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No jab, no job: should you put your vaccination status on your resume?

Mark Daniel //  0 Comments

Proud of your vaccination status? Or outraged you should be questioned? Or maybe a bit of both? This is what to do with your resume.


I recently published a post and poll on LinkedIn but I wasn’t prepared for the abuse I received! I was called out as a liar, a spreader of misinformation, unprofessional and, wait for it … evil!

Find out what I did and more in the following post.

Do you agree with your vaccination history being included on your resume?

The options I gave were:

Yes, no jab, no job

No, it should be my choice

I’ll reveal the results at the end of this post because, although that was interesting, people’s comments and observations were fascinating.

When two tribes go to war

A point is all that you can score.

If you are old enough to remember this, you will know that back in the day it was an anti-war song about America and the Soviet Union.

But today, it could be about people’s views on COVID.

Those who are passionate about being vaccinated - to save themselves and the rest of the world.

And those who are passionate about not being vaccinated – to save themselves and the rest of the world.

This post is ultimately not for either side.

It is for the vast majority of people in the middle who are working through things day by day, confused about what to do, but trying to do the right thing – whatever it is.

COVID has changed the rules in so many ways, and job search is just one of them.

So, if you are wondering whether you should put your vaccination status on your resume, here are a few things to consider to help you with your decision.

Is it even ‘a thing’ outside of healthcare?

What do these three roles have in common?

Engineering Manager – AI-driven tooling. Essential – BSc, MSc Computer Science, 6+ years’ experience in Software Engineering.

Rail Labourer – RIW, White Card and MTA card – effective verbal and written communication – clean driver’s licence.

Product Specialist – 5+ years of relevant client facing experience in digital advertising or a related field as a Product Specialist, Sales Engineer, Technical Consultant, Technical Account Manager, SaaS seller, or Account Manager.

You probably know where I am going with this but yes, they all require you to include your vaccination status on your resume or cover letter because they will only accept applications from those who are fully vaccinated.

So yes, it is not just companies in the health care sectors that can require staff to be fully vaccinated.

Can companies really discriminate on the grounds of vaccination status when you apply for a job?

Yes, because disclosing vaccination status is not new.

Many positions already require vaccinations such as Tetanus, HEP A,B, and Yellow Fever to name a few, in order to commence/qualify for employment.

So this morning I started to count how many positions globally request certain vaccinations and proof of those vaccinations within the job advert and/or application process. I stopped counting when I got to 40,000 globally.

Other health based requirements

You could also extend this to positions that require you to undergo a medical or complete drug testing as part of the application process.

This can even happen with a person’s weight. For example, operators know there are seat weight restrictions on plant. Employers will ask  their weight for insurance purposes as part of the application process. Intrusive? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.

Employer obligations

However, companies do need to defend themselves regarding their right to ask you for your vaccination status. To stay the right side of the law, they need to prove that their vaccination policy is job-related and consistent with business necessity.

Further, employers should let applicants know at the earliest possible stage in the recruitment process, including the job advertisement or posting, that vaccination is required and that the company will consider accommodations for disability and/or religious-based reasons.

Another grey and ‘work in progress’ area is the availability of vaccines. Depending on a jobseekers age and global location, access to vaccines dramatically varies.

Updating recruitment and employment policies and practices in light of existing COVID data and trends is an ongoing challenge and the compliance goalposts are constantly moving in line with this.

Can’t you just work for companies who don’t require your vaccination status?

If you are really uncomfortable or totally opposed to disclosing your status, then this is of course an option.

There is one problem though – the list is growing globally day by day.

For example, this Fortune article lists the top US companies requiring vaccines for workers to enter their offices.

As of August 23rd 2021, it included names such as Microsoft, Chevron, Deloitte, Google, Netflix, McDonalds, and UPS.

It updated on August 26th with 6 more major players.

But this doesn’t mean that all companies have this restriction so, if this is important to you, do you research before applying.

So, should you include your vaccination status on your resume?

My advice to you depends on who you are.

If you are uncomfortable doing so, have a medical or religious belief prohibiting you from doing so, or you are against vaccinations, then no, don’t do it.

Therefore, don’t apply for jobs that state it is required.

The exception here is of course medical and religious grounds because companies need to lawfully accommodate you.  

Do bear in mind though that you may rightfully get the job but you may be uncomfortable being isolated with less freedom in the workplace as a result.

Make this part of your research when you think of applying for a job. Does their culture fit your beliefs? Or would you be happier in a more relaxed environment where you don’t have to prove your status?

On the other hand, if you are happy and able to be vaccinated, then yes, put it on your resume because it is another qualification to make you a great fit for a role.

Don’t make a big deal about it though.

Employers don’t want either extreme in their workplace.

Just add it in with your education, degrees and certificates. It’s a ‘tick the box and move on thing’ not a ‘get your soapbox out and preach' moment.

Also, if it’s important to you, don’t be afraid to ask at interview about their social distancing procedures, their mask policy, or whether they periodically COVID test their employees.

As I always say, you are applying to a company not a job. Do your research to ensure that it is the right fit for you – and that includes their COVID policy.

Wondering about the poll results?

In all honesty, the two tribes came out in such force that after 1,704 votes and a whole lot of abuse, I shut it down.

But here it is.

covid poll

Are you surprised by these results? And will you be including your vaccination status on your resume? I'd love to know your thoughts.

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About the Author

A global resume writer and career coach, Mark is known for his honest, direct, and hard-hitting advice, helping people manage job applications and succeed at interviews. Now based on the Sunshine Coast in Australia, he is the co-founder of Real Life Career Advice and a prolific publisher, contributing to several industry magazines and his daily career advice blog to his 45,000 LinkedIn followers.

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