Photo in Resume: Capturing Attention or Causing Controversy? [+ Tips & Examples]

Should you include a photo on your resume? To decide whether to include picture in resume, consider its relevance to your field and local job market. Are you seeking an acting or modeling role in which a resume profile picture is critical? Or is it a common practice to include picture in resume in your local job market? While it may seem like a good idea, adding a resume picture could also impact your chance negatively.

Surprisingly, research from Capterra shows that 75% of recruiters use automated Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to scan resumes. However, it seems that not every ATS is picture-friendly, so there is a chance that your resume could be discarded before being reviewed by potential employers. 

In most cases, if not all, you should avoid directly putting a profile picture in your resume. Some countries even prefer candidates not to include resume profile pictures to avoid discrimination and unconscious bias when reviewing applications. Take the anti-discrimination law in Britain for example. 

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 resume photo tips and examples below.

Should I Include My Photo on My Resume?

There are three key considerations when deciding if a resume profile 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 the trouble, they would filter out resumes with profile pictures since the beginning of hiring process.

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. 

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 on your resume.

When and Why Should I Not Include My Photo on My 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 listed countries.

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • Netherland
  • Sweden
  • Australia

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 a common practice to include a profile picture for your resume in your local job market – don’t include it. Since the potential risk of having pictures in your resume is greater than the potential benefit. If you still want to add your resume picture, make sure to follow the tips in putting professional pictures for resume.

3. You want to create an ATS-friendly resume.

Most corporations and companies with competitive roles 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 real human beings, 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 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.

When Should I Include My Photo on My Resume?

Having a CV or resume profile picture might help you gain the upper hand when:

1. Applying for jobs in these listed locations.

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Germany
  • Middle East
  • Portugal
  • Scandinavian Countries
  • South America
  • Spain

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 below in this article.

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.

Resume Photo Tips (+ Resume Photo Samples)

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.

Resume Pictures DO’s & DON'Ts:


  • Show your entire face and shoulder facing forward.
  • Show an approachable and friendly smile.
  • Dress according to the company culture with clear background.


  • Use a selfie or a super close-up of your face.
  • Low-quality photo or bad lighting.
  • Messy look (hair, makeup, etc.) or inappropriate background.

Resume Picture Examples:

Created by CakeResume

Alternatives to Photos in Resumes

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:

✨ Design a personal logo

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.

✨ Include your social media pages

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.

✨ Use a good LinkedIn profile picture and include the LinkedIn profile in your resume

If you have a good LinkedIn profile with your picture on it, that's great! Just insert a link to your profile and you are good to go. Remember, the picture should follow the resume photo tips above as if you are adding it directly to your resume.

✨ Add a professional photo to your business card and attach it 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.

With CakeResume, you can easily create a resume online, free download your resume’s PDF formats, and utilize ATS-compliant templates to create a resume. Land your dream job, create your resume online (free download) now!

How to Place Photo In Resume

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:

💡 Place it in the resume header

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.

💡 Put it in an appropriate size

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 an online resume builder

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 resume profile photo. Also, there are many great resume examples and resume templates for you to download.

💡 Use resume formats with pictures available in Microsoft Word

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.

Resume Format with Photo

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.

Created using CakeResume
Created using CakeResume
Created using CakeResume

--- Originally written by Sandy Tuo ---

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