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Why a Resume with a Picture Is a Bad Idea & What to Do Instead [Tips]

Why a Resume with a Picture Is a Bad Idea & What to Do Instead [Tips]

What if they love you, but they forget who you are and hire someone else by accident? A resume-with-picture sounds like a great idea. Learn why it’s a no-no and what to do instead.

Tom Gerencer
Tom Gerencer
Career Writer

Resume with picture—Good idea? Terrible idea?

 

Here’s the issue:

 

You sit for an interview. They love you. But then, landslide! They confuse your resume with someone else’s. You’re stuck asking friends for spare change.

 

Suddenly a resume picture sounds like a doggone good idea.

 

But is it?

 

This guide will show you:

 

  • Why a resume with a picture is a bad career move.
  • Why a picture on a resume makes a lot of sense (but you still shouldn’t do it).
  • What to do instead of putting a photo on your resume to get the same effect.
  • Five resume photo tips if you want to ignore my great advice.

 

Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here.

 

sample resume templates

Sample resume made with our builder—See more templates and create your resume here.

 

1

Should I Include a Picture on My Resume?

 

In the US, UK, or Canada, don’t submit a resume-with-picture. These countries are bias-conscious. Employers worried about discrimination lawsuits often discard resumes with pictures out of policy. Though resume photos may seem like a good idea, most career experts warn against them.

 

A resume with a picture isn’t a bad thought, though. It lets employers connect the sheet of paper with a living, breathing human being. It ensures they won’t forget you or confuse you with another applicant. But even resumes for fashion models or BMW salespeople should not include headshots.

 

Should You Put Your Picture on Your Resume? No. Here’s Why:

 

Employer nightmare:

 

She looks through 200 resumes. Ten have resume pictures. She hires someone.

 

A few weeks later, disaster! One of the picture-on-resume applicants sues her for discrimination—and wins.

 

This scenario is all too real. It’s so scary for businesses in the US, UK, and other countries that businesses have created policies against photos on resumes.

 

Some companies will actually toss out all resumes with pictures.

 

Unless you know for sure that the company won’t do that, don’t add a resume photo (even though it’s a great idea for other reasons).

 

Should You Send a Resume with a Picture for a Modeling Job?

 

What about jobs like modeling or high-end sales, where appearance is a qualification?

 

Nope.

 

Even with a modeling resume, don’t send a resume with a picture.

 

Save the photos for your portfolio. If it’s online (it should be) put a link to it in your resume header.

 

resume header

 

Pro Tip: Pictures on resumes are common in mainland Europe. CVs with resume photographs do add valuable job search info when there’s no danger of a lawsuit.

 

Want a clean, professional resume header even without a resume picture? See our guide: Professional Resume Header Examples & Why They Work

 

2

Why a Resume With Picture Is a Good Idea (But Don’t Do It)

 

It’s all too common.

 

The hiring team sits in the conference room with a stack of 190 resumes.

 

“Where’s that candidate?” they say. “The one we like. It’s this one, isn’t it?”

 

It’s sooo much easier with a picture on a resume. They can just say, “Yep, this guy here.”

 

A resume with picture is a great idea because your face is like a logo for your job search.

 

Employers can match resumes with faces and make it easier to keep their choices straight.

 

Plus, these days anyone can find you on social media anyway. It’s not like leaving your photo off a resume makes you sight-unseen.

 

But—

 

Policies against resume pictures are silly, but for now, they’re here to stay. Don’t try to fight them, or you’ll disqualify yourself from jobs you want.

 

Pro Tip: You’re right that linking a picture to your job search is a good idea. Just don’t put a picture on your resume. Need some ways to get around it? That’s up next.

 

Now you know not to send a resume-with-picture. Want some other great tips to make a resume that gets job offers? See our guide: How to Make a Resume for a Job [from Application to Interview in 24h]

 

3

How to Solve the Picture-on-Resume Dilemma

 

Make them remember you.

 

Don’t let the hiring team confuse you with another candidate.

 

Do include a photo in your job search.

