3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Put a Photo on Your Resume

Today’s post was written by Julie O’Malley of Pongo Resume!

Some formerly clear-cut resume rules are getting fuzzier as the web continues to emerge as the top resource for employers to find candidates and for job seekers to find work. Since we regularly share photos online and plaster our faces on LinkedIn and Facebook, you may be wondering if it’s still taboo to put a picture of yourself on your resume. The answer is yes (for now at least): The no-photo rule still stands.

And here are three good reasons why.

1. Discrimination
Handsome young business executive poses for himself on cameraA picture’s worth a thousand words, and recruiters and employers would rather not hear most of them. It’s illegal to consider factors like age, race, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability status in hiring decisions. So hiring authorities prefer to not “officially” know whether you’re a member of one of these protected classes. If you put a photo on your resume, you reveal some of these details. If the employer later interviews you but doesn’t hire you, it opens the possibility of a discrimination claim. Some companies will even flat-out reject resumes with photos, just to avoid that potential accusation.

2. Technology
Big companies use applicant tracking systems (or ATSs) and databases to digest resumes into standard chunks of text that can be searched based on predetermined criteria. A photograph is a non-standard chunk, and that can cause technical difficulties if the ATS doesn’t recognize the photo file or format.

3. Professionalism
Putting a photo on your resume gives people the opportunity to judge you by your looks, your hairstyle, and your fashion sense, rather than your professional credentials. It doesn’t matter if you’re Hollywood gorgeous or just your average Joe–it’s better not to distract them from the relevant facts in your resume and cover letter.

In the end, the no-photos-on-resumes rule is just a guideline. Use your own judgment. If you’re an actor or a model, ignore the rule since your appearance is a legitimate consideration for employment. If you’re outside the U.S., follow local procedures; some countries expect a photo with your resume or CV. If you’re applying to be a pet groomer, a photo of you and your well-coiffed poodle might give you a huge advantage.

But when in doubt, avoid the visuals. Employers will probably sneak a peek at your online profiles eventually, but their first impression will come from your resume and cover letter. Be sure your words are well-written and targeted to paint a flattering picture of your skills, qualifications, and enthusiasm for the job.

What’s the answer to this question in 2015? For an updated look at this issue, click here!

Julie O'MalleyJulie O’Malley is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Content Writer for Pongo Resume, a premier, full-service web site for job seekers. Pongo provides all the resume templates, tools, and support needed to write professional resumes and cover letters, ace tough interviews, and secure a great job. For more information, visit www.pongoresume.com.

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