“Should I put a photo on my resume?” is one of the most common (and frequent) questions I am asked. Unfortunately, it’s not a black-and-white answer and I can’t say yes or no. It really just depends. Resumes are not one-size-fits-all, so there are a lot of factors that I take into account when I decide whether (or not) to put on photographs or headshots onto resumes.
So – do photos belong on resumes? Sometimes.
Your industry matters. Some fields require headshots on resumes and some do not.
Resume requirements regarding photographs vary industry by industry, and it is important to know what is expected. However, most of the time, I use common sense. If you are in entertainment, then your physical appearance is a critical part of how you make a living – therefore, you absolutely need a photo on your resume. I’ve listed some industries below to clarify:
|Yes - Headshots are Acceptable||No - Definitely DO NOT Add a Headshot|
|Flight Attendant||Sales & Business Development|
|Actor & Model||Marketing|
|Nanny & Au Pair||Engineering & Technology|
It is also important to note that many international roles do require photos on resumes, regardless of industry. If you are in Europe, Middle East, or Asia, headshots are extremely common and are the rule rather than the exception. In fact, I’d say that at least 50% of roles may require them.
Again, apply common sense. For private flight attendants, a photograph on the resume is typically a requirement. For nannies, I often include the photo at the top of the resume to convey a sense of trustworthiness.
If you are in technology sales and want to know if you should include a photo on your resume – is it relevant to your job? Do the businesses you work with care what you look like? Probably not. Does a photo belong on software engineering resumes? Nope. Again, your appearance does not impact your performance on the job.
Reasons why I recommend AGAINST photos on resumes.
I could go on and on about why I really dislike the practice, however, let’s just say that it goes back to bias. I don’t think that anyone can dispute that we are living in a politically charged time. Here’s the problem – we never know who is on the other side of the application and it is naive to think that bias doesn’t play a role in hiring. We’d all like to think that it doesn’t, but honestly, we all know that it does. Age. Gender. Race. Sexual Orientation. Educational or socio-economic level. Religious affiliation. All potential biases. Even the nicest person in the world is probably carrying around some sort of unconscious bias. (If you’d like to read more about “isms” within your job search, I wrote about it here.)
Why on earth would we knowingly introduce bias into your candidacy for a job?
The answer is simple.
Do not put a photo on your resume unless the job requires it.