Should I Put My Picture on My Resume

Should I Put My Picture on My Resume?

A candidate’s resume is the first impression an employer has of the candidate. A resume gives the employer a professional insight into the candidate’s skills, experience, and capability to execute the task related to the job. A resume speaks volumes of what a candidate can bring to the table. A candidate’s resume is his ticket to financial freedom.

Before the various job test reveals your intelligence, before an interview deepens an employer’s knowledge about you, it is your resume that will get you through the door. So many candidates do not cross the border of online application because of poor resume write-up. An employee should know all there is to know about your professional life through your resume. That piece of paper should be your professional biography. Yet, a candidate is required to submit a resume that is articulate, concise, and precise. You might wonder about the possibility of compressing your professional biography into one or two pages of an A4 paper. The key is knowing what to add and remove from your resume.

A lot of candidates outsource their resumes to professional resume writers. But if you are not financially capable of doing so or want to write your resume by yourself, then there are factors you should consider eliminating from your resume. Details such as Nationality, marital status, political or religious beliefs, personal photos, reference contact details, and home address are sometimes advised not to be included in a resume. This could be due to several reasons but can include bias and insecurity. In the hunt to get a good job, candidates apply to several sites and sometimes can run into fraudsters and scammers. To be on the safe side candidates are advised to leave out their home addresses and reference contacts.

A visual representation of yourself adds little or no value to your resume so why occupy space which you do not have with it. You might be tempted to include your picture in your resume to give the employer the best idea of who you are, but the employer might not share the same idea with you. Adding your picture to your resume can distract the employer from the main aim which is to assess your skills and experience, thereby opening doors to bias and discrimination. Instead of adding a picture of yourself, channel your energy to writing powerful resumes that speak volumes of who you are and your suitability for the job. If an employer wants to see what you look like, they can do that by running a social media background check which is only legally advised after the interviews have been carried out.


When is it appropriate to include a professional photo in a resume?

As stated earlier, recruiters usually run a social media background check on candidates to get more details on their personal life. It is more appropriate to add your professional photo to your LinkedIn profile. A LinkedIn profile is a digital resume. It contains everything that a resume contains and gives room for more information that your traditional resume can not carry. If you must send a visual representation of yourself, please do that through your LinkedIn page. However, there are some instances when a candidate is advised to put a picture on a resume. Those instances are generally limited to professions whose successes solely depend on the look of the candidate. These professions include actors, models, receptionists or representatives, and many other career paths. When sourcing for roles that the candidate will visually represent the company, employers would rather recruit candidates that are attractive, approachable, and well-mannered. For instance, a personal care company would rather use a model that has spotless skin for adverts than just any individual. The company is trying to sell the idea that a model’s awesome skin came to life through its product.

Keep the following in mind when attaching a photo to a resume

Wear a plain top

If you must include a picture in your resume then you must look professional in it. When taking a professional headshot do not wear clothes with logos, slogans, patterns, and stripes.

Do not look tattered

Organizational skill is one of the essential skills every organization is looking out for. No organization wants to recruit an employee they will clean after or reprimand every day for not being presentable. This is most important when the candidate is applying for a role that the employer is specifically looking out for visual representation of the candidate. Sitting a photo with messy hair will send a wrong signal. Wear natural makeup to avoid looking washed-out, sick, or pale. At the same time avoid using too much make-up, you are going for a circus show.


Remember the popular saying “ Of all the things I wear, my expression is the most important”. Always try to put on a smiling face, it makes you look approachable. Most representative roles require candidates to keep a smiling face all day. If you can not put up a smiling face in a one-minute picture, how can you hold up a smile a whole day?


Why You Should Not Put Your Picture In Your Resume

First  impression

The first impression matters a lot. It leaves an imprint in the mind of the recruiter. You can only get one first impression, so do it right. There is a greater chance that you will make a greater first impression in person rather than a picture on a piece of paper.

Bias or discrimination

In some countries, it is highly illegal to discriminate against an individual based on their appearance. This includes the individual’s gender, race, age, and any other information that can be gotten by looking at someone. Just one picture can tell a lot about you. Through your picture, an employer can determine your gender, race, and age range. Being human, recruiters fall to involuntary prejudice or bias. Adding a picture to your resume can lead a recruiter to unintentional bias, which can lead to a discrimination lawsuit. Recruiters are careful to avoid discrimination and unconscious bias.  To avoid this, recruiters do not accept resumes with pictures on them. Some companies have policies that Shawn candidates from submitting resumes with pictures.

Space constraints

The generally accepted format for an entry-level applicant is one page, while for experienced personnel is between 2 to 4 pages maximum. It will take a good amount of work and time to fit in all the important information in this small space. Imagine the amount of space it will take to add a photo to that same resume. Rather than occupying space by adding a photo, use that space to expand on your qualification, skills, and experience.

Images are not ATS friendly

Companies get hundreds of applications for just one open role. It will take months and a large amount of workforce to properly source for right candidates in this pool. Most companies, both large and small employ applicant tracking systems to manage and filter resumes. When a candidate adds a picture to his resume, it confuses the applicant tracking system which typically reads only text. This will prevent the applicant tracking system from highlighting the candidate as a top applicant or even rejecting the resume by default.

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