Why Everyone Is Including a Headshot on Their Resume (And Why You Should Too)

Ready to impress hiring managers? Discover why a headshot on your resume can help you land a job interview – and how to take a great resume portrait.
headshot on resume

The old adage says that a picture is worth a thousand words. That may also be true when it comes to submitting your resume. Adding a headshot to your resume may help your chances of landing a job interview – if you do it right.

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Should You Include a Photo on Your Resume: Yes or No?

Traditionally, hiring experts have advised against including a photo on your resume. That advice is changing, however, especially in our increasingly visual society. In fact, research shows that LinkedIn profiles with photos get up to 21 times more views and over 90% of recruiters rely on LinkedIn when making hiring decisions.

Is it a good idea to add a headshot to your resume? Let’s look at the pros and cons.

3 Reasons Not to Include a Headshot on Your Resume

When might it not be a good idea to include a headshot on your resume? There are three key reasons not to:

  • It’s not necessary. Most everyone today has photos on their LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, and hiring managers are looking at those. Why waste the limited space on your resume to include something recruiters are going to see elsewhere anyway?
  • It can be used to discriminate against you. Unless you’re a professional model or actor, how you look shouldn’t be criteria for getting hired. Hiring managers can, consciously or not, view your photo and discriminate against you based on your appearance, age, race, or gender. You don’t want to include anything in your resume that can work against getting hired.
  • Some companies automatically reject resumes with photos. Elaborating on the potential bias, many companies have a hard-and-fast policy of not accepting any resumes with photos, in order to avoid any claims of discrimination – and possible lawsuits from rejected job applicants.

3 Reasons to Include a Headshot on Your Resume

Those issues aside, many job applicants are finding success by including headshots on their resumes. There are several good reasons to include a personal photo, including:

  • It’s memorable. Including a photo on your resume helps recruiters put a face to your name. When you add a headshot, they’re more likely to remember your resume.
  • It can show off your skills. If your picture is more than a headshot, you may be able to supplement your written resume by showing some of your skills. Include a photo that displays some of your work so recruiters can see what you’re capable of.
  • They’re going to see it anyway. Hiring managers are going to check your social media profiles and will see what you look like. Including a picture with your resume shouldn’t increase the odds of being discriminated against.

What to Wear for Your Resume Photo

If you choose to include a photo with your resume, you want to make every aspect of that photo work for your benefit. What you wear and how you look are important, especially when making a first impression with hiring managers.

First and foremost, make sure that you’re wearing appropriate clothing in the photo. You want to dress for the job you’re seeking so that potential employers know that you will fit in with the culture of the company. If the company is business casual, don’t take a picture in a suit and tie. If it’s a traditional office environment, wear something nicer than jeans and a t-shirt. For your resume portrait, wear the right “uniform” for the job.

In addition, make sure your clothes are current. Some people pay attention to fashion styles, and wearing a tie that’s too thin or a dress in last season’s colors could make you look out of date.

5 Resume Portrait Tips

Just as your personal appearance makes a big impact when you first meet someone, how you look in your resume photo is also important. Follow these five tips to make the headshot on your resume look as great as possible.

1. Avoid Distracting Backgrounds

You want the focus of your photo to be on you, not on what’s behind or around you. For that reason, shoot in front of a simple background. Simple, neutral colors are good and it’s best to avoid busy patterns. The big exception to this is if you’re shooting yourself at work or with your finished work. In this case, an equal focus on you and your work is acceptable.

2. Make It Look Professional

A badly shot, amateurish-looking photo will tell the recruiter that you’re not a professional and that you don’t care. The photo should be carefully framed, lit, and cropped. It also needs to be in focus and shot at an acceptable resolution.

3. You Don’t Need to Hire a Photographer

Your headshot doesn’t have to be shot by a professional photographer. Today’s phone cameras take really great pictures at high resolution, more than good enough for a resume portrait. Even better, if your camera has a portrait mode that blurs the background, use it – it puts all the focus on your face.

4. Keep It Simple

If you’re a woman, don’t get too fancy with your hair and makeup. Go with a classic and natural look. It’s a picture of yourself for business, not a professional headshot for a modeling job. Unless you’re applying for a modeling job, that is.

If you’re a man, make sure your hair and facial hair are neatly trimmed and clean. Get a haircut beforehand if you need one. Try to look your best – without looking as if you’re trying too hard.

5. Smile

Nobody wants to hire a sullen employee. Try to look happy and comfortable in the photo – like someone the recruiter would actually like to meet.

Use Mapertunity to Find Your Next Position

Whether or not you include a headshot on your resume, let Mapertunity help you find your next career opportunity. Mapertunity is the world’s first fully transparent, interactive job map. We help people find the right job in the right location – no matter what you look like.

When you’re looking for a new position, contact us at Mapertunity! We’re here to help.

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Lonnie Ayers

Lonnie Ayers

On a mission to help every job seeker find a job. Co-inventor of mapertunity, the most advanced graphical job search tool in existence. A 21st century tool for jobs and businesses.

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