is currently threatened with no end in sight.” Dyson warned, “Displaying a vaccination status will exacerbate the social problems further.”

Kenneth L. Johnson  is the president of East Coast Executives, as well as a diversity recruitment leader. Johnson said, “I’m a firm believer that this is solely the choice of the individual to volunteer to or not to disclose vaccination status on their résumé and/or LinkedIn profile, but there are always privileges and consequences around the subject of choice.”

He shared, “As an experienced recruiter and talent acquisition professional, I’m well aware of undisclosed requirements and criteria that often are deciding factors in hiring. The vaxx status of candidates appears to be next in line for undisclosed hiring criteria debate.” 

Johnson contends that this debate may be soon resolved. “Some interesting stats coming out of Indeed on the increase of job postings that require a [Covid-19] vaccination are interesting.” When it is combined with the ‘government requirements,’ this may become the ‘standard practice in the very near future.’” 

Bob McIntosh is a career professional with the MassHire Lowell Career Center. McIntosh succinctly said, “Bad idea. Adds no value to the candidate. Might also be seen as political statement, even though the candidate doesn't intend it to be. Needless to say, I wouldn't advise my clients to include it on their résumé.”

 Sonal Bahl, the CEO of SuperCharge, an international career advisory firm specializing in helping senior C-suite executives with their careers, said, “This reminds me of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy started during the Clinton administration. My take with regards to vaccines: ‘tell only when asked (TOWA).’”

Based outside of the U.S., Bahl states, “I’m not familiar with the detailed guidelines, but I’m sure that one day the vaccine mandates for the workplace are coming here to all countries in Europe. Hence, it’s good to be prepared.”

She advises, “I wouldn’t voluntarily disclose vaccine information. And when it’s asked, especially for roles that require on-site work, I believe it’s a fair question and I would answer them honestly.” She added, “Going out of my way to display the vaccine status on my résumé or LinkedIn feels like TMI (too much information) and goes against my TOWA principle.”

Article written by:  Orville Lynch, Jr.
Mr. Lynch, a member of the legendary two-time Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame Award winning Lynch Family. Mr. Lynch is a nationally recognized urban media executive with over 20+ years of diversity recruitment and serial entrepreneur with numerous multi-million dollar exits.

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