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Everlasting Discussion: Photos in Resumes

For the United States of America the discussion about putting a photo on a resume was always somewhat special. It seems like it is always tempting for applicants to add a picture to a resume in order to make it more appealing in the eyes of hiring managers. However, most of the times the answer to this question was no. Many years there was a strong aversion to use photos in the resume writing process. The reason for that is that it would otherwise bring focus on such characteristics as gender, ethnicity, age, etc. These are so called protected characteristics employers can discriminate against when they short-list candidates. There are other reasons why resume writing experts don’t recommend adding a picture of yourself to your main marketing document. The question that should be asked today whether it is true today. With this world changing so fast, does that rule stand today?

Can I Include a Photo on My Resume Today?

2000px-Male-question.svgWe live in a multimedia age. In other words, it is the visualization era. People no longer like to read long blocks of text alone. Today we are looking for visuals that are to help us understand what the text is all about. It is no wonder that infographics become more and more popular these days. Even articles posted on different websites contain the photos of the authors in order to give a better idea to readers who wrote the text. And though resume writing is different from article writing we became so much more visual in how we communicate that adding one picture to a CV doesn’t seem like the worst idea. Besides, over 50% of employers check social network accounts of the applicants that appear to be worthy to be invited for an interview. Most profiles have profile pictures so why resist the human nature and keep your photo in secret if hiring managers will likely to check it online?

Well, despite all the tendencies and social media popularization there are some things hindering mass usage of photos on resumes and CVs. The thing is that employers are to make decisions based on experience, skills and qualifications. Such characteristics as appearance, ethnicity, gender, etc. are protected by labor laws. Therefore, pictures don’t contribute any relevant information to hiring decision making. The fact that applicants add photos to their resumes and CVs sends a signal to employers that they don’t understand hiring protocols (which doesn’t make a good impression at all). The situation is different in European countries – there are countries where a photo on a resume is actually required. In the United States of America, however, the situation is quite the opposite.

Nevertheless, we have to admit that employers become more and more liberal these days when it comes to photos on resumes. Especially if they are looking to fill in the position where appearance is important and where it can demonstrate the favorable traits. Besides, adding a picture of yourself gives you control over how you want to appear to potential employers. Otherwise, they will most likely visit your social network profile page to check how you look. But it would still be a risk to place a photo on a resume because that communicates one’s misunderstanding of hiring protocols (in the USA) and what really matters on a CV. So can you add a photo on a resume? Knowing the aforementioned pros and cons we believe you can make a good decision on your own now. Just keep in mind that a photo alone won’t land you an interview. A well-organized resume will.

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