Here’s Why You Should Not Include a Picture on Your Resume

In 2020, our communications—even corporate communications—are highly visual. We commonly speak in memes, GIFs, and emojis, so attaching a picture to your resume may seem like a good idea. But not so fast…

There are several reasons why a picture on your resume could hurt your candidacy and, in most cases, no real benefits of including one. Although the tides may change in the future, leaving out the picture on your resume remains best practice and your safest bet for landing the job.

Adding a picture to your resume could hurt your chances of getting the job

Resumes are meant to display what makes you a great candidate. A picture could distract from your relevant skills and experience. If recruiters need and/or want to see you, they’ll be able to view the pictures on your social media profiles or meet you face-to-face during an interview.

There’s no need to include your headshot on your resume, but there are reasons to leave it off. Here are a few:

1. Recruiters are careful to avoid discrimination and unconscious bias

In an effort to ensure they’re not being biased or discriminating based on appearance, some recruiters will not consider resumes with pictures. For the same reasons, HR departments could have policies in place that prohibit resumes with pictures from being considered.

2. Some hiring managers may consider resume photos unprofessional

Resumes have a long and dignified history that’s not easily altered. While many recruiters understand the candidate’s desire to personalize their resumes with a headshot, others could consider the practice unprofessional or too informal.

3. A resume picture could distract from your skills and experience

One recent study found that recruiters only spend an average of 7.4 seconds initially scanning a resume. Including a picture on your resume could distract recruiters and leave less time for them to discover your top-notch skills and experience.

4. Images are not ATS-friendly

Most large companies and many small and mid-sized companies employ applicant tracking systems to manage and filter resumes. Resume pictures could confuse applicant tracking systems which typically only read text, keeping them from highlighting you as a top candidate.

When and where to display your professional headshot

There are some jobs, such as acting or modeling roles, that call for a picture on your resume—and in those cases, you certainly should include one. There are also some places in the world where resume pictures are customary. If you’re still on the fence, consider what a resume picture will add and what is best practice in your local job market before deciding.

If you’re looking for a place to display your professional photo, a personal website or your LinkedIn profile are great places to do so.

It’s true that recruiters and hiring managers will eventually come across your smiling face as you advance in the hiring process. But we still believe it’s best to keep your experience, skills, and achievements front and center when applying to jobs. As hiring practices are constantly evolving, we’ll keep an eye on the resume picture trend and update you if the industry recommendation changes.

By Christina Moreschi
Christina Moreschi Assistant Director of Career Development Christina Moreschi