Should I include a photo on my resume?

Posted October 17, 2013

Do a quick Google search on this question, and you’ll be bombarded in seconds with conflicting opinions. Some experts say you shouldn’t, some say why not? Let’s start with a summary of the three main reasons cited for NOT including one:

Risk of Discrimination

Because it is illegal to consider factors like age, race, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability status in hiring decisions, hiring managers would rather not run the risk of being accused of discrimination. Some companies will immediately reject resumes with photos, just to avoid that potential accusation.

Incompatibility with Technology

So many companies are now using ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems), which scan resumes and break them into searchable text to compare them to pre-selected criteria. If you include a photo, you may crash or choke up the system and your resume will be rejected.

Looking Unprofessional

For years now, the trend of including a photo on your resume has seemed dated. And there’s always the fear that you’ll be judged by your looks, or just by your photo. Sadly, some hiring managers report that applicants have used casual and often inappropriate snapshots, such as beach or party photos instead of a professional headshot.

But—is there any research that proves using a photo is bad? Not really. There are a lot of anecdotes, but not many actual studies. So are there any reasons you should include a photograph?

The New Rules 

Times are changing, and your resume should, too. We live in a visual, multimedia age, where people want to see more than just text on a page. You’ve probably been told to tell your story and sell your personal brand when you’re looking for a job, and pictures and graphics will certainly do so. And of course, with hiring managers and recruiters Googling most potential candidates, they’ll very likely see your picture on LinkedIn or other sites anyway.

So should you or shouldn’t you? In general, it depends on the job you’re seeking. If you’re looking for a sales position, where a pleasant face and dynamic personality will certainly help you succeed on the job, the right headshot can help your chances of getting an interview. But if you’re applying for accounting jobs where you’ll be sitting in a cubicle, mostly working on your own no client interaction, including a headshot on your resume might seem strange.

One last thing—how can you avoid jamming up an ATS? Keep your resume simple and ensure that your photo is not too large. Any type of overdone formatting or a crowded page is going to mess up an ATS system scan.

Any questions? Whether you’re looking for resume help, interview assistance or a chance to get your foot in the door with one of the Southeast’s best employers, call Team Ambassador. We’d be happy to talk to you! If you are looking manufacturing jobs, contact Ambassador Personnel today.