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.
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.
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:
Include a link in your resume to your LinkedIn profile (most employers expect this)
Have networking business cards created and include your headshot on them
Include your professional headshot on your biography (headshots are traditionally included on a biography) or on your shorter, graphic-style networking resume (a one-page brief used as a complement to your more detailed traditional resume, for networking purposes).
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 writing and intelligent 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 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 biography and letterhead templates. As mentioned above, biographies traditionally include headshots, 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.