Dear Karen,

I am currently seeking a new job, and wanted to know what your thoughts are on including a headshot on my resume.

Hi-Res Holly


Dear Hi-Res Holly:

If you are a model, actor, dancer, or the like, it goes without saying that your resume – or portfolio – will be accompanied by a professional headshot. For the rest of us, the decision to include a picture is not as easy.

While somewhat unorthodox, using a headshot on your resume can be an interesting way to grab a recruiter/hiring manager’s attention. In today’s age of digital media, most of your social profiles (that you often provide on your resume, if not in your email message to the recruiter itself) are searchable and provide all the information a hiring manager would need – including your photo/appearance. After all, what is LinkedIn but a virtual version of your resume?

However, the decision doesn’t come without some factors to weigh; job seekers should keep the following in mind should they choose to include a headshot on their resume:

– Some employers may disregard a resume with a headshot immediately, fearing litigious applicants who may claim that they were discriminated upon based on appearance. If they adhere to a policy to disregard any applications that may make the ‘playing field’ uneven, they can protect themselves – and the company – better.

– See above; there IS a possibility that the hiring manager may make a judgment (even if unconscious) based on your appearance or age (or unfortunately, other factors such as gender, race, etc.) which could be a blessing or a curse depending on the manager.

– The employer may not appreciate your take on a modern resume, and disregard it if it doesn’t fit the status quo.

The upside?

They might love your take on a modern resume! After all, any employer that is up-to-date and in the know can appreciate that there are many different ways to stand out, and this is one! Just be sure that your experience and accomplishments are the real focus of your resume – your picture is but a detail, not the main event.

Check this off as a part of your personal branding exercise/routine; choose a professional photo where you are smiling (it doesn’t have to be a large, toothy grin, but rather one in which you appear approachable and likable).

Bonus points

When you receive a call from the hiring manager, you will know they were savvy enough not to overlook your resume for this minor detail, and you will be interacting with (and hopefully joining) a forward-thinking team.

Good luck and happy hunting!


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