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COVID-19 resume trend Aussie job hunters need to avoid

·4-min read
Person handing resume to another person at job interview, Krist Grant smiles while sitting on stool wearing pink top in front of timber pallets.
Recruitment expert Kris Grant shares her warning about the common resume trend.

Aussie job hunters have been warned to think twice about sharing their vaccination status on their resumes, with a recruitment expert reminding workers that this remains private medical information.

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated vaccination rollouts have changed the world in unprecedented ways, raising new questions around how job seekers and recruiters interact, CEO of ASPL Group Krist Grant said.

However, unless it’s for an industry where the vaccine is required, jobseekers shouldn’t feel pressured to share their medical history in the early stages of job applications, such as when providing a resume.

Instead, Grant said job hunters should understand that the exchange of medical information should only occur in instances when COVID-19 immunisation is required for workers’, clients’ or customers’ safety.

And when the topic of vaccination comes up, workers should also feel confident to ask about their potential employers’ COVID-safe practices.

Grant doesn’t believe that disclosing vaccination status will help workers applying for roles in industries where it isn’t mandated, she told Yahoo Finance.

“If it’s a mandatory requirement, or part of the job requirement, absolutely put it there. If it isn’t, I think that every job seeker can absolutely ask the question about [the employer’s] position in relation to it, and what they’re doing from a policy perspective.”

And this is also an employee’s opportunity to understand more about their potential employer’s approach to their safety.

“You can get quite nervous about having those conversations, but you’re absolutely within your rights to check that your values align.”

For potential employees, Grant suggests bringing up COVID-safe practices and vaccination policies sooner rather than later in the interview process.

And it’s also worth finding out how health information will be used, stored, and the relevance of it to the role being performed.

Vaccines mandatory in several industries but questions remain

While both workers and employers can and should have honest conversations about the way COVID-19 will affect the workplace and its practices, Grant said there needs to be more guidance at a state and federal government level to help businesses make decisions.

With both NSW and Victoria now releasing their roadmaps out of lockdown, businesses are beginning to consider how vaccine mandates and community expectations will affect the way they hire and deploy staff.

In the aged care and health care industries, staff are generally required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as are workers in retail and hospitality settings across NSW and Victoria by the time they reopen.

While the state rules make it easier for some employers to enforce restrictions, other industries such as the professional services and finance sectors will face different challenges due to a lack of mandates.

“Because we don’t have any government guidance yet, the risk is [to the business’] brand,” she said.

“Unless we have guidance across the board, I always say: ‘No matter what we do, there will be people who say no [to the vaccine]. And what are we going to do about that?’”

A poll of more than 8,000 LinkedIn users in August found that most (46 per cent) don’t believe it’s a good idea for job seekers to include their vaccine status on their resume, while 40 per cent thought they should and 14 per cent believe it depends on the role.

According to the Australian Information Commissioner, employers can only request information about a worker’s vaccination status in “very limited circumstances”, as that information is considered sensitive.

“Generally, your employer must seek your consent in order to collect your vaccination status information and the collection of this information must be reasonably necessary for one or more of your employer’s functions or activities, unless an exception applies,” the AIC explained.

“Your employer should provide you with adequate information about what information will be collected, why it is required and what it will be used for, prior to you giving consent. Your employer should also tell you whether the information will be disclosed to any third parties.”

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