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VOL. 41 | NO. 38 | Friday, September 22, 2017

Should your resume include a photo? Not really

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Recently, I began receiving a question I haven’t heard much before: “Should I put my photo on my resume?”

It’s a great question. And if you’ve wondered the same thing, you’re not alone.

Resume templates are beginning to pop up on the internet with photos embedded.

In all honesty, these templates are often beautifully designed. They look like a work of art.

At first glance, they’re very enticing and make you question what you thought were the rules of the road with resumes. It makes you wonder if things have changed since the last time you looked.

Despite this, I would not recommend putting a photo on your resume. Companies aren’t supposed to factor certain information – age, race and gender – into hiring decisions.

Providing a photo up front gives the company the option to make judgments about you that are unrelated to your work experience.

Remember, it takes years to build up that experience. Yet, it takes less than 10 seconds to make a first impression – even on a resume.

A hiring manager looks at your resume for just a few moments before deciding whether or not to read further. It’s best to use this precious time on information such as your college degree and work experience rather than your current hairstyle and outfit.

In addition to taking the hiring manager’s eyes off of your expertise, you also risk leaving a negative first impression.

There are certain unspoken rules when it comes to business. For example, you should always wear closed-toed shoes with a suit, or you should always be on time to an interview.

The hiring manager probably won’t bring up the picture in the top corner of your resume, but they will wonder how up-to-date your business skills really are. They’ll wonder why you included a photo when it’s something that’s not done.

The same rule applies to your business cards. One of the only fields where it’s completely normal to have a photo on your business card is real estate.

It makes sense. Realtors are salespeople, and buying a home is a very personal process. You want to feel like you know your salesperson well.

But, in any other industry, a photo on the business card typically looks amateurish. It can make your otherwise-professional cards look homemade or too salesy.

If you have a great photo you want to show off, the perfect place for it is LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile is incomplete if it doesn’t have a photo of you. Be sure the photo is just you. Wear business or business casual clothing. Take the photo of your face, with good light, and smile at the camera.

If standards for resumes change, we will revisit this topic. But, for now, don’t be drawn into the pretty template with the bright photo.

Using it will only make you look out of touch with hiring and the unspoken rules of business.

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

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