Should I Add a Picture to My Resume?

A resume picture might seem like a great way to enhance your resume, but what do you need to know before you add one?



Table of Contents

  1. What is a resume picture?
  2. Good reasons to avoid a resume picture
  3. Where is a good place for a professional photo?
  4. Get the same results without a resume picture
  5. FAQ: Resume Pictures

What is a resume picture?

A resume picture is just what it sounds like — a resume that has a picture of you attached to it or featured on it. The purpose of including a resume picture is to show what you look like to recruiters and hiring managers.

A subject of debate

The concept of attaching or including a headshot with a resume has been around for a while. Oftentimes though, including a resume picture has also been the subject of debate.

While some believe a resume picture can help hiring managers connect with job seekers beyond the sheet of paper that makes up their resume. Others note that putting your picture on your resume has the potential to create bias.

Good reasons to avoid a resume picture

The general consensus these days is that it is not a good idea to include a picture in your professional resume for a number of reasons.

Unique Circumstances

Except for very unique circumstances (e.g., you are a model and your resume is intended for modeling agencies or jobs), you should not include your headshot with the resume. Instead, provide a separate portfolio when requested.

What about the average job seeker?

For the average job seeker, a headshot will not be necessary at all.

The main reasons behind this advice are simple. First, a resume is not the best place for your picture. There are many other more effective places to showcase a professional photograph of yourself like on LinkedIn.

Your resume may be discarded per policy

Second, there are many companies, especially in bias-conscious countries like the U.S., the UK and Canada, where companies discard resumes and cover letters with attached images as a matter of policy.

This is partly to do with anti-discrimination regulations and concern about the possibility of bias lawsuits. Another good reason to avoid putting a picture in your resume is that this may impact the way a resume is read by an applicant tracking system (ATS), which can have difficulty scanning resumes with extra graphics and images.

Discrimination issues

Prohibited Employment Policies/Practices outlined by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EOCC) states that information obtained and requested through the pre-employment process should be limited to those essential for determining if a person is qualified for the job.

On the subject of photos, the EOCC states “employers should not ask for a photograph of an applicant. If needed for identification purposes, a photograph may be obtained after an offer of employment is made and accepted.”

Based on employers efforts to avoid prohibited behaviors of the EOCC and to promote ethical practices, employers are very careful not to violate laws regarding race, sex, national origin, age, and religion discrimination.

Other Ways to Make Your Resume Stand Out

If you want to make your resume stand out from the crowd, you don’t need a picture. Instead, focus on creating a resume with strong content. Tailor your resume to the job market. Make sure your resume is correctly formatted. Create specific versions of your resume for each job to which you apply.

There are a lot of things to consider when writing your resume. Use ResumeHelp’s resume examples, resume writing strategies and much more to make your resume contentful, eye-catching and ATS-friendly.

Where is a good place for a professional photo?

A great photo can make a good first impression, but the resume is the currency of the hiring process. If you do want to your photo out there, try some more appropriate places for your photo. Leaving the photo off your resume means there’s no chance it will hinder the job application process for you.

Use these places to showcase your photo:

  1. 1. Professional social media

    Professional social media like LinkedIn has revolutionized job search. If you’re tempted to include a resume photo but want to make sure you want to avoid a discriminatory situation, you can always include your social media profile link in your resume header. Just make sure you have a professionally done profile photo; a selfie could do more harm than good.

  2. 2. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

    Photos of you are probably easily accessible on your various social media profiles if you have them. You may use these profiles in more a professional or more a personal capacity. You can add photos of yourself should interested parties search for your profiles, or you many want to remove photos.

  3. 3. Business Cards

    If you have a professional business card, you can include a professional headshot on it. Once again, make sure that this is a professional photo, not a selfie. You need to make sure you give the right impression. For example, your photo should show you wearing appropriate business clothing.

Get the same results without a resume picture

There are plenty of other things you can do to help your resume stand out without including a photograph. The way you format your resume, its appearance and even the color scheme all impact a hiring manager’s first impression. For this reason, the layout and design of your resume are almost as important as its contents.

Here are some examples of ways you can make a strong first impression with your resume:

Create a logo for your resume


Creating a logo for your resume is a good way to make a strong first impression without a photo. Place this at the top of your resume and make sure it does not interfere with the wider layout.

Choose the right font and margin size

The right font and size are important to the look of your resume as are the margins. Stick to traditional, professional fonts like Arial and Calibri, and aim for a font size of 10.5 to 12. Your margins should generally be one inch all around, but you can lower this to 0.5 of an inch if you need more space.

Consider your resume format

Your resume format, or how your resume is organized, says a lot about you as a job seeker. A functional resume with a large skills section gives a different impression than a traditional chronological resume with a large work history section.

For more on picking the right resume format, visit our resume formats page. ResumeHelp has a range of professional resume templates you can make use of if you want inspiration. A resume with informative content and the right layout can make all the difference and help you land an interview or even a new job.

FAQ: Resume Pictures

Q: Should I include a resume picture on a creative resume?

Unless you’re submitting a resume for a job in which physical appearance is important (e.g., an acting or modeling job), you should not include a photo, even a professional photo. Instead, you should send a portfolio separately if it is requested either by the hiring manager or in the job posting.

Q: Is a photograph the best way to showcase my personal branding?

No. While a professional photo can be useful in certain professions, something like a simple but striking header design for your resume will be better in most cases because it also showcases your branding and makes you memorable for recruiters, without running the risk of introducing bias.


Move your resume to the top of the yes pile!

Build my resume

We personalize your experience.

We use cookies in our website to ensure we give you the best experience, get to know our users and deliver better marketing. For this purpose, we may share the information collected with third parties. By clicking “Allow cookies” you give us your consent to use all cookies. If you prefer to manage your cookies click on the “Manage cookies” link below.

Manage Cookies