Your resume – picture or no picture?

I still get a few resumes through my email that include pictures of candidates and they come from all types of people and so I thought I would give my two cents on whether or not you should include a photo in your resume presentation.

NO YOU SHOULD NOT.

I feel relatively emphatic on this point, as you can tell. Unless you are a model or an actor I do not believe there is a reason why your photo should have any impact on whether or not you are appropriate for a job to allow you to get to an interview, where all will be revealed anyway. In fact, in my mind, it damages a lot of the great strides we have made in turning away from discrimination within our workforce.

There are a few reasons why I feel particularly strongly about this so here they are:

It takes up valuable space on your resume that would be better served to describing skills and experience you have that is in fact directly relevant to your job application. It’s hard enough fitting your career history and skills onto two pages (which I still strongly recommend you aim for), adding a photo just makes it harder.

Secondly and perhaps even more importantly, it can cause bias from potential employers when determining whether you’re fit for the job. Unfortunately, for those who might be subconsciously or consciously discriminating – it allows them to. You have no idea if this could count for or against you as human beings are deep and complex individuals and if you resemble a particularly crazy ex girlfriend, you never know, that might be a reason to reject your application (hypothetical scenario but you get my drift – race, age, gender etc. are all potential ways to discriminate). 

If you are going to ignore this advice anyway and put a photo on your resume, please at least make it as professional as possible! Here are some rules I recommend you stick to (if you really really want to put your face on paper):

  1. Place it in the top corner of the page – small and to one side
  2. Make it professional – no social media photos (NEVER OK). Make it a professional headshot, similar to that which you’d expect on your LinkedIn photo. If you don’t have one, take the time to get a friend to take one of your with a plain background against a wall, wearing smart clothing, easy)
  3. Make sure it is a good quality photo i.e. not blurry or low resolution, or with bad lighting
  4. Don’t use a dated/altered photo – I have seen this on LinkedIn before, people posting photos on their profile and then I am introduced at a meeting and can’t recognise them as it was taken years ago (probably a wise piece of advice for those on dating apps too). Make it true to your current profile.
  5. Don’t make it any kind of a cartoon or attempt at humour. If you are thinking of doing that, don’t do one at all

And finally, if I wasn’t able to convince you fully to getting rid of a picture of your face being a reason to hire you above your skills, contemplate including a URL to your LinkedIn page where your professional headshot is placed.

P.S.

For a personalised service to help you prepare your resume and cover letter when applying for jobs, feel free to reach out for a consultation. I appreciate many people are currently back in the job market, unexpectedly and it might have been a long time between job applications. I can help you make the best first impression possible and coach you around interviewing.

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