Resume photo for models and bartenders only, please

  • Post published:25/05/2022
  • Reading time:5 mins read

Do not show your faceIf you are not a model or a bartender, drop the photo on your resume. You will never get a job because of your photo – but you will risk being disqualified.

Why do you think hiring companies want to have a photograph on your resume or in the job application? Ask yourself.

The correct answer: To check if your physical features are acceptable to whatever the company sees as “acceptable”.

Here are examples of features that are looked at; by some people very attractive features but by others they are reasons for dropping you as a candidate (don’t shoot the messenger).  

  • Are you fat or thin, have long hair or no hair, young or old, clean-shaven or patchy facial hair, eyewear or not, visible tattoos, headwear like hijabs or turbans, natural-looking or heavy makeup, white or dark skin, gender, LGBT, jewelry including pieces in nose, lips and ears.

The point is that you never know who is looking at your photo and what their personal or corporate bias is. So why take the risk?

Don’t judge a book by its cover

You must have heard this before, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” But we do it all the time, especially online.

Tinder is perhaps the best example. Swiping left or right purely based on the image you see. No interest in the personality, work experience, achievements, or educational background.

Research from Cornell University suggests that the photo you choose as your profile picture can make a long-lasting impression.

Vivian Zayas, Associate Professor, Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University says:

Dating apps are a prime example of how a profile photo plays an important role in assessing if you want to get to know someone better.

How other people judge your photo is unique to them. Different people could see exactly the same resume photo but have very different judgments about the person in it.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Woman eye in enlarge glassThere’s a lot of research into how we form impressions of people based on facial features alone. Admit it, when you see a photograph of someone you will almost immediately make an assessment of that person.

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then it’s the person looking at your photo who decides what is beautiful and not. Our own memories consider certain things to be comforting or beautiful; for others, the same photograph may seem unattractive.

The standard of beauty is not definite. Beauty does not exist on its own but is a subjective vision that reflects our own perception.

Discrimination caused by your photo?

There are some countries and cultures, more than others, that have laws in place to ensure all applicants and candidates receive a fair hiring process.

Asking questions about a candidate’s age, race, religion, or gender could open a company up to a discrimination lawsuit.

Because a photo on your resume could result in discrimination on the basis of race, age, gender or other factors, some companies do not accept resumes with photos to avoid the risk of legal implications.

Your resume is your sales pitch to secure a job interview – don’t give the potential employer any reason to ignore your work experience by focusing on your appearance.

Images are not ATS-friendly

3Most large companies and many small and mid-sized companies employ applicant tracking systems (ATS) to manage and filter resumes.

Similar to headers, footers, text boxes, graphs, and wrong bullet design, resume pictures could confuse the ATS which typically only read text.

Worse case, this could keep your profile from coming up in a candidate search when recruiters are searching for relevant candidates.

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.