What would an employer think about a picture of me on my resume?

So with todays technology, digital cameras and photoquality color printers et. al., it would be very easy for me to include a picture of me on my resume. But, would that be proper? And, how professional would that be? I can see two possibilities, one where the employer would think, “Hey I remember him, good thing he put a picture on his resume,” or, “Wow, this guy is stuck on himself, putting this picture on his resume like that.”

So how bout it people? Anyone out there in Human Resources/Management, what do you think about this practice?


I see people who do it. I presume they are trying to tell me their race in an inoffensive way. They communicate their race effectively, but not inoffensively.

I wouldn’t do it. I don’t think it’d necessarily bother me to get a resume with a photo attached other than to think, how weird. I’d be careful though. Sometimes those photos come out looking more like mug shots or shudder driver’s license pictures. shudder

Wow, that’s a strange question for someone from Germany. In Germany and the Netherlands it is standard practice to send in a picture with your resume (however, the picture should be larger than a standard drivers license and ID picture, and should be taken by a professional photographer). A resume without a picture would certainly end up on the “don’t hire” pile. I didn’t know that sending in a picture is considered unusual in the U.S. I wonder what is standard in the U.K.

It is common in other countries to include a picture but it would be very unusual and slightly odd in the U.S.

Unless you’re applying for a job as an actor, I would leave the picture off. It’s considered strange here, and reputable companies will in fact NOT want your picture so that there can be no appearance of discrimination in the selection of interview candidates.

As someone who has interviewed many people over the years I absolutely would NOT include my picture. For one, if you’re not extremely attractive it worls against you. If you are extremely attractive you’re a pompous jerk who thinks he/she can get by on his/her looks. But more important, the resume is supposed imply what you can do by highlighting your experience and abilities. That’s it. Anything else gets in the way.

A picture on a resume serves no useful purpose I could possibly imagine, unless, as missbunny suggests, it’s an acting or modelling job.

As it is, most resumes are far too crowded. Why waste space on a picture?

I suppose it depends on the type of job you’re looking for. If you’re modeling or applying for an executive sales position, then sure. For I/T and professional jobs, I’ve gone through thousands of resumes, and I have only seen one or two people include a picture. It’s not appropriate and not necessary.

It would seem really wierd. As Rickjay said, resume space is limited.

If you have a one page resume and it includes a photo, I’d assume you’ve either got nothing to say about yourself or you’re leaving out good stuff in favor of the photo (neither is a good thing). I don’t have a problem with 2 page resumes if the applicant’s experience warrants it. However, I would have a problem if the extra page was just to add a photo!

[hijack] Why do employers in Germany like having a picture? See the posts above for why we don’t use them in the US. [/hijack]

Yes, I have known employers who have their secretaries copy the resume & cut off the names, so there’s no chance and they only look at the qualifications.

These are often very good employers.

I really have no idea. I think it’s just become standard practice because it’s always been done that way. I’ll see if I can find any kind of information on why it’s done (I’ll ask someone from HR here where I work) and get back to you.

As to the space used, employers here also prefer one page (at most two page) resumes, so the space issue makes sense. However, German companies don’t much care about your school and university experience (you usually just list where you graduated, when, and with what degree; no grades are mentioned), so that saves space on your CV. Work experience is also listed very perfunctorily (where and when you worked). All relevant information should be fleshed out in your cover letter. German and Dutch companies pay much more attention to your cover letter than to your CV. You really have to sell yourself in your cover letter no matter where you went to school, or what your experience is.

Exactly. You put the HR folks in the position they could be accused of filtering resumes based on things such as race.

Well, I just called someone from HR here, and here is what she had to say about why German companies expect a picture and Americans don’t (NOTE: I work for a Europan subsidiary of an American company and our local HR manager is German):

“I have no f****ing clue!” :smiley:

OK, that’s not really what she said, but it was the gist of it. She did say that American companies put a lot more emphasis on the CV, while the European companies emphasize the cover letter.

I’ve read many “How To Write a Resume” books that specifically say never to include a pic. I’ve been told that many companies toss resumes with pictures because of the discrimination angle.

Aaah, so it’s just another result of the litiginous American society? :wink:

In other words, if I send a picture and HR doesn’t think I’m a handsome son of a gun (or have the right pigmentation), I can sue their asses?

Litigity may have been a reason for it coming to be, but I think that more so it is a matter of no-nonsenseness these days. A picture on a resume just serves no practical purpose.

I realize you’re just kidding around but I will address this anyway.

If a company doesn’t want to hire you because you aren’t handsome enough, they are legally free to do it. They can even tell you that’s the reason and there’s not a darn thing you can do. (Most sensible companies won’t do this, just to avoid starting up trouble.)

If they don’t want to hire you and you happen to be a minority, they can legally do that also - as long as the reason for hiring wasn’t that you were a minority. In reality, they can also not hire you because they don’t like persons of your pigmentation - but they better not be stupid enough to give you any cause to believe that’s the real reason.

Even though that is a perfectly cromulent word, I will be trying to use it as much as possible in the future.

In other words, they can be racists as long as I don’t catch on? :wink: That’s interesting. In Germany (and also the Netherlands) a certain percentage of all government jobs have to be given to people who are perceived to have more difficulty finding a job. In other words they have to be part of a racial minority (prevents accusations of racism), female (prevents accusations of sexism), handicapped (prevents accusations of some other -ism) or preferably all of the above. It kind of reminds me of the famous James Watt line about “a black, a jew, two women and a cripple”. This is affirmative action taken to it’s absolute extreme, and a lot of people in Germany are not happy with this, because there are many qualified people not getting jobs because they aren’t handicapped, female, or darkly pigmented enough.

However, for privately owned and publicly traded companies, they are pretty much free to hire anyone they think is best for the job. There are no quotas, and even though there are all kinds of laws against all types of discrimination, they are almost impossible to enforce.