Resume photos: Is it a mandatory requirement in 2021?

May 9, 2021

🕐 6 min read

No matter what your expertise level is, recruiters will scrutinize your resume once you have submitted your job application. Yes, they will inspect closely and thoroughly every part of your resume including the resume photos if you have included one.

There’s a huge confusion regarding resume photos. Do we need to include a photo on your resume? When to insert and when to avoid? How to capture a resume picture properly if included? What are the dos and don’ts of resume photos. So you are going to have a solution to all these problems now. Continue reading this article.

Should you insert a photo on resumes?

The answer to this question could be no, may be, or even yes. But, it varies according to your situation. However, as career experts, we always recommend that you should not add a photo to your resume unless the recruiter asks for it. Let’s see why.

It can be a discrimination factor

If you include your photo in the resume, your prospective employer will be able to know your appearance, your skin color, age, race, gender, personal style, and attractiveness. Most of the time it can negatively affect you. So it is important to avoid inserting a photo into your resume. The employer is able to make unbiased right decisions for resumes without a photo.

In some countries, if found a resume with photos by HR Departments, those will be removed from the job competition even before reading them. The reason for this is to prevent individuals from being discriminated against.

Resume picture is not an ATS friendly component

Many large companies use application tracking systems to streamline their hiring process. Read our ATS article to know how applicant tracking systems work

Usually ATS bots can only read texts. Images are considered as components that are not ATS friendly. Therefore, by adding photos to the resume, the applicant tracking system may get confused and your resume might be rejected before it falls into the hands of a recruiter.

Your country may not accept resume photos

According to the customs and usual practices associated with particular countries, some employers may not expect a resume photo to be on your resume. And also in some countries a resume picture is considered as a risky addition to your resume.

This is due to the fact that many countries have various laws and regulations regarding employment discrimination. For example, Anti-Discrimination Employment Law in the United States.

So ignoring these kinds of rules is sometimes a punishable offense. So many employers are accustomed to telling applicants not to add photos to their resumes.

The following are examples for countries that accept and do not accept photos on resumes.

Include resume photos
Don’t include resume photos
Austria
United States
Belgium
Canada
China
Australia
France
United Kingdom
Japan
Ireland
Portugal
The Netherlands
Spain
Sweden
Philippines
India

Photographs are unnecessary on resumes

One of the most difficult challenges many people face when creating a resume is limiting the resume into a single page without unnecessarily extending it. So if you insert a photo into your resume, it will consume a significant amount of space on your document.

Perhaps this space is enough to list your skills, qualifications, and experience. If you can remove it out, and show your abilities to recruiters instead, your appearance is really something your resume does not need.

When to use photos on resumes?

If you work in acting or modeling

Sometimes as an applicant you should include a professional headshot in your resume. But they are often limited to actors, and models. Because their appearance will undoubtedly affect their success in such a job. So in such cases it is often mandatory for you to include a photo on your resume.

If your job is to represent the company

If you are applying for a position as a marketing/sales officer or PR representative in an organization, you will often have to deal with many kinds of people in the community. When hiring people for such jobs, recruiters check if the applicants have a professional, attractive, and trustworthy appearance. So don’t forget to include a professional looking photo on your resume in such situations too.

If requested by the job advertisement

Some employers rarely advertise in job advertisements that you should include a recent photograph of yourself in your resume. In such a case, no matter to which job you are applying for or which country you are applying for, it is imperative to include a professional portrait photograph in your resume.

Professional resume photo tips

Make sure your dress fits

Dress yourself to suit your industry and prospective job. Your attire should maintain your professionalism. Professional photographers and career experts always recommend that plain colored clothings be best suited for resume photos. It is also a good idea to avoid using jewelry as much as possible.

Smile pleasantly

If you are sad, scared or grumpy in your resume photo, the recruiter will never impress on yourself. So smile a little to enhance your personality and make your look more beautiful. This does not mean laughing out loud like you laugh at a joke. You need to have just a pleasant smile. It gives the recruiter an idea that you are a positive person.

Pay attention to the background behind you

You are the most important object in a resume photo. So having a neutral color background to the setting will highlight you. You can choose any color background for it. However, the lighter the color, the lower the risk of your job search and the higher the professionalism. Not only that, but also you must take the photo with good lighting.

Headshot is perfect

A headshot photo is a type of photo that belongs to the portrait category. Also known as close-up photos. Here the photograph captures as the face is focused from the shoulders upwards. The person posing for the photo should keep his eye contact with the camera lens. By doing so you can get a successful and a professional headshot while it is a great way to show your confidence and the personality.

Avoid unnecessary accessories

Avoid wearing accessories such as sunglasses, caps and hats which covers your face. Because you are inserting this photo into your professional resume and not into a social media network. This is a great opportunity for you to win the recruiter’s first impression. So don’t go looking unnecessarily stylish in your resume photo.

Use a good quality camera

The picture on your resume should be of very good quality and should not blurry. For that you should use a high quality camera or a studio to get a headshot. If you want, you can even capture a photo with your own mobile phone. But don’t forget to capture it with the primary camera and not with the selfie camera.

Resume Photos Examples

good resume photos examples
bad resume photos examples

Where to place your photo on the resume?

If you decided to add a photo to your resume, the best place to locate it is the header on your resume or at the top of your resume. The best and most popular of these is the top right corner. You can then save a lot of space to mention your contact details to the left side of the photo.

There are a few other options too

If you feel that adding a photo to your resume is risky, but you still want to show your photo to the recruiter, remember that there are a few other options you can try with it.

Provide a link to your LinkedIn profile

We all know that LinkedIn is a professional network. A well-maintained LinkedIn account for any job seeker is a kind of job opportunities source. So if you also have a properly maintained LinkedIn profile, just insert the URL into your resume and upload a professional headshot as your LinkedIn profile picture. Because the recruiters who check your resume will definitely go and check your profile if there is a LinkedIn URL in your resume. This method is more practical than adding a picture to your resume.

Attach a business card to your resume

When you submit a resume, attach your business card to your document and send. This method might be more effective if you and the potential employer have met personally at a networking event. Because then the recruiter will remember you at once by seeing the photo and details on your business card. As a result, you are more likely to get interview opportunities.