Including a Photo on Your Resume

Resumes with pictures
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Should you add a photo to your resume? After all, your picture is on LinkedIn and your other social networking site profiles. So it's only reasonable to wonder if including a headshot photo on your resume will enhance your chances of getting noticed and hired. 

Should You Include a Photo on Your Resume?

There isn’t one right answer for including a photo on your resume, though it’s always been considered a bad idea for most job seekers. Depending on your circumstances, it can be no, maybe, or even yes. Or you can consider a creative solution for showing a prospective employer your smiling face.

The Traditional Answer - No

The traditional advice regarding placing photos on resumes has been an emphatic "No." The only exception is for actors and models, whose appearance matters for hiring. 

The rationale for excluding photos has been to protect employers from allegations of discrimination based on race, age, weight, gender, attractiveness, or personal style. Plus, many employers are eager to avoid unconscious bias in their recruitment, using strategies like removing college and candidate names from resumes before reviewing them.

Including a photo can make the quest to have a bias-free recruitment process more challenging. 

This perspective is still embraced by the majority of experts and human resources professionals. Because of that, it's worth considering carefully if it's worth it – or will be beneficial for your candidacy – to include a photo. Some segment of people who review resumes will likely view including a photo as somewhat unprofessional. It could be a mark against your candidacy. 

That said, we live in a multimedia age. Most likely, a quick online search of your name will reveal photos and social media profile pages with your face. And, even regular, non-celebrities often try to establish a professional brand, using a photo as part of that strategy. That means there's a bit more nuance to the question now. There are also ways you can get employers to view your picture without having to add your photo to your resume.

Review these options for including – or not – a photo on your resume. There are some exceptions to the "no picture" guidance that might work for you.

Option: Include the URL of Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn profiles regularly incorporate a photo and are widely utilized by candidates in their job search and by recruiters sourcing talent. If you believe your appearance would be an asset for your target job, incorporating a link to your LinkedIn profile on your resume is a safe and acceptable way to showcase your looks.

Though a certain appearance is essential for actors and models, an attractive, trustworthy, or approachable appearance can also be an asset in many other fields. Sales representatives, receptionists, bartenders, financial planners, public relations representatives, recruiters, and many other service providers can benefit from projecting a certain image.

Option: Add a Photo to Your Networking Resume

Another possible exception to the accepted wisdom regarding the inclusion of photos is when you are utilizing your resume mostly for networking purposes. If you are distributing resumes at conferences or other events where you will be interacting with many individuals, a photo can help new contacts to remember you. 

In addition, if you are being referred by your contacts to other individuals who don't know you, you might include a picture on your resume if you believe your appearance would be an asset. You can mention to networking contacts that you would be glad to furnish a version of your resume without a picture if they would like to forward your document to other individuals for formal job screening.

Option: Attach a Business Card with Your Photo to Your Resume

One more option for in-person networking is to include a business card with a photo that you’ve made just for your job search. If you share your resume and your card with your contact information, both can be passed on if you’re being referred for a job or to another networking connection.

Where to Put the Picture on Your Resume

If you do opt to include a photo on your resume, the recommended place is at the top of the page. The photo should be a professional headshot, similar to or the same one you used for your LinkedIn profile. Here are tips for taking and choosing a professional photo.

Be Careful If You Need to Add a Photo

Even though you can add a photo in some circumstances, it doesn't mean that you should. It could get your resume knocked out of contention for a job if the employer doesn't think it's appropriate. Consider what value a picture will add, if any, before you start reworking your resume.