What Experts are Saying About Photo on Resume

Resume & Cover letter Tips
5 min readMar 7, 2016


When it comes to resumes, there’s probably no bigger dispute than whether or not you should include a photo. Some say, if it’s a professional photo that goes well with the resume then why not. Also, most of the recruiters will google you or check you on Facebook or LinkedIn anyway so they will see how you look like eventually. In many countries, it is even advised to have your professional headshot attached to your resume. On the other hand, many hiring managers say it is unacceptable to include a photo because it only enhances the possibility of discrimination and unconscious bias against the applicant. In some countries, your resume could easily land in trash if it has your picture on it.

Let’s look at some of the most frequent arguments regarding photos on resumes. In case you still haven’t decided on whether or not you would be including your hot pic with your resume, read on and we’ll tell you what you need to know.

1. Argument: The recruiters will google you anyway so they’ll eventually see how you look like.

Nowadays, every job candidate is being googled or checked on social media. This fact offers two kinds of viewpoints: First, you might as well add your photo to your resume because they will google you anyway or you can decide not to include it because of the certainty they will do so. Your resume should be, after all, about your skills, education, experience and not about looks. Strictly speaking, your appearance is not relevant to the job position, unless you’re applying for a modelling or acting job.

2. Argument: It leads the recruiters’ attention away from the important stuff.

This could be true. Like we said in our previous blog post The ultimate guide to writing a killer resume, a recruiter will spend 6 seconds on average to scrutinize your resume. That’s a fairly little amount of time to convey the important message about your skills and competences. Examining your photo, no matter how good-looking you are, might take their attention away from the important details about your work experience, skills and knowledge so use that precious couple of seconds better than giving the recruiter the chance to concentrate on your photo. But then again, if your resume has enough capacity to steal the hiring manager’s attention, a photo should do no harm. But you never know.

3. Argument: Photos on resumes might evoke discrimination.

The majority of recruiting experts agree that a photo can lead to discrimination, bias and favoritism. It’s not always the recruiter’s fault, they might discriminate unconsciously. The fact is that humans are visual beings and we instinctively make judgments about people based on what they look like. We often make prejudices subconsciously, without a clear intention to do so. But in the job market, where people should instead try to stand out from the crowd by their accomplishments and abilities, why give way to the chance of being judged based on one’s race or looks?

Similarly to appearance, name, age, gender or address could also trigger a subconscious bias from the recruiter. In some countries, HR departments will immediately throw out resumes with photos in order to avoid any possible accusations of discrimination or bias.

4. Argument: How one looks like is not relevant to the job position.

Okay, you might be a hottie and simply want to gain some extra points by showing off your picture, but does that really have an effect on your value to the job you’re applying to? You have to consider what job positions is it relevant to and which not. There are plenty of positions where looks matter like customer service jobs, modelling or acting jobs, brand ambassador/representative jobs and the like. It is up to every applicant to evaluate where it is suitable and where not. When there’s no legitimate reason why looking hot might be an asset to the job, we advise you not to include it.

5. Argument: Photos on resumes might potentially work against you.

If you decide to include a photo, make sure it’s one that does you justice. It should be a professional, passport-style headshot. Avoid being laughed at because you attached some silly photo. Also, photos on resumes can confuse the ATS — applicant tracking system — that some companies use to filter resumes. This software automatically scans and pans your resume for keywords and a photo could potentially hinder this process. This might cause your resume not to be accepted and you don’t want that. Be aware of this when applying for a job in large corporations — they get hundreds of resumes daily and employ the ATS in order to speed up the process of hiring new people.

Also, you gotta keep in mind that in some countries it is normal to add photos to resumes, in some, it is not acceptable. In continental Europe, for instance, it is a common practice to put photos on CVs, but in other parts of the world such as Australia, India or the UK, it is highly inappropriate. So, even with the best of intentions, a photo can eventually work against you.

Our conclusion

All in all, experts agree it’s better NOT to include a photo unless it’s a position that in any way requires you to look good or unless you’re applying for a job in a country where it is specifically advised to do so. If you see fit to include it, then just do it. But the global job market is inclined to a non-discrimination policy so the habit of including photos on resumes is slowly becoming outdated.

Most importantly, your knowledge, skills and competence are there to speak for you, not your looks. The most reputable and professional recruiters know this and will consider you only on the basis of your skills and value you could bring to the company.

In a nutshell, including a photo is useless because:

1. The hiring managers will google you anyway.
2. The purpose of a resume is to get you an interview. Be noticed by your skills and qualities, not looks.

There are all sorts of designs in Kickresume Resume Builder, with or without a photograph. You can choose one that suits your position and country the best.

Originally published at blog.kickresume.com on March 7, 2016.



Resume & Cover letter Tips

Get hired fast with a resume that catches the eye. Join 1M+ successful job seekers today! www.kickresume.com