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Experts Weigh In on Headshots On a Resume

Experts Weigh In on Headshots On a Resume

Have you ever thought of putting your headshot on a resume? It's probably already on your Linkedin profile. Older HR people seem to disdain the resume photo, but the new school of thought is that pictures are everywhere. If you are afraid of being discriminated against, you probably should not do it.

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What the Experts Say

Valerie Streif, a Senior Advisor with an organization with decades of experience hiring, managing and mentoring hundreds of prospective job candidates says this:

"The question of whether or not to put a headshot on a resume is a common discussion amongst our clients. Typically, in most industries, we would not recommend an applicant put a headshot on their resume. It can seem unprofessional, and in certain cases, human resources will even reject resumes with photos, as it could lead to accusations of discrimination. This is due to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and laws against discrimination in hiring based on appearance, sex, ethnicity, etc." 

When to Use Headshots

Headshot photographs should be reserved for display on a job candidate's LinkedIn profile; in fact, without it, the profile seems unprofessional and incomplete. In situations where being hired for a job is based on appearance, such as an acting or model job, a headshot on a resume may be required, but only in those cases where it is specifically requested that a candidate should put it on their resume.  

Recruiters' Comments

Kyra Mancine, a social media specialist for North America’s largest manufacturer and distributor of building materials, asked a few of her recruiters for their thoughts on the idea.

Q: Should job seekers use a headshot on their resume?

A: “No, a resume is not the place to use a headshot. The resume is a place to describe your background and qualifications. You want to maximize the limited space you have for that. LinkedIn is a better avenue to put a professional photo.” – Joe Bianchi, Corporate Recruiter.

A: “Your resume should only be a snapshot of relatable experience and skills. You don’t want anything on there that is going to distract from that” Damon Arnold, Corporate Recruiter.

A: “Photos can give clues to other things – like marital status, etc. You don’t want to skew our perceptions and cloud our judgment when we are trying to objectively screen a candidate for a position.” Claire Tuck, Corporate Recruiter

A: “Stick to LinkedIn for your photo. The only exception to this might be for a customer-facing position like sales, but even then, I would opt to not put your headshot on there.” Brendan Sheehan, Corporate Recruiter.

If You Do...

Generally, the traditional response to this question seems to be "no." If you do decide to add a photo to your resume, however, you should position it carefully at the top of the page. The photo should be a professional headshot, similar to or the same one you used for your LinkedIn profile. 
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