Choosing a Photo for Your Resume: 8 Things to Keep in Mind

The first thing you should ask yourself when selecting a photo for your resume is whether you need to add it or not. In some countries such as the US, resumes are usually created without a picture to make it more objective and expertise focused.

Except for this being a golden standard, recruiters often say that since they use ATS software to rank candidates, pictures do more harm than good while scanning. Thus, the common advice is to steer clear from using a picture if your goal is not global employment or personal brand development.

Should you pursue one of these goals, adding a picture is a must. Global recruiters and HR managers are drawn to pictures. A good profile picture helps a candidate establish an intangible connection as well as build their own brand.

Thus, the question is what picture to choose. Alex Jones, a resume writing service team member, suggests paying attention to the following aspects.

Think of Your Industry

It really matters what industry you belong to. Creative professionals are actually encouraged to deviate from well-established resume format standards and add their pics. However, they should do it wisely or not at all.

For example, if you are a designer, an artist, or a fashion guru, a picture on a white background will seem boring to your potential employers. In this case, a picture should help you express your personality and creativity.

Other professionals can also add a pic, but it’s rather a question of necessity. For example, a CEO of a start-up interested in building a professional image can have it on a CV and LinkedIn profile. Yet, a CEO or a financial advisor working for the world’s largest corporations hardly needs a picture on their resumes.

Establish Credibility

HRs really fall for certain pics. Probably, this is the reason why it is generally accepted to avoid pictures in resumes. However, if you were explicitly asked to provide a resume with a pic, make sure the one you select shows a better version of you.

For example, as a doctor with private practice or an independent journalist, you may need to show who you are to people reading your resume to establish credibility. Nothing can do it better than a sincere smile on your pic.

Consider a Country You Apply for Job In

Every culture has a different perception about profile pictures. For example, if you are an American looking for a teaching position in Saudi Arabia or the UAE, it is more reasonable to select modest and simple pics.

In general, adding a picture to your CV or resume is critically important for Middle Eastern and Asian countries. If you plan to work abroad, you’ll have to adapt to the local job search rules.

Build a Brand

If you intend to reach consistency across all your portfolios, documents, and platforms, having a single pic for all of them may be a good idea. In this case, you can have a photoshoot for your website or portfolio and then take a picture of a similar style for your resume and LinkedIn.

It is essential to make your channels of communication with potential employers and clients united through visuals. Thus, such a photo can potentially grab a hiring manager’s attention and lead them to investigate you further.

Dress as You Find Fit But Look Smart

The clothes you choose for your profile pic shooting is also important. You should dress casually if you intend to dress like this when you get the job. If you are used to wearing a suit, you should choose it for a pic as well. Most importantly, you need to make sure your look does not scare recruiters away.

It is not recommended to wear T-shirts, tops, hats, shorts, mini-skirts and other clothes that may compromise your image in one’s eyes. Thus, wear smart so that others could see a professional and a nice person behind the pic.

Avoid Excessive Makeup

Too much lipstick or eyeshadow on your pic will hardly do any good. On the contrary, it’s been proven that people are usually scared when they see heavily face-painted people. On the psychological level, it implies that people are unconfident and have problems with self-esteem.

Most employers look for professionals who can stand up for their ideas, prove themselves right, and have made peace with inner selves. From this standpoint, a picture with too much makeup can do you lots of harm.

Do Not Add Inappropriate Pics

Obviously, the category of inappropriate is pretty wide for everyone. We will now list a few things that are evident to many people, but still, many candidates make mistakes. For example, adding a pic from a family get-together or where you are not standing alone is gross. No one will consider your resume seriously after seeing one of these images.

If you do not have a proper pic, consider ordering a photographer’s services. If you have a good picture, but it is taken somewhere outside a studio, try to crop it to cut the background. Be critical. If you still do not like it, do not proceed with it.

Choose High-Quality Pic

If you like the picture but see that the quality is poor, you’d better avoid inserting it at all. Your image depends on every detail in the resume. A pic of bad quality will be a major step back towards securing a job interview.

Before you choose a pic, make sure it won’t work against you. At the same time, a pic of nice quality should not make your resume too heavy (files above 5 MB may be rejected by certain systems). Otherwise, you’ll have a problem editing your resume whenever you decide to submit it.

Final Words

A decision to add a picture should largely be based on country preferences. If you can avoid it, it’s always better to do that. Yet, if it is required and common on a national level, make sure your pic meets all standards and does not make it harder for you to land a job.

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