 

Just don’t send a resume with a picture.

 

Here’s how:

 

Put a Logo on Your Resume

 

If a picture on a resume is like your “job search logo,” why not use an actual logo?

 

This works.

 

Companies use logos for a reason. They want instant recognition.

 

In your job search, you do too.

 

You have two options:

 

Pick the Initials template in our resume builder and you’ll get a ready logo with your initials on your resume:

 

 

It’s simple yet eye-catching. No wonder it’s one of the best resume templates available.

 

Or, if you want something more sophisticated—

 

Find an artist on Etsy or Fiverr who can whip up a logo cheap for you. Even quicker, use a free logo design service like Free Logo Design.

 

Then use our resume builder or Canva to add your logo picture to your resume.

 

logo on a resume

 

Add a Headshot Photo to Your LinkedIn Profile

 

You can’t put a photo on your resume.

 

But you can put a picture on your LinkedIn profile.

 

Then—

 

Put your LinkedIn handle in your resume header.

 

Voila. Instant resume with a picture, but without a picture on your resume.

 

linkedin profile

 

Half of all recruiters will click through to your LinkedIn profile.

 

The best LinkedIn pictures follow a few rules. Use this LinkedIn profile picture advice from a study of 60,000 user ratings by PhotoFeeler.com:

 

  1. Smile
  2. Squint a little
  3. Have a shadow on your jawline
  4. Dress well
  5. Look at the camera

 

Do those things, and you’ll stand out in a good way.

 

Add Photos to Business Cards and Stick Them to Your Resumes

 

You already know you shouldn’t use a resume picture.

 

So— 

 

Put a photo on your business card, then attach it to your resume.

 

It’s the best of both worlds.

 

Employers who like resume photos will get what they want.

 

Those who can’t use pictures on resumes will toss the business card and keep the resume.

 

Personally, I can’t stand business cards without pictures.

 

When I get home from a conference with a stack of cards, I can’t match any of them to the people I met.

 

The downside? Business cards with photos make you look a little like a realtor. :)

 

Pro Tip: Are you making a resume to bring to networking events? Non job-search resumes or one-sheets definitely should have pictures on them.

 

Your LinkedIn profile is an extension of your resume. See our guide for tips: 99 LinkedIn Profile Tips: Background Photo, Headline, Summary

 

4

How to Put a Picture on a Resume

 

Want to ignore my great advice not to send a resume with a picture?

 

Do so at your peril.

 

You already know a picture on a resume can get your resume tossed out.

 

If you want to do it anyway, here’s how. Follow the LinkedIn photo tips above:

 

  1. Smile (with your teeth)
  2. Squint a bit
  3. Shade your jawline
  4. Dress for success
  5. Make eye contact
  6. Show your head-and-shoulders only
  7. Have an unobtrusive background
  8. No selfies

 

Place your resume picture at the top left. (It’s okay to use the top right too.) 

 

Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid to pay for a professional resume photo. Professional pictures for work will make you look more, well, professional. They’re worth the extra $100.

 

Whether or not you send a resume with picture, a well-formatted resume can move you to the top of the pile. See our guide for help: Resume Format: Samples and Templates for all Types of Resumes

 

Key Takeaways

 

Here’s what you need to know about resumes with a picture:

 

  • Don’t put a picture on your resume. Too many employers will toss it from fear of a discrimination lawsuit.
  • Do add a logo to your resume to personalize it (if you like).
  • Also include your LinkedIn address in your resume. Then hiring teams can see your smiling face.
  • Finally, attach a business card with a photo to your resume. If the employer has a no-picture-on-resume policy, they can toss the card and keep the resume.

 

Why do you want to use a resume with picture? What’s your craziest picture-on-resume story? Give us a shout in the comments. We’d love to talk!

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Tom Gerencer
Tom Gerencer
Tom Gerencer is a career expert who has published over 200 in-depth articles on Zety. Since 2016, he has been sharing advice on all things recruitment from writing winning resumes and cover letters to getting a promotion.
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