Should I Include a Photo on My Resume?

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Woman with photo on her resume sitting for an interview.

When you initially constructed your resume, you probably came across a few templates that include a section for your photo. This may have led you to wonder yourself if your resume should include your head-shot. While this is common practice in Europe, you’re likely better off not including a picture on  your resume. We’ll break down a few of the key reasons for not doing so below.

Not a Profile Photo

We live in the digital age, and profile photos have become a mainstay, and it’s become second nature to want to include a photo. However, it’s important to remember that your looks don’t have any bearing on making you more qualified for a position. Unless you are applying for a job modeling or acting, it’s not relevant. By including a photo, you also run the risk of drawing attention away from your actual skills and qualifications.

Recruiters typically only spend a few seconds looking over a resume before making a decision. Since they receive so many resumes, they have to make snap judgments on which candidates are worth moving forward with. Including a photo could cause most of that crucial time to be spent on the photo instead of qualifications. You want to get recognized for the qualities that set you apart from other candidates since they are what will ultimately land you a job.

Valuable Real Estate

As stated previously, we live in a digital age, so you probably have profiles on social networks. Most companies know this, and integrate it as part of their hiring process. If they will be doing these searches on you, your photo will get seen anyways. So it would be best just to make sure your photos on those accounts are appropriate. Your photo on LinkedIn should be especially professional. If you need help choosing a LinkedIn profile photo, check out our blog about it! Also keep in mind, that photo is taking up valuable space on your resume. If you have extra space to fill, consider a skills section!

You should also consider resume photos from an HR perspective. The HR department has to be very careful and avoid being discriminatory. Many worry about subconscious discrimination with the inclusion of photos. Since it may cause bias, some hiring managers don’t even look at resumes with photos. This is a dramatic example, but know that including a photo may cause discrimination concerns. It could also trip up the company’s applicant tracking system. These systems scan your resumes for key words in the job description, and filter out resumes without them. Photos can mess with the ATS, and cause your resume to be filtered out.

We’ve done our best to outline some of the main points to consider when adding a photo on your resume. Including a photo could distract from your qualifications, and raise concerns of bias. That space taken up by the photo could also be better utilized to display your qualifications. However, ultimately the decision is yours to make! If you’ve had success in the past or have any interesting stories regarding resume photos, feel free to share below.

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