Nearly every candidate I see during a week will ask for my opinion on their resume. Of course, every recruiter in town has a different opinion on the right ‘look and feel’ for a resume: font, structure, colour, length and the inclusion of a photo are hot topics in the land of the job-hunter, where everyone is seeking that competitive edge.
And this brings me to my first point: Your resume is like your fashion sense. Everyone likes something different and there is no right or wrong style. But there ARE some basic looks and styles that will win every time and there ARE some basic ‘resume fashion blunders’ that will lose every time.
Let’s stay focused on the topic of this blog: “Should I put my photo on my resume?” Despite being quite decisive about many topics concerning recruitment, I am not going to give you a black and white answer to this one, because I think that (like your fashion sense) it’s your decision. At the end of the day, your resume is a personal reflection of your professional self.
However, when you are considering whether to include your photo on your resume or not, I would encourage you to think about:
Whether the ‘unconscious bias’ of the reader may inadvertently obstruct their view of your experience. I am seeing a trend in employers who want to look at ‘blind’ resumes, where all identifying details, including names, are removed to eliminate bias.
Most people will cross-reference your resume with your LinkedIn profile. Even the most casual search via Google will likely help an employer find a photo of you. If you want to head this off at the pass, include a link to your LinkedIn profile on your resume.
If you still just love the look of your mug and think it might be the accessory your resume has been searching for all its life, I have outlined below some ‘do’s and don’ts’ to avoid any resume fashion blunders:
DO make sure your photo is professionally appropriate. No-one wants to see you at last year’s Christmas party.
DO make sure your photo is high-res. You don’t want to be mistaken for something or someone else.
DO make sure the photo reflects your approachability. I kid you not, I saw a facial expression on a resume photo once that made me too scared to call the person. It was terrifying!
DO make sure the photo is of a size and placement on the page that doesn’t detract from the incredible content of your resume. Remember: your photo is there to complement the substance of your resume. It could be the hat or the necklace to your resume that adds that little bit of “je ne sais quoi” to the total look.
DON’T get so caught up with your mugshot that you forget about what’s really important: the content of your resume. That’s a whole other blog topic that I need to write about for you, so for now please just heed the warning.
Photo or no photo? If you follow my resume fashion rules, I honestly don’t believe it will determine whether you get the job or not, but it may help you to reflect your professional background in a more personal way. If you do include a photo and make a total resume fashion blunder, it could be a good reason for an employer NOT to read on.