Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Don't Put Your Picture On Your Resume

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I don't like pictures on resumes. I don't like logos for certifications on resumes either. While there isn't anything specifically wrong with a picture on your resume of you smiling and flashing your teeth, it violates tradition (at least here in the United States). Most resumes don't have a picture, and when you add one it looks odd.

Logos are not good on a resume either. Don't add a logo for a fraternity, sorority, professional association, certificate of accomplishment, or anything else. In my opinion, resumes should only contain words and simple symbols like bullet points. You can always add a picture to your LinkedIn profile if you like and add a link to that profile in your cover letter.

If you are applying to jobs in an industry where pictures are a requirement - modelling, entertainment like acting, then feel free to ignore my advice and go picture and logo crazy. Otherwise, you're likely better off skipping them.

If you disagree with me, conduct a little experiment. Show two copies of your resume to a hiring manager or two, one with a picture and one without. Ask which one makes you appear more professional. I think they'll agree with me.


  1. But wouldn't it be a little old fashioned? And I believe recruiters always look for some innovations?

  2. Putting your picture on a cover resume is flat out a bad idea. It's not innovative, it's weird.

  3. I put a scan of my business card at the bottom of my resume. Is that a good idea? It's hard to say for sure, but it does seen to add to the overall impression of credibility which is primarily what a resume's intent is to produce and I have gotten quite a few positive responses thus far. Business cards do have the same sort of look and layout as the conventional resume in this country however as opposed to a logo, certificate, or portrait photo, so they styles do blend reasonably well.

    As I understand it, a fundamental reason that portraits must be excluded on USA resumes is for equal opportunity conserns. The irony is that this practice is entirely unsuccessful at reaching the intended result. I have a good friend who works in my field and moved from Denmark where a picture on the resume isn't contraindicated. He complains on a regular basis that people in this country aren't hired based on their abilities but based on whether you know the right person or whether you are liked for personal rather than professional reasons. The system is in place and we must work within it, but it is also broken to the extent that it demonstratively does not work.

  4. Get the employer to focus on your aptitude and abilities. If looking good flashing your teeth in a big ol' smile isn't part of the job you are applying for, leave your picture off.