The world of job applications is shifting increasingly online. This means that trends in social media and personal branding are shaping the way we apply for jobs. A link to your personal website, your LinkedIn, or your social media feeds may be a prerequisite to apply. There are more opportunities than ever for HR to see your image before you step into the interview door. In a world of personal branding, you want to have control of that image. Which is why you might consider putting a photo on your resume.
Reasons to consider adding a photo to your resume
Whether you choose to include a photo on your resume can be highly dependent on the context you’re applying in. If you’re in Public Affairs Manager, Marketing Director, Director of Communications, for example, including photos of yourself in a job application is standard. If you’re applying for a job in accounting, including a photo may be less immediately intuitive. Also, it depends on what country you’re applying to jobs in. In countries like the U.S., the U.K., and Australia, it’s less common to include photos on your resume. But in most European countries (France, Germany, and Spain), and countries in Asia (China, Japan, and Singapore), including a photo on your resume is more common. Often, it’s even expected. Yet here are a few reasons to consider putting a photo on your resume, no matter what your industry or location is:
Recruiter is going to Google you anyways
When a business is looking for their next employee, they’re going to gather all the information they can about you. They want to assess whether you’ll be a good fit for the role they’re hiring for. While this means they’re going to scour over your resume and cover letter, they may do some background research on their own. They might go on LinkedIn, to check your recommendations and see whether your resume matches up. Or they might Google you and see what comes up when they search your name. If you’re applying to jobs in the digital age, chances are someone can find your photo anyways if they look hard enough.
Photos and visuals help build your personal brand
Carving out your own brand or niche gives you an edge in a competitive job market. A strong personal brand helps you stick out among the pile of applications in the hands of recruiters and hiring managers. To that end, your photo can reflect your personal brand. Also, if you choose the same photo across your channels of engagement you can create a more memorable impression on recruiters. Your channels of engagement include your LinkedIn Profile and your personal website.
We live in the age of multimedia
No longer are the days when you submit paper copies of your resume and cover letters. Sure, you might have a few paper copies on hand, but the job application process today has become almost entirely digitized. Also, recruiters are using digital tools to find and recruit the next crop of talent for their companies. This means that you want a strong personal image across your digital presence. One way you can achieve this is by having compelling graphics and visuals — including a photo of yourself — across the digital tools you use to promote yourself.
Photos communicate in ways words can’t
The human face is highly communicative. Including a picture can help foster an immediate emotional connection with your resume reader. Not convinced? A recent study by LinkedIn showed that having a picture on your profile increases the likelihood it will be viewed by others by 14 times. Photos communicate valuable information. For example, if your face is neutral, you may give off an impression as more serious. If you’re smiling, you’re more likely to give off an impression as warm and friendly. That’s why it can be important to work with a professional photographer to take your headshot. That way, you can be sure your image is giving off the impression that you want it to. The human face has an emotional impact which shouldn’t be underestimated.
Of course, there are drawbacks to putting a photo on your resume that it’s important to be aware of. Including a photo on your resume can put you at risk of discrimination, whether it’s gender-based, race-based, or age-based. At the same time, eventually, you will interact face-to-face with your future employer. If they’re discriminating based on external characteristics, they’re probably not someone you want to work for anyways.
Also, remember that a great photo to show employers is nothing compared to the actual content of your resume. The content of your resume should be your primary focus when crafting an interview-winning resume.
Whether you choose to include a photo on your resume is often dependent on the context of the job you’re applying for. It’s important to have flexibility in your resume design. Using Resumeway templates, you can easily add or remove the photo from your resume based on the job you’re applying for.