Why You Shouldn’t Add Your Photo To Your Resume

I have always been on the fence whether adding your photo to your resume is a good idea or not. Recently I read this article “Attractive Women May Be Less Likely To Get Hired” and started to think of the pros and cons of adding a photo.

Making A Good Impression

I think we can all agree that the resume is your first contact with the recruiter and or hiring manager. Making a good impression is very important and having a well written resume is definitely a good step forward but does adding a photo help or not?

I have seen photos on resumes that look like a “glamour shot“. These photos look more like prom pictures and makes me believe that these people think that they are applying to a beauty contest and not looking for a job.

I have also had a person attach a picture of themselves skiing. Well this was useless because they were wearing a ski jacket, snow pants, helmet and goggles. The only thing this photo was good for was that it maybe proved that this candidate enjoyed skiing as a hobby. Not only did I not care but it made me think that the photo may not have even been the candidate, so why did they include it? What value did they think the photo added? (just to be clear the job the person was applying for was not a ski instructor).

The most interesting thing about photos on resumes is that its usually from people between the ages of 20-35. I rarely see a grey hair or wrinkle.

What Value Does The Photo Bring?

For the most part I think photos are not a good idea because the recruiter should judge you by your resume and skills rather than your hair do. The same goes for personal details. Some people add their marital status, how many children they have and what salary they earned at their last job. All this information is too much. You don’t want to show the recruiter all of your cards. If I see that you have 4 children and are divorced I might think you’ll be late to work, need to leave early, or maybe not even show up because of babysitters, daycare and a sick child. A resume or a job application is not the same as filling out a personal add. Some information employers do not need to know.

If you are a minority and/or have a disability I think adding a photo is a great idea. Most companies want to or need to have a more diverse workforce. Unfortunately most people with a disability rarely make it known on the resume. Having a picture of a candidate in a wheel chair or with a support dog for example will guarantee an interview.

Getting Your Foot In The Door Tactics

The article talks about recruiters not choosing some resumes because they were women who had attractive photos of themselves on there resumes. I have worked with both men and women recruiters and believe that the men recruiters, if single, would be more effected by a pretty photo then a women recruiter.

I’m starting to believe that people who add their photos to a resume believe that they can get the job only by their looks and probably do not have all the skills needed for the job. Is this a bad thing or a good thing?

The most important thing is to get your foot in the door and land that job. Right? Some people try to find out the name of the hiring manager or recruiter and send them flowers, chocolates, expensive gift baskets etc. This might sound weird and I don’t suggest people do it but I’ve seen different tactics work.

Why not try your own experiment out. If you are looking for a job and have had no responses in a while why not add your photo and see if your phone starts ringing.

If you have decided to include your photo on your resume than at least have a great photo of yourself. Here’s 100 Ways to Take Better Portrait Photographs

Photo by: AKA Dilweed

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12 thoughts on “Why You Shouldn’t Add Your Photo To Your Resume

  1. Emm
    January 10, 2011 at 2:21 am

    I’ve never thought to post a photo on a resume but my friend did and seemed to get quite a few responses. However, after reading this, I would be less likely to. I always feel quite uneasy in London as many recruiters will take a photo of you and it seems incongruous with the fact that they’re not meant to ask for your age.

  2. January 10, 2011 at 2:28 am

    Any recruiters taking your picture should raise a red flag for you!
    There is no reason for them to do that and in some places might even be illegal. Thanks for the comment.

  3. January 10, 2011 at 2:33 am

    I want to include this photo on my resume.

    Is that good:

    http://tinyurl.com/myawesomeresumephoto

  4. January 10, 2011 at 2:36 am

    also i want to include a video on my resume.

    this one:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0

    what are your thoughts on this matter?

    thanks in advance.

  5. January 10, 2011 at 2:44 am

    LOL!! Very funny. Stop being such a goof. I’ve been Rick Roll’d before so nice try…hehehe.

    This is exactly why a photo of yourself on your resume doesn’t work. People don’t take them seriously.

  6. September 28, 2011 at 6:59 am

    hi Dorothy.

    If I may, i would like to ask you something. You said thing about “You don’t want to show the recruiter all of your cards”. So the thing that must-NOT write at our resume is our marital status, kids, previous salary, and other personal things.
    Now… How about our achievement at our previous job? I see many resume always write their achievement and worse–not their work achievement but also form several sport/art championship (is that really need?)

    Anyway, your article help me answering need/no-need to put my photo on my resume..

    many thanks
    robby-indonesia

  7. September 28, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Hi Robby from Indonesia :)
    Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I think you absolutely need to highlight your achievements at your previous job. As a recruiter I want to see what you accomplished and what you are proud of in your last roles not just what your responsibilities were. Many people just cut/paste the job description and that’s not what a recruiter wants to read. I would definitely keep the achievements work related. I don’t care if you won the championship in your badminton or football league or even worse if your kids softball team made it to the finals. You can bring those other achievements up during the face-to-face interview if it’s appropriate because that’s where I may want to learn something fun about you. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog and you’re finding the articles helpful. Thanks again for leaving a comment.

  8. NK
    January 19, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Hi Dorothy, I’ve heard it is better if the resume is limited to a single page. I’ve managed to crunch the required info in a one pager at the same time ensuring that it does not look cluttered. But to achieve this, I had to forgo the margins on the document by one inch on each side. So on a A4 size paper, my resume leaves 0.5 inch margin on all four sides. Is this fine? Ans does it matter at all? Thank you in advance for your reply….

  9. January 19, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Hi NK,
    A resume should be 2-3 pages long (max!) and a cover letter should a page. A single page resume is only really ok if you’re a high school student. When you forgo the margins it really affects the appearance of your resume. Remember that the format and over all look of the resume is important. It should look modern and clean and when you only allow yourself 0.5 inch margin on all four sides it just does not look professional. Hope that helps.

  10. Colleen
    June 1, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Hi Dorothy, I never in a million years thought I’d been considering adding a photo or photo’s to my resume. I agree with most that its not nessasary and seems silly or even cocky. However I’m currently applying for jobs in community outreach and education. Jobs that demand a kind, highly professional (many times representing city/county government), yet friendly/approachable face. I have many professional event and presentation photos from my past and current jobs and I find it hard to think they wouldn’t help. What are your thoughts? Almost like a marketing porfolio?

  11. Mechell Divers
    November 9, 2012 at 12:59 am

    I added my picture to my Resume, thinking it just might help with getting my foot in the door for a interview. Headshot only, very professional, however I’m getting absolutly NO Responses! I also just read an article that in west United States – over 93% of human resource personnel are women. My Resumes probably have been going directly into the trash. WOW, that was a bad idea! So now I ditched my resume with photo and spent a considerable amount of time rewriting my resume, focusing on my skills & abilities. Now maybe the calls for interviews will start rolling in. My next problem is getting past 93% of women in the HR dept that don’t like attractive women. My guess a BIG removable hairy mole, just might do the trick & I will ditch my contacts and wear my glasses! Lookout world I’m getting hired

  12. November 10, 2012 at 6:20 am

    Hahaha Mechell! Thanks for leaving such a funny comment :) There is no proof that your resumes went straight to the trash but I know what your trying to say. Either way I think it’s a fun experiment to try and I do hope you get more bites with your new resume sans photo ;)

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