When To Include a Photo on a Resume (Plus How To and Tips)
Updated 21 July 2022
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Resume photos can help employers connect your face with your work experience. When professional and appropriate, including an image on your resume may help you separate yourself from other candidates. Learning when to add a headshot to your resume can also help you choose the right photo for your target position, which may help you get an interview. In this article, we explore what a photo on a resume is, when to include one, how to include a picture that is not on your resume and how to take a professional photo.
Related: Resume Format Guide (With Examples)
What is a photo on a resume?
When employers request a photo on a resume, they are often looking for a professional headshot that highlights your work experience. Unless an employer asks specifically, candidates rarely need to include a headshot with their application materials. Omitting a resume headshot may allow extra space for you to provide details about your qualifications, skills and experience. Depending on the company to which you are applying, this information may be valuable.
However, including a picture on your resume may help you make a positive first impression on recruiters. If you are applying for a position in an industry like modelling or entertainment, an image may help a recruiter make important casting choices. Including a picture may also make your resume memorable to the hiring manager, which may help you get the job for which you are applying.
Related: 6 Universal Rules for Resume Writing
When to include a picture on a resume
If you are applying for a position in which your appearance is important, then including an image on your resume might be beneficial. These are some instances in which you may want to include a headshot on your resume:
Your potential employer asked for it. If your potential employer requests that you include a professional headshot with your application materials, it is important to add it. This can show your attention to detail and improve your chances of receiving a job offer.
It is standard for the industry. If an employer is seeking candidates with a specific physical appearance, it can be important to include a picture of yourself to show that you fit the criteria. For example, if a casting director is searching for a tall, dark-haired person for a role, including an image of yourself showing your height and hair colour may be beneficial.
The photo improves your resume. You can include a picture on your resume if it enhances the appearance of your resume. You can adjust your design by adding and removing your photo to determine whether including extra space or a picture is more aesthetically pleasing to you.
You are using a digital application system. Some digital or online application systems require candidates to include a picture to sort their profiles efficiently. If you are applying for a position online and your target employer requests a photo, it is helpful to include one with your application materials.
Related: How To Write a Resume Headline
How to add a picture to your resume
You can follow these steps to help you choose the right picture for your resume:
1. Choose a professional photo
Rather than including a group picture, consider choosing a professional photo that features only you. If you are applying for an acting or modelling job, a full-body image may be appropriate. In contrast, some employers request that candidates submit headshots. To take a professional picture, you can hire a photographer or ask a family member or friend to help you. They may be able to rent photography equipment from a local studio or classroom.
2. Size the photo correctly
While a photo may be an essential part of your resume for certain positions and industries, it is important to allow adequate space for your professional information, such as your work history and key skills. To size your photo correctly, ensure that it is large enough that your face is clearly visible. Passport-size images are typically high quality and allow for sufficient space for your professional information.
3. Position the picture
In many industries, candidates may place their photos at the tops of their resumes. Consider including your photo at the top right or left corner of your resume, opposite your name and contact information. This placement can ensure you have adequate space on your resume for your work history, skills and educational background.
Related: How To Make a Resume (With Examples)
How to share your photo without including it on your resume
Here are some tips you can use to share your headshot with a potential employer without including it on your resume:
1. Link to your professional networking profile
Rather than including a photo on your resume, you could include a link to your professional networking profile. This can help your potential employer view your photo and in-depth information that you may have omitted from your resume, such as certifications you have earned or volunteer work you have completed. Consider reviewing your profile and making any necessary changes before attaching the link to ensure it aligns with your potential employer's requirements and workplace culture.
2. Attach a link to your online portfolio
If you are applying for a creative position, consider crafting an online portfolio. You can attach a portfolio link that includes your headshot, client testimonials, notable clients you have worked with and examples of successful projects you have completed. This can help make you more memorable to hiring managers and provide your target employer with a clearer image of who you are. For example, if you are a graphic designer, you may include logos, pamphlets, marketing campaigns and other effective designs you have created in your online portfolio.
3. Include your business card
If your business card includes a professional picture of you, you may consider including it with your resume. Consider stapling it to your resume or handing it to your potential employer during an interview. Providing a hiring manager with a business card can help them remember you, which may improve your chances of getting the job for which you applied. To make a lasting impression, ensure the information on your business card is clearly legible and printed on high-quality material.
Related: Professional Resume Samples To Help You Land a Job
Tips for taking a professional resume picture
If you choose to include a photo on your resume, in your portfolio or on your business card, you can use some of these helpful tips to help you take a professional picture:
Consider hiring a photographer: While employers may not require candidates to hire photographers, consider working with one to help you achieve a professional result. A photographer can help you pose professionally and they may also edit your photo to ensure it aligns with your target employers' requirements.
Dress in professional attire: Depending the position you are applying for, your potential employer may expect candidates to wear a specific type of clothing, such as formal attire. Consider contacting the hiring manager if you are unsure about the company's dress code.
Use a neutral background: Using a neutral background for your headshot can help hiring managers focus on you rather than your surroundings, which may create an impression of professionalism.
Find natural light: If it is possible, take your photo in an outdoor area that is well lit with natural light. Consider taking a few practice photos to determine if you need to use additional sources of light, such as a camera flash.
Focus on proper grooming: Appearing well-groomed in your headshot can give employers the impression that you are professional. Before taking your photo, consider grooming yourself as you might for a day at work to ensure your photo makes a positive impression.
Pose confidently: To create a photo that displays your confidence, consider taking your picture at eye level. You can also smile in your photo to show hiring managers that you are friendly.
Edit the picture after taking it: After taking your photo, consider reviewing it to determine whether its size and colour meet your expectations. You can use photo editing software or hire a professional photo editor to help you crop your image, adjust the brightness of the colours and emphasise your most appealing features.
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