Should You Include A Picture On Your Resume?

Writing a resume is perhaps the toughest job on the planet. But even after all that work writing a resume that markets your skills and abilities, one mistake could tank your chances of getting the job—adding a picture of yourself.

Should You Include A Picture On Your Resume?Virtually all resume writing experts agree: Never include your picture in your resume. That is, a photograph of yourself even if it is a professional headshot.

If you have written your own resume but need help with the design, like many DIYers, you may choose to use a resume template.

But, buyer beware! The vast majority of so-called professional resume templates include space for a picture.

Avoid these!


Plainly put, a picture in your resume of yourself plants the seed of psychological bias. It is distracting to the recruiters (many who will reject any resume with a photo of the job hunter) and reduces valuable space in your resume. Let’s learn more.

Including a Picture On Your Resume May Cause Psychological Bias

It’s against labor laws to discriminate against job candidates based on age, gender, religion, race, or ethnicity. However, adding a picture to your resume can create an unconscious bias against you, and there would be no way of proving it.

You may potentially be stereotyped by a recruiter and get dropped out early on in the hiring process for reasons as trifling as the color of your skin or the shape of your nose.

Today, many hiring managers filter out resumes with pictures to root out the chances of bias and discrimination in the hiring process.

The best advice: Leave it off—don’t include your picture on your resume.

Even The Most Professional Headshot Is Unprofessional  On Your Resume

Images are the language of communication these days, especially since the camera was rolled up into a phone. But, beware. Old habits die hard in professional settings.

LinkedIn promotes the idea of including a headshot in your portfolio and it is a good idea to do so. Still, most employers expect candidates to keep it old school and minimalistic –photo-less—when it comes to the resume.

If you add a picture to your resume, no matter how nice it looks, you may come off as unprofessional. You also create the impression that you don’t understand current business practices and norms.

Again, for all of these reasons, many companies have policies that prohibit resumes with headshots from being reviewed.

A Picture On Your Resume Is Distracting

On your resume, you have limited space to sell your skills and qualifications for the job. You need the employer’s undivided attention, and including a photo of yourself on there creates an unnecessary distraction.

Yes, graphics and design can improve your resume when they serve a strategic purpose and help to communicate your personal brand and qualifications. A personal picture on your resume does the opposite.

Studies show that a recruiter spends somewhere between 8 and 15 seconds reviewing a resume. Including a headshot could mean that they take half of that time analyzing your looks and not your skills. Assuming they look at it at all that is, which they probably will not.

What To Do Instead

In summary, focus on your skills, experience, and accomplishments in your resume. Don’t add your personal picture. Do this instead:

In short, including a picture on your resume hurts your chances of getting the job. You have one shot at making an impactful impression, do it with smart resume writing and intelligent resume formatting.

When you use a Distinctive Resume Template, you can be confident that your resume adheres to all current best practices.

Distinctive Resume Templates do not include headshots.  All of our resume templates are created for excellence to help land you many interviews and multiple job offers. You can check out all our template collections here.

As is accepted in the business world, the resume templates that are part of our collections do not include photos, but each collection includes optional professional biography and cover letter templates. Some collections include other templates for resume addendums, networking resumes, and a professional reference list. As mentioned above, biographies traditionally include headshots, as do one-page executive value profiles (aka networking resumes), so you will find space for that on each template. Here are some examples.

The examples below are from our Project Prestige Collection and our Visionaryworks Collection. As you can see, the resume template does not include a photo, while the biography template does include one.

Distinctive Resume Templates | Home
Project Prestige Biography Template
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Visionaryworks Biography Template

Frequently Asked Questions

Why shouldn't I include a picture on my resume?

Including a picture on your resume can lead to unintentional bias from the hiring manager. It’s important that the focus stays on your skills and qualifications, rather than your appearance. Additionally, many companies have policies that prohibit reviewing resumes with photos.

What is the problem with using a professional headshot on my resume?

Even the most professional headshot can be seen as unprofessional on a resume. It suggests that you may not understand current business practices and norms. And again, it can distract from the actual content of your resume—your skills and qualifications.

Aren't pictures a good way to personalize my resume?

While personalizing your resume is important, a picture isn’t the best way to do it. Studies show recruiters only spend between 8 and 15 seconds reviewing a resume. If you include a headshot, they might spend half that time analyzing your looks instead of your skills.

If I can't include a picture on my resume, where can I showcase my professional headshot?

There are appropriate places for your professional headshot. Include a link in your resume header to your LinkedIn profile, which should have your headshot. Also, you can use your headshot on networking business cards and your professional biography.

How can I ensure my resume follows current best practices?

You can ensure your resume follows current best practices by using a Distinctive Resume Template. These templates are designed for excellence and don’t include space for a headshot, keeping the focus on your qualifications.

Where can I include a photo if not on my resume?

You can include a photo on your professional biography and networking business cards. The Distinctive Resume Templates collection offers optional biography and letterhead templates that include space for a headshot.

Why are Distinctive Resume Templates better than others?

Distinctive Resume Templates adhere to all current best practices. They are designed to help land you interviews and job offers without distracting the hiring manager with a headshot. They also offer optional templates for biographies and letterheads that do include space for a headshot.

Is there any situation where I can include my photo on my resume?

No, it’s best not to include your photo on your resume. The risk of unconscious bias or distraction is too great. Instead, let your skills and experience speak for themselves. Use your photo in professional settings like LinkedIn or your biography.

About the Author: Michelle Dumas

Michelle Dumas is the founder and CEO of Distinctive Career Services, one of the internet's longest-standing and most respected professional resume writing firms. Michelle is a 6X certified and 7X award-winning resume writer and career consultant. Michelle designed and created all of the templates in the Distinctive Resume Templates Collections found at

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