Should you put your photo on your resume?

Earlier this week, I overheard a colleague saying they had just learned about photos on resumes, and were surprised that they’re now “a thing.”

Although I’ve known about photos on resumes for a while, my colleague’s recent comment got me more curious about them. In this post, I’ll reveal the truth about photos on resumes. Keep reading to learn if they’re a good idea, and if so, who they’re best suited for.

A resume can take many forms, and it’s up to you to pick the format and features that best convey your skills and experience to a potential employer.

So, if a hiring manager needs to know what you look like so that they can make a hiring decision, it would be reasonable for them to expect to see a photo of you when you’re applying. For example, if you’re applying for a job as a model, actor, spokesperson or influencer, your appearance is likely part of your offering to an employer. It’s therefore critical that you put your photo on your resume.

A resume with a photo might also be a good fit when applying for other creative or artistic roles. A graphic designer or illustrator might include their photo with a special artistic treatment, which would also demonstrate their technical skills and talents.

But if you’re in other fields, including communications and public relations, putting your photo on your resume might have detrimental effects. Why? It introduces an opportunity for discrimination.

Discrimination against an individual based on their appearance (or for any number of other reasons) can work silently. It’s wrong – period. But, for the purposes of this blog post, we need to be realistic about the fact that it exists. (However, I would love if one day discrimination was a thing of the past, and that people were hired based on their merit alone.)

Because of people’s biases, a photo on a resume can can taint the hiring process in several ways. First, a hiring manager might not even take a look at your resume because they are biased against your appearance for some reason. On the flip side, they could choose to engage you over someone else based only on preferring some aspect of your photo, while that other person doesn’t get a chance at the job because the hiring manager is relatively more biased against them.

Further, some companies’ Human Resources departments might not even consider resumes with photos so that they don’t run the risk of being accused of discrimination. A potential candidate could sue if a company formally rejects their resume with their photo on it, even if the company reports the rejection occurred for a legitimate reason.

Regardless of what field you’re in, you might feel that including your photo is an effective way of bringing your personal brand to life on your resume. On a personal level, your photo might be important to include, regardless of the risks.

Lastly, let’s not forget about social media and networking channels like LinkedIn and Twitter. Users often post photos on their profiles. If a hiring manager really wants to know what you look like and you don’t have a photo on your resume, they can likely find out with a bit of digging online.

All things considered, if you’re thinking of putting a photo on your resume, a design template is a great place to start. Check out this post to learn about different types of resume design templates.

So, you might be wondering whether or not I have a photo on my resume. Mine’s photo-free. But what about yours? Share your thoughts about photos on resumes in the comments.

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Image credits: Pixabay.com; Etsy.com.

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