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Should you include a picture on your resume?

Should you include a picture on your resume?

Artwork by: Alexandra Shevchenko

  • What is the purpose of a photo on a resume?
  • How employers feel about photos on resumes
  • Should I put my picture on my resume?
  • Types of photos to use for a resume
  • Key takeaways

Standing out from the competition is the main goal of any resume. Adding a picture to your resume may seem like a logical way to do just that. Is it the right move to make? Read this article to find out.

If you’ve started a job search, you may have already encountered stiff competition. So, you need a resume that will catch the eye of a recruiter or hiring manager to showcase your amazing skills and be competitive. That’s why personalizing your resume by adding your photo may be tempting. In most instances, it’s best to forgo adding a photo, but there are times when it’s necessary.

Here are  some of the things this article will cover to help you decide if you should include a picture on your resume: 

  • What is the purpose of a photo on a resume?

  • How do employers feel about photos on resumes?

  • Should I put my picture on my resume?

  • Types of photos to use for a resume

What is the purpose of a photo on a resume?

The main reason for adding a photo to a resume is to make a good impression on a recruiter, but there are also a few other reasons job seekers include a photo on their resume. These are three factors to consider:

1. Personalization. Having a photo to go along with a name can help a recruiter create a personal connection with you and remember your application. However, it could also distract the reader from the aspects of your career that make you a great candidate for the job.

2. Job requirements. There are some jobs where adding a picture to a resume is expected. For example, if you are planning to work as an actor or a model, adding a picture to your resume is the norm. Other customer-facing roles, such as real estate agents and news broadcasters, may benefit from having a photo on their resume.

3. International position. If you are applying for an international job opening, you will want to check the resume customs in the country to determine if a photo is required as part of your application. Certain European countries, for example, expect photos to be included on a resume.

Despite the reasons mentioned above, it’s important to note that including a photo on a resume is discouraged in most instances. Adding a picture on your resume can open the door to employer biases and discrimination that can keep you from getting the job. You want your potential employer to focus on your skills and work history instead of  your physical appearance.

How employers feel about photos on resumes

Many employers feel a photo can make a resume appear unprofessional, and it can potentially introduce biases into the hiring process. Since they don’t typically see photos as part of the application process, employers may also find them distracting or confusing. 

Photos also don’t work well with the applicant tracking systems that hiring managers use to sort resumes. These systems can’t process images. They’re designed to search for keywords associated with job ads to help companies find the best candidates for their open positions. 

Should I put my picture on my resume?

If you are still on the fence about including a photo on your resume, answering these questions may help you decide. If you find yourself answering “No” to these questions, it is recommended that you do not include a photo.

  • Are you applying for a job where your appearance matters, such as a modeling or acting job?

  • Are you relocating to a country where including a photo is the norm and is typically expected on a resume?

  • Does the industry you work in traditionally have photos on resumes?

  • Has the job listing specifically asked for a photo as part of the application process?

Types of photos to use for a resume

If you have concluded that adding a photo to your resume is the right decision, you will need to decide which type of photo is best. Here are a few tips that will help ensure you choose a photo that shows your best qualities and is professional.

Your resume photo should be a headshot

A professional headshot is most often a photo that is taken from the chest up. The goal is for your photo to be seen as an introduction and to begin telling the story of who you are as an individual and as an employee.

Another important aspect of your photo is that it should appear natural. If you wear makeup, try to keep things natural. Your hairstyle, clothing, and background should also be simple and professional, and you should avoid using props in your photo.

A resume photo should be small

You don’t want to include a photo that takes up too much of the page because it can take away from the other aspects of your resume. The photo should look as if it is part of your header where you include your address and other contact information.

Add the photo at the very top of your resume, in either one of the corners. If you are specifically asked for a headshot as part of the application process, you can also include the photo as a separate attachment.

Resume photos should be high-quality

It’s important to include a high-quality picture with your resume. Choose an image that has been taken by a professional who has experience taking these headshots.

Many factors, such as light, location, poses, and wardrobe go into creating a great headshot, and you’ll want these items to be perfect. Otherwise, you run the risk of a hiring manager dismissing your resume because you don’t appear to fully grasp what a professional image in your industry looks like.

Our goal is to help you make the best decisions regarding your resume and cover letter. For further guidance on how to build a great resume and cover letter, be sure to check out our services on our website.

Key takeaways

  1. Most of the time, a photo is not recommended on a resume because it can be distracting and look unprofessional.

  2. Adding a photo to your resume can unintentionally lead to biases against certain aspects of your appearance and hamper the application process.

  3. If you do work in an industry where a photo is recommended on a resume, use a professional, high-quality headshot.

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