Should you attach a picture to your resume? Well it depends. If you’re handsome or beautiful, then by all means go for it! If not… well, I’m just joking! Seriously, this is one of the most asked about questions when it comes to preparing a stand out resume. In this article, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of attaching your picture on your standout resume.
But before we delve further into the pros and cons, it’s worth noting that often times, employers specify if they want you to attach a picture of you to the professional resume you submit. If that’s the case, then obviously attaching a picture, regardless of the pros and cons, should be considered moot and academic. It’s only when the employer doesn’t specify whether or not you should attach a picture should you weigh the pros and cons.
The best reason to attach your picture on your resume is to “humanize” you, i.e., gives your employer the opportunity to see the face behind the credentials. While many people balk at the idea of judging books by the cover, let’s be real – to a great extent, looks do matter. Why?
The way you look can give your employer insights as to how you probably are as a person. At the very least, a clean and professional looking picture on your resume sends the signal that you are responsible enough to take good care of yourself. For many years, I couldn’t fathom how on Earth can my appearance give people a reason to judge my character. I mean, so what if a person’s on the heavier side of the scale? For as long he or she gets the job done, that’s all that matters right?
Well to a great extent that’s right. But here’s the thing – our appearance is often times dependent on the amount and quality of care we give to our bodies. A very obese person, assuming he or she doesn’t have any thyroid or other metabolism disorders, is a result of overindulgence in food and sloth or laziness in terms of physical activities or exercise. This communicates a rather weak will power or that such a person is probably not resilient enough. Worse, it can give potential employers that such a person is at high risk for serious illnesses later on, which will negatively impact the company.
And if you’re applying for a job in sales, public relations or exposure to mass media, one of the things that can set you apart from equally talented people are your looks. Let’s – pardon the pun – face it, some industries, positions and jobs do require good looks for success. That’s just the way it is.
Another advantage to attaching your photo to your resume is it makes you easier to remember by your potential employer. We have to accept the fact that we now live in a very visually oriented world and not attaching a picture to your professional resume runs you the risk of being forgotten – unless you really have a unique sounding name like Borgonaut Sphinxtanner or Jumbolicious Franks. With so many people competing for relatively fewer jobs in the market right now, you can’t afford not to at least catch the attention of your potential employers. Much more, you can’t afford to stand out for the wrong reasons, e.g., being singled out for being the only candidate on the pile without a picture.
Another case for attaching your picture to your resume is integrity, especially if you’re not so good-looking. If you don’t attach your picture to your resume, your potential employers’ recruitment staff decides to search you out on social media, and they find that you’re not good looking to say the least, they may get the impression that the reason you didn’t include your picture is because you’re trying to hide how you really look in order for you to get one foot in the door. And even if you’re not good looking, the fact that you attached your picture to your professional resume means you’re comfortable about who you are and in your skills to put it out there at the onset.
One of the biggest reasons why many people don’t attach their photos to their resumes is the Big D – Discrimination. One of the ways discrimination happens when you attach your picture is when – and I mean no offense here – you’re not good looking. We live in a visual world and as much as we extol the virtue of giving equal opportunities to everybody, the sad reality is that many employers and their recruiting agents still judge – to a great extent – based on looks. Many people find that by not attaching a picture, they minimize their risks for being discriminated against and allow their credentials to do enough of the talking to at least get a chance to be interviewed.
Another way discrimination happens is when employers refuse to accept resumes with pictures of applicants. Yes, that happens in countries with laws against discrimination of job applicants. There have been cases wherein applicants who weren’t good looking – to say the least – were rejected and those applicants filed cases of discrimination against the companies that supposedly rejected them because of their “looks”. In this case, employers discriminate as a means of legal protection.
Another disadvantage to attaching photos in resumes is technological incompatibility. Techno mumbo wha? Allow me to explain in layman’s terms what this is about.
In highly industrialized countries, many of their biggest companies utilize what’s known as ATSs, or applicant tracking systems, and databases to convert resumes into standard text chunks that can be processed efficiently for conducting compatibility searches based on criteria that’s been predetermined. This makes searching for the right people for the right jobs in huge databases very efficient and easy to conduct. Pictures are not standard text chunks, which can cause technical challenges when ATSs run searches simply because pictures can’t be recognized by such systems. As such, professional resumes with pictures become undesirable or unattractive for many such companies.
TO ATTACH OR NOT TO ATTACH?
Given the pros and cons presented, should you or shouldn’t you attach your picture to your resume? The answer is… it depends!
First, you must consider the standard business practices in the country you reside in or plan to work in. As mentioned earlier, some industrialized countries have laws against discrimination against job applicants based on gender, age, status, looks, etc. In such countries, many companies flat out reject CVs or resumes that contain pictures on the grounds that they can be sued by rejected applicants who invoke the anti-discrimination law. So in such cases, it would be best not to attach your picture to your resumes.
In some countries, especially the less developed ones, not attaching your picture to your professional resume is considered to be a big mistake. Why? Because many recruiters still want to have an idea of how applicants look like. For them, it’s one of the ways to evaluate and judge applicants well to minimize their risks of choosing the wrong candidates. If you live in such a country or are looking to work in such countries, then it’s obviously to your advantage to attach your picture to your resume.
Another consideration is the actual job you’re applying for. Some occupations require good looks such as flight attendants, fashion models (obviously), public relations, and sales. For jobs such as these, it’s considered common sense to include your picture in your CV. For jobs such as computer programming, bookkeeping, financial analysis, and engineering, looks hardly matter and hence, there may not be much premium to attaching your picture to your resumes.
Another consideration is the medium by which you’ll send your professional resume or CV. If it will be by mail, hand-carried by you personally or by email, it’s ok to attach your picture to your resume. But if you’re planning to fax your resume to your prospective employer, it’s not a great idea to attach your picture. Unless you consider seeing only your eyes and teeth as a good way to increase your chances of being hired, I suggest you don’t attach anymore.
Lastly, you should consider your own credentials. If you’re just starting out in the corporate world and don’t have enough working experience yet, you can use a good, professional looking picture to project an image of professionalism and communicate to your prospective employer that you have great corporate potential for success. As the popular song by the band Roxette goes, get dressed for success because let’s face it – people who look good tend to get more chances in life because simply, that’s one of the ways people are judged.
Pictures can also, if you look good, communicate to your potential employer or their recruiting agents that you’re responsible enough to take good care of yourself. And since charity supposedly begins at home, such an impression can help convince your prospective employers that you will also put in the same amount – if not more – of care and effort in the position you’re applying for. So if you know you look good, it may be a good idea to include your picture. But if you look otherwise, better not.