Should I put a photo on my résumé?

“Should I put a photo on my résumé?” It’s a question that I’m sometimes asked and my answer is always an emphatic “No” unless one has been specifically asked for such as for positions overseas.

The reason for saying “No” is simply that you want employers to assess you on your skills and achievements, on your motivation for the position and your ability to fit into their team, and not on what you look like. If you put a photo on the résumé, it is likely that they will form an impression of you before they even start reading.

If you are young and attractive, that impression may be favourable – but it’s not what you want to be chosen for. If you want employers to value you for your capabilities and your work attitude rather than for your looks, don’t give them a photographic first impression.

If you have a social media profile, they will be able to see your photo there – but that is after they have gained a favourable impression of the qualities that you would bring to the role from reading your résumé.

That being said, sometimes when you are applying for a position in another country, employers will ask for a photo. In this case, of course, it is important to include it. If possible, I would suggest that it be placed at the end of the résumé rather than at the top or even as a separate document. Let the selectors read about the qualities you would bring to the position before they look at your photo. And the photo should be a portrait of you in a work situation, such as a teacher in a classroom, an engineer on a site or a nurse in a clinic.

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