Nowadays jobseekers have plenty of ways to make their resumes stand out from the rest, and with countless templates to be found on the internet or provided by online resume builder tools it takes only a matter of minutes to create a convincing CV. However, there is one thing that is still debated to this day: should photos be included in your resume?
Some people say it’s a strict no-no, while others will try to convince you that it greatly improves your chances of getting hired, and with so many arguments either way we’re no closer to the answer. There are valid arguments on either side of the fence, so let’s take a look at both preferences so you can decide whether or not to include your chirpy face in your next CV.
To See or Not to See, That Is the Question
Although using a photo in your CV is by no means prohibited, the general answer to this topic favors a negative. In fact, most experts say that the applicant’s skills, experience and education are more than enough for employers to decide if they want to call the person in for an interview. More to the point, most recruiters check the social media profiles of every applicant or perform a simple Google search anyway, so having a photo in the resume seems like unnecessary overkill – especially considering that photos also occupy valuable space in the resume.
And if that’s not convincing enough then there is another important aspect in this debate. In the U.S. excluding photos from CVs is basically a must since a picture of the applicant could lead to intentional or unintentional discrimination.
A Resume Without Photo
Resume With the Applicant's Photo
However, it’s best to examine the other side of the coin as well. The most obvious reason why photos may be beneficial is the fact that the human brain is drawn to images by its nature, so including such elements in a typically text-driven medium is actually a great asset to help employers remember you during the selection process.
And let’s not forget about those instances where including a photo in the resume is a necessity: most European countries require photo CVs to this day, while there are many jobs – such as acting or modelling – where the candidate’s appearance plays a crucial role in the overall selection process.
The Rules of Using Pictures in the Resume
If you feel it’s important to include a photo of yourself in your resume as the best way to get noticed by employers, then remember that there are a few rules that have to be taken into consideration to achieve the best effect.
A Professional Look
The most important rule about using photos in the resume is to apply a professional approach. Thankfully there is no need to ask the help of an expert, since professional-looking photos can be created in the comfort of your home just as well. Put on some comfortable, semi-formal clothing, stand in front of a neutral background – such as a plain wall – and adopt an expression that conveys approachability and either snap a selfie or ask a friend to take the picture of you.
However regardless of the place and time of the photo, it’s best to remember to use a headshot that was taken recently and is in a standard profile photo size (400×400 pixels).
Where Does the Picture Go?
The golden rule of placing photos into resumes is to always include them in the section that details personal information, which is always the top third or fourth of the CV. However, within that section the photo can be placed anywhere, whether that’s the center, right or left side of the page.
If a resume builder is being used then the orientation of the photo won’t be a problem at all, since the program automatically places the picture in the most fitting place. In this case, however, be sure to choose the right program. Even though online resume builders can create spectacular-looking resumes, only a few of them – like VisualCV, Resume.io, and Resumonk – provide photo CV templates.
The Number of Pictures to Be Included
Even if your chosen resume template is full of visual elements – like bars and graphs to represent the respective levels of your skills – it’s best to remember that, unless you are creating a portfolio, CVs should only have room for one photo.
The only exceptions to this rule are online resumes, which exist in a digital format and therefore allows the use of additional elements, including extra photos or links and QR codes.
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