What Do Experts Say About Photos on Resumes? Should You Include a Photo on Your Resume?

When it comes to resumes, there’s probably no greater dispute than whether to include a photo on the resume or not.

Some say, if it’s a professional photo which goes well with the resume itself then sure, why not.

What’s more, most recruiters will google you anyway and check your social media profiles. Which means they’ll see what you look like eventually.

It also depends on a country.

In many parts of the world, everybody’s expected to include a photo on their resume.

In others, hiring managers would say it’s unacceptable. They rightly think it only increases the possibility of discrimination and unconscious bias against the applicant.

Let’s take a look at some of the most frequent arguments regarding photos on resumes. 

photo on resume

1. Argument: Hiring managers will google you anyway so they’ll eventually see what you look like.

Most recruiters today google every job candidate and check their social media profiles.

This presents you with two kinds of approaches.

First, you might as well add the photo to your resume because the’ll google you anyway.

Either that, or you can opt NOT to include your photo on the resume. The same reason—they’ll google you anyway.

Your resume should be, after all, about your skills, education, experience and not about looks.

Strictly speaking, your appearance is not relevant for the job position, unless you’re applying for a modelling or acting job. 

2. Argument: It steers the recruiters’ attention away from the important stuff.

Hiring managers only spend 6 seconds on each resume. You only have a very limited amount of time to sell your skills and competences.

Examining your photo, no matter how good-looking you are, might take their attention away from the important details about your work experience, skills and knowledge.

Use that precious time better than giving the hiring manager a chance to concentrate on your photo.

Or would you like to get hired mostly for your good looks?

photo on resume

3. Argument: Photo on resume might cause discrimination. 

The majority of HR experts agree that a photo on resume can lead to discrimination, bias and favoritism.

It’s not always the recruiter’s fault, they might discriminate unconsciously. Humans are visual beings and we instinctively make judgments about people based on their looks.

We often make judgments subconsciously, without a clear intention to do so. But in the job market, where people should stand out based on their accomplishments and abilities alone, why allow for a chance of being judged based on one’s race or looks? 

Apart from one’s appearance, name, age, gender or even home address could also trigger subconscious biases.

In some countries, HR departments will discard all resumes with photos in order to avoid any possible accusations of discrimination or bias.

On the other side, in some other countries, having a photo on the resume is a must. In the end, do whatever is customary in your local job market.

4. Argument: One’s looks are not relevant to the job position.

Okay, you might be hot. Why not gain some extra points by showing off your picture then?

Despite of what we’ve just said about unconscious biases, you should consider one more thing:

Does your appearance bring any value to the job you’re applying for?

You have to consider for what job positions it is relevant and for which not. There are plenty of positions where looks matter, such as customer service jobs, modeling or acting jobs, brand ambassador/representative jobs, etc.

It’s up to every applicant to evaluate where it’s suitable and where not. When there’s no legitimate reason why looking hot might be an asset to the job, we advise you not to include it.

5. Argument: Photo on resume might potentially work against you.

If you decide to include a photo on your resume, make sure it’s one that does you justice. 

It should be a professional, passport-style headshot.

Also, photos on resumes can confuse the ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) that some companies use to filter resumes.

This software automatically scans and pans your resume for keywords and a photo could potentially hinder this process.

This might cause your resume not to be accepted. You don’t want that. Be aware of this when applying for a job in large corporations—they get hundreds of resumes daily and employ the ATS in order to speed up the process of hiring new people. 

Also, you should keep in mind that in some countries it’s normal to add photos to resumes while in others it’s unacceptable.

In continental Europe, for instance, it’s a common practice to put photos on CVs, but in other parts of the world such as Australia, India or the UK, the same practice is seen as highly inappropriate. So, even with the best of intentions, a photo can eventually work against you.

photo on resume

Our conclusion

All in all, experts agree it’s better NOT to include a photo unless it’s a position that in any way requires you to look good or unless you’re applying for a job in a country where it is specifically advised to do so.

If you want to include it, then just do it. But the global job market is inclined to a non-discrimination policy so the habit of including photos on resumes is slowly becoming outdated.

Most importantly, your knowledge, skills and competence are there to speak for you, not your looks. The most reputable and professional recruiters know this and will consider you only on the basis of your skills and value you could bring to the company. 

In a nutshell, we think including a photo on resume is useless because:

1. The hiring managers will google you anyway.
2. The purpose of a resume is to get you an interview. Get noticed for your skills and qualities, not looks.

There are all sorts of designs in Kickresume Online Resume Builder, with or without a photograph. You can choose one that suits your position and country the best. Perfect resume and cover letter are just a click away.

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