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Should you include a profile photo on your resume? To answer this question, you need to first figure out what you are trying to get out of it. Are you seeking an acting or modeling role in which a resume profile picture is critical to the job? Or is it a common practice to include a profile picture for resumes in your local job market? Do resumes need pictures at all? While it may seem like a good idea, adding a resume picture might hurt your chance to get the job.
In most cases, if not all, you should avoid directly putting a profile picture in your resume. Based on various factors such as the country of the job market, the requirement of the job, or different resume review methods, you might or might not need to include a resume profile photo. Some countries eliminate candidates with resume profile pictures immediately to avoid discrimination and unconscious bias when reviewing.
Most employers use automated Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to scan resumes, in which images are unable to be processed, so your resume would be discarded before being reviewed by employers. In addition, the recruiters might check out your social media regardless of whether you include a profile picture for your resume.
In this article, you’ll learn whether you should or should not include resume images. If you do need a formal picture for your resume, refer to the tips and examples of adding a professional photo for your resume.
There are three key considerations when deciding if a photo should be included in a resume:
1. The country
The main reason that a country would not accept resumes with profile photos is when there are strict anti-discrimination and labor laws. Companies in those countries must be able to prove that their hiring processes are clear from any biases based on race, gender, appearance, age, etc. To prevent trouble, they would filter out the resumes with profile pictures at the beginning.
2. The job application requirement
There are some exceptions to the first consideration. If you are applying for a job in which your appearance is crucial to the role, then you might need to include a resume profile picture. You should definitely add a photo in your resume if it is asked.
3. The industry
Depending on the industry and the type of job market, you might earn a better chance of getting recognized if you include a professional picture of yourself for your resume.
While there is no definite answer to the question, it is best to always research the updated trend before sending in your resume. For now, it is best practice to NOT include a CV or resume profile photo when:
1. Applying jobs in these countries:
2. It is not specified on the job requirement.
If it is not specified in the job description, and you are not sure if it is common practice to include a profile picture for your resume in your local job market – don’t include it then. Since the potential risk of having pictures in your resume is greater than the potential benefit. If you still want to add your picture, follow the tips for taking a professional photo for a resume, or choose an alternative from the sections below.
3. You want to create an ATS-friendly resume.
Most corporations and companies with competitive roles may receive hundreds or even thousands of resumes. Many rely on the ATS to filter out resumes such as the ones that lack related keywords or are unable to be processed (like resumes with images!).
In order to pass the ATS and get your resume reviewed by a real human being, you should format your resume with text only and avoid photos.
4. It might lead to discrimination and bias.
Most HR experts agree that a profile picture on a resume or CV can lead to discrimination or bias, both consciously and unconsciously. That’s right, stereotypes and biases may influence the recruiters’ decisions without them noticing the effect.
Therefore, many countries, especially the US and UK, eliminate candidates with resume profile pictures in the beginning to reduce the possibility of discrimination.
5. It might be deemed as unprofessional.
One might think adding a clean headshot would make you look more professional and enhance the resume overall – but it doesn’t always work. The fact of including a picture in the resume itself might be deemed as unprofessional for many employers.
For competitive jobs or companies, recruiters might receive hundreds of resumes. With merely a few seconds of screening time, recruiters need to be able to see and remember the most relevant information on the resume. Don’t let them get distracted by your resume profile photo when they can read an extra line of your experience that adds more value to your working ability.
Having a CV or resume profile picture might help you gain the upper hand when:
1. Applying for jobs in these locations:
2. It is required by the job.
In some countries it is illegal for the employer to ask for your resume profile photo. To protect your rights, stay vigilant with the latest hiring regulations in your local job market. If you are asked to include a resume profile picture, make sure to consider the resume picture examples and tips that are up next.
3. You are applying for a related field.
As mentioned previously, sometimes the hiring criteria may be based upon appearance like roles in the entertainment industry – models, actors, dancers, broadcast journalists, etc. Thus, including a formal photo in the resume could help recruiters make better hiring decisions.
Now you might be wondering – if at all necessary, what kind of picture should I put on my resume?
What is worse than having your resume being tossed out in the initial stage is to leave an unprofessional impression on people who get to review your resume. Keep an eye on the following do’s and don’ts for taking a professional photo in a resume:
✅ Good resume profile photos:
❌ Bad resume profile photos:
There are many ways to incorporate your picture in your resume without showing it directly. Oftentimes the recruiters would search for your social media like Facebook or LinkedIn to find out what you look like. Thus, it isn’t necessary nor recommended to put your pictures directly in your resume.
Here are some better ways to include your photos in your resume:
Putting a face to your resume is like having a personal brand with a logo. If you want to get instant recognition for your resume, try designing a personal logo. It doesn’t have to be complicated; you can create a logo out of your initial, full name, or anything that is easily recognizable. It is also a good way to showcase a snippet of your creativity and design skills.
Save your recruiters from the hassle to google your social media account by directing them to the pages that you want them to see. It could be your Instagram photography account, your YouTube channel, or a Behance link to your digital portfolio. Adding links instead of putting resume images would save you so much space and make your resume more organized.
If you have a good LinkedIn profile with your picture on it, great! Just insert a link to your profile and you are good to go. Remember, the picture should follow the tips above as if you are adding it directly to your resume.
Putting your profile photo on your business card instead of your resume is a great choice if you are not sure whether your local job market allows photos in resumes. Since it is only attached to your resume but not directly on it, the recruiters will decide if they should keep it or toss it out.
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Well then, you might ask, where to place the photo in a resume? If a photo needs to be included directly in a resume, follow the tips below:
It doesn’t matter if it is right/left-aligned or centered in the resume header. As long as you place it beside your name, it would help the recruiters easily identify and associate your face to your name.
If you really need to include a photo, put it in an appropriate size. You don’t want it to be the focus of your resume. After all, your qualifications are what make you stand out and help you land a job. The size of your resume profile picture should be around 1.5 to 2 inches square (also commonly known as a 2-by-2 passport size).
Use CakeResume online resume builder for free and easy-to-navigate templates. With just a few drags and clicks, you can quickly edit the layout of your resume with options to add or delete your profile photo.
There are some CV and resume templates readily available in Word. Simply search for “resume” or “CV” for all the templates. Choose the template that best fits your qualifications and profile section. You’ll also see a few templates with an editable photo section in the resume header.
Take a look at these samples of resume headers to get a clearer idea of how you can create a resume format with photo and include your very own professional photo in your resume.
--- Originally written by Sandy Tuo ---