Including a Photo on a Resume

Including a Photo on a Resume

Your resume is almost ready and now the next big question is: Should you or shouldn’t you add your photograph to your resume. It will be a great way to personalize the resume and of course put a face to the name. However, while including a photo on a resume might make it easier for a recruiter to identify yours from a huge stack that they have; on the flip side, it could expose you to unconscious bias. Given that everything you put on your resume is closely scrutinized by hiring managers, it is but natural that your choice to include a photograph too will come under the scanner. While including a photo in your resume might be standard practice in some countries, in others it is a complete no-no. Whether a photograph will enhance or reduce your chances of landing an interview call depends completely on the country you are applying in. Read on to know where it is acceptable to include a headshot and where it is best left out. And if you do decide to include a photograph then we also have some tips for you.

Should You Include a Photo on Your Resume

The answer depends on which country you want to apply for jobs in. In countries such as the US, UK, and Canada where there are very strict labor and anti-discrimination laws, it is best to not include a photograph. Employers in these countries are very bias-conscious and more often than not, resumes with photographs are rejected. On the other hand, in countries such as Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America including a photo on the resume is standard practice. In other countries, there are no strict rules or guidelines about including your photo on the resume, and employers are okay with you either choosing to include one or leave it out.

However, bear in mind that including a photo on your resume is considered a bad idea for the most part. The reasoning is to protect employers from allegations of discrimination based on appearance, gender, or race. Including a photograph can make it difficult to have a bias-free hiring process. The next thing to consider is the job you are applying for. If you are putting together a resume for an acting role or a modeling assignment, then you might need to include a photograph. For any other job, your physical appearance will not and should not matter to the employer. It will not help them understand you or your skill sets any better.

How Should You Attach a Photo to a Resume

If you decide to include a photo to your resume then the norm is to do so at the top of the page. Be sure to include a professional headshot, not a selfie. Here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when including a photograph in your resume:

  • Do dress according to the role you are applying for. Assess whether you should dress in formals or business casual depending on the job opening.
  • Do hire a professional photographer, the results will be much better than phone photography.
  • Do try to match your resume photo with your LinkedIn photo. It helps recruiters identify you better.
  • Don’t use a selfie. It spells laziness and recruiters might think you are not willing to make an effort.
  • Don’t blow up your image too much. A stamp-size one should suffice.
  • Don’t go over the top with your makeup or hair. Keep it simple and professional.

Tips to Include a Photo on Your Resume

Now that you know where you should place the photo and how you should dress for it. Here are a few tips on how you should present yourself in the picture. These tips are in line with those recommended for LinkedIn photos.

  • Smile…
  • Squint a bit, don’t widen your eyes as you would in a casual photo.
  • Dress in formal clothes, don’t dress in very casual outfits. You want to be taken seriously.
  • Make eye contact; don’t look away from the frame.
  • The photo should show only your head and shoulders, like a passport size photo.
  • Avoid a cluttered background. Keep it clean.

Not Sure if You Should Add a Picture in Your Resume? Here’s How to Fix It

Recruiters are likely to look you up on social media and LinkedIn and will anyway put a face to the name. That makes the need for a photo on a resume redundant.

  • You could instead add a personalized LinkedIn URL on your resume to make their search easier. It is a more acceptable way of encouraging a potential employer to see your photo. Be sure to include your LinkedIn URL right on top of your resume along with the rest of your contact information. And before you include it, don’t forget to update your profile and personalize the link.
  • Another option is to attach a business card with your photo to the resume. Make sure it is a well-shot professional photograph though.
  • If you have a resume that you use only for networking, you can go right ahead and add a photograph to it. A photo in such a resume can help contacts remember you when they refer you to their associates.
  • If you really want to personalize your resume you could consider adding a logo to it. Companies usually use logos because they want instant recognition. You could tap into this and create a unique logo for yourself that you can add to your resume; your own personal branding. Your logo could either have your initials in it or you could hire an artist to create one for you.

Conclusion

As such including a photo in your resume is not a great idea for the simple reason that this could lead to unconscious bias. Companies and countries that follow strict labor laws and anti-discrimination laws discourage candidates from including photographs in their resume. If you absolutely want to include a photograph then you could opt for an alternative way to do so. And if you still decide to go ahead and include a picture in your resume then ensure it is a well-shot professional headshot.

FAQ’s

1). What kind of photo should I put on my CV?
A. Any photo that is included in your resume should be a professional headshot. Preferably shot by a professional and where you are facing the camera directly. Avoid selfies altogether, they are not meant for professional job applications. Ensure you are well dressed, preferably in formal wear, and are facing the camera making eye contact. The photo should show only your head and shoulders.

2). Is it professional to include your photo in your resume?
A. Broadly speaking, a photo in your resume is irrelevant to the job you are applying for (unless you are putting together an actor or model resume). Your resume should convey to the recruiting manager your experience and skillsets. Your looks should not have anything to do with the job application. Unless you are in a country where it is standard practice to include a photo in the resume or the job description mandates it, avoid including a photo in your resume. It could lead to your application being rejected to save the employer the hassle of unconscious bias and subsequent lawsuits.