Should You Include a Photo on Your Resume?

In a gentle way, you can shake the world.

Mahatma Ghandi

It’s one of the many questions that professionals and job seekers ask: should you include a photo on your resume or CV?

The answer, of course – like so many things in life – is simply: it depends.

It depends on so many different factors. Where in the world are you? What position are you applying for? Even… what photo would you choose?

With all this in mind, let’s weigh these factors and help you come to a conclusion about the right decision for you.

Based on Location

Interestingly, every continent of the world seems to have a different idea regarding what’s appropriate. As someone from the United States, we would never even think of including a photo on a resume. It’s seen as unprofessional and excessive. But with the advent of LinkedIn, which includes a photo, I can understand now that opinions may be changing.

In most of Europe, the consensus seems to be that you should include a photo. In some regions, such as Scandinavia, it’s strongly encouraged. In other parts, it’s typical and generally expected to include a photo. And in places like Spain, it’s often required. However, in the United Kingdom, it’s extremely uncommon to include a photo and job seekers are generally advised against it.

In South America, the Middle East, many parts of Asia, and most of Africa, applicants should generally include a photo. Some of these places do not have explicit anti-discrimination laws that would discourage photos. And in Oceania, the choice to include a photo is yours. It may not be a norm, but it would not be out of the ordinary for you to include one.

Based on Position

If you’re in a place where including a photo is a legitimate option – so, almost everywhere except the U.S. and the UK – another consideration you should make is the position you’re applying for.

Here’s one benefit of not including a photo: it allows your skills, knowledge, and achievements to speak for themselves.

At Brieffin – as professional resume designers and consultants – we generally advise our clients not to include a photo when applying for high-level positions. We want the resume’s content to be the focus, not the photo. However, we do provide our clients with two resume designs – one with a photo, and one without. This ensures that our clients are equipped for any situation in which they need their resume.

Choosing a Photo

If you do decide to include a photo, it’s imperative that your photo works for you, not against you. Keep these things in mind for effective photo usage:

  • Use a high-quality photo – selfie photos are not appropriate for your resume. You may consider hiring a professional photographer, or even set up your own do-it-yourself photo studio in your home and ask a friend to help you take a good shot.
  • Dress according to the role – a corporate banker and a creative director are likely going to dress differently when they come to work, and you can reflect this in your resume photo.
  • Your photo should be an asset, not a distraction – don’t do anything crazy with your hair, makeup, or outfit.
  • Be consistent – use the same photo for your LinkedIn profile to show a harmonious uniformity between the two mediums. Show the employer you have a personal brand.
  • Make sure the photo is an appropriate size – don’t make the photo seem like an afterthought on your resume, but also not the main feature. Use it in a way that enhances your resume’s design but doesn’t steal the focus.

If you’re looking to revamp your resume, you’re in the right place. We’ll give you two resumes – one with a photo, one without – so you’re well-prepared for any situation.

We’re here if you need us.

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