You might be surprised, but one of the top mistakes many recent grads make in job applications is including a photo in their resume when it is not required. Unlike social media where a display photo is quite common, resumes typically do not accompany pictures unless it is an understood requirement of the industry (i.e. modeling, acting, etc).
However, for all other jobs that do not necessitate a category of physical appearances to perform a job, including a picture of yourself in the resume is actually a bad idea. Here are 4 other reasons why this is true.
1. It’s too much information: A picture is worth a thousand words and indeed this is true for a resumes as well. But in this scenario, a picture that speaks a “thousand words” could mean trouble. In order words, it could be telling the employer more about you than you may want him to know.
A great number of studies have been conducted revealing how certain face features are associated with certain personality traits. For example, several of studies have proved that high cheekbones are associated with assertiveness and aggressiveness, while “baby faces” or face with more fat are associated with compassion and friendliness.
Whether this is true for you or not, you can expect the employer to be reading your face and making judgments that are irrelevant to the position in question.
2. You could be discriminated against: While your resume certainly will not include your religion, age, race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability status, or anything that could easily be discriminated against, the picture will say it all even before you get a call. Sure, discrimination is illegal. However, there’s no way of knowing whether or not a potential employer rejected you for a discriminatory reason or some other genuine reason. In fact, many employers specifically ask applicants not to include a photo in their resume to avoid the possibility of such an accusation and potential lawsuits.
3. It’s a distraction: Humans are naturally visual creatures and in many ways it makes them a bit shallow. Naturally, it’s really difficult for us to try and not judge someone by their looks, clothes, hairstyle, sense of fashion, and other visual cues. You may think that being Hollywood gorgeous may win you a job, but it could actually do the opposite (make you look like a not-so-smart-blonde).
Furthermore, by putting a picture on your resume you’re allowing an employer’s attention and focus to divert from other “professional” aspects of the resume (education, qualification, skills, experiences, awards, etc) that are more important.
4. An Applicant Tracking System may reject it: Many employers don’t have the time to go through each resume individually, which is why they use scanners and computers to do half of the job for them. Some of these applicant tracking systems and scanners may reject a resume because they don’t understand the file or the format, making your resume illegible. Unfortunately, when that happens it’s more than likely that your resume will simple be “deleted”.
The real picture is always better!
Finally, I’d like to advise candidates against putting their picture in a resume because it simply can’t capture what you’re all about! The face you put on your resume in only a small part of you, and very often even that’s not accurately captured. It’s always better to wait and show the “real you” to the recruiters when you’re called for an interview.
Lastly, it’s more important to be confident about your skills, abilities, experiences, and other professional qualifications and let those shine first for a job application than your appearances. Where a picture is not required, make sure your resume is well written and that’s really all you’ll need!
Hannah Lewis is an educationist by profession with expertise in the field of writing and proofreading. She’s currently working at Essay Plus where she helps university students who approach asking; can you write my essay.