do not include a photo of yourself in your job application!

A reader writes:

I work in the human resources department for a state agency, and we recently posted a job listing for a clerk typist position. We received one resume this morning that caught my eye, but not for a good reason. The top of the resume prominently featured a photo of the applicant, which I thought was weird enough, and then my eyes inevitably went to the focus of the photograph: her tattooed cleavage.

This is one of those situations where it’s so hard not to give unsolicited advice to the applicant! First of all, why would she think it was a good idea to use a photo on her resume? And second, why that photo? I want to tell her that any job that regards her choice of photo as a positive will not be the type of place she really wants to work.

I’ve had another applicant encourage me to visit her facebook page “to see what she looks like.” (Which, I have to say, made me want to look at her facebook page out of curiousity, but didn’t help her at all on the actually getting a job front.) Is this trend of including a headshot with other application materials going to catch on? Or is it just another gimmick?

There have always been a small number of job applicants who do this, and it is a really, really bad idea. It makes them look naive and unprofessional, raises questions about why they think you’d want to see their photo, and just generally … no.

It is neither trend nor gimmick, just silly naïveté. Although I do wonder if LinkedIn, where profiles often have a photo, has made some people think that this is a normal part of applying for a job.

People: Do not send your photo when applying for a job, unless you’re a model or actor (or in a small number of non-U.S. countries where this is more common).

{ 181 comments… read them below }

  1. Liz T*

    I’ve heard that in Los Angeles, EVERY job wants a headshot, even if you’re just answering phones. Maybe this person is from LA?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      We need some LA readers to weigh in and confirm this! If true, it’s insane because it’s a great way to open yourself up to charges of racial or age discrimination. And general skeeviness.

      1. Elizabeth*

        Well, the stereotype is that most people in LA are only working non-acting jobs until they get a director’s attention. So maybe places like restaurants want a headshot to make sure you’re not good-looking enough to land that acting gig and quit… :-)

      2. jmkenrick*

        Lived in LA for a year, and even worked for a pre-production company.

        This is not true. Looks & style matter, and production company I worked for was frank about the fact that they cared about how trendy you were – but neither I nor anyone I know includes headshots when applying to jobs. (The exception being anything model or acting related, obviously.)

      3. Confused*

        I’m from LA and work in ‘show biz.’ Most places don’t require photo with resume. I have seen non-acting (reception, exec asst etc) postings asking for a photo but it is not the norm.

        1. Emily*

          All judgment aside (my own prejudice against the “type” of companies and industries that would require photos from clerical applicants as well as my automatic insecurities about my own appearance) I cannot fathom having to choose a photo in addition to all the other worries of job hunting!

      4. K*

        I live in LA and I’ve seen a few ads that requested photos. The employers that requested a photo were restaurants or office/clerical type jobs.

      5. Cosmati*

        I live in LA and this is true… though it depends on the area of LA an the type of job (and I don’t mean acting or modeling). You are most likely to run into this in the trendier neighborhoods like West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Silver Lake and Santa Monica. The funny thing is, the way they get around the legal discrimination issue is by posting job opening for “sales models” instead of “sales associates” that way they imply good looks are part of the job requirments.

      6. Camille S.*

        No, not in the least. I’m an internship coordinator in Los Angeles and found your blog while looking for something to send to the one candidate I’ve seen who tried to submit a photo.

        Los Angeles may have a large entertainment sector, but we are not crazy. I promise.

      7. Tiara*

        There are tons of LA jobs that have nothing to do with the entertainment industry that ask/require a headshot. As a matter of fact, I cam across this article because I saw a number of legal positions asking for one and thought: This HAS to be illegal! And it is! I am wary about applying for these positions but do anyway (without the photo) because overall they job description and pay sounds great! But really? A headshot for someone who will just answer phones? But it is definitely illegal in the same way that employers cannot ask you how you made it to the interview (bus? cab? car?) Be mindful of those questions. If they ask just talk about how you are reliable and blah blah. If they ask if you need validation because they offer it, just state that you do not (nothing else).

        Photo for employment? Illegal except in the cases where its necessary (hostess, model, actress, etc.)

    2. Drew*

      I am currently applying to professional positions in LA and I have not seen any application that asks for a headshot.

    3. The Right Side*

      When my husband was stationed in SoCal – I worked in LA county and never req’d a headshot.

    4. KayDay*

      So, I admit I didn’t totally believe this at first (I have never been to LA) but a quick craigslist search did turn up 6 admin/office jobs that DO require a head shot with the application. This is out of a few hundred though, so it’s clearly not most jobs, just a few. But still….

      1. sarab*

        With the amount of crime and out right fraud associated with Craigs List users, I don’t think a lot of us actually consider it a good source for job listings. That may be different in some fields, but I think a Craigs list job ad asking for a photo would scare the bejesus out of me!

        1. Tiara*

          But I’ve seen the same requests on, monster, careerbuilder and other job listing sites that are more reputable than CL.

  2. sr*

    … unless you are applying for a job outside of the U.S., in which case you should check what is expected in that country for your field.

  3. Jamie*

    Not to be cynical, but do people do this in an attempt to force an interview? To make employers nervous that if they don’t consider them the candidate can make a fuss about it being because they knew race, gender, ethnicity, whatever from the photo?

    Not that it should work – but a lot of employers are scared of the threat of legal action reasonable or crazy.

    1. fposte*

      I think that could be somebody’s motivation somewhere, but I think somebody with that degree of strategy wouldn’t then hand people an equally legitimate reason to dump her out of the pile for inappropriate presentation.

    2. Ann Newing*

      In South Africa, since the early 90’s, it has been normal for some members of the population to add a photo to their CV. I am a white female. Companies have to fill roles based on ethnicity to abide by affirmative actions laws. It is illegal to state your race or age on your CV. I got fed up with travelling miles and miles to an interview, only to enter the offices, and be candidly told, “sorry, this is an affirmative action position”. If they could see I was white, even if I couldn’t state the fact, then they wouldn’t bother calling me to spend hours travelling to not even make it into the interview room. Saved me a lot of aggro.

      1. Emily*

        I used to work with someone who has shooting stars . . . well, shooting out of there. Impressively, she dressed so strategically that I never saw much of the ink at all in the office, but photos displayed in her cubicle revealed that the stars shot upwards AND down on to her abdomen!

  4. T*

    I work with technology students at a university. Many of the students I work with come from Asian countries. Apparently this is a fairly common practice in some Asian countries, because I have seen it during resume reviews. I of course tell them to take that and all other personal information (birthday, gender, etc) off of their resumes. But showing cleavage? The photos I’ve seen were in good taste, professional looking head shots.

    1. Michael C.*

      Yes, I know in Korea a picture (usually a very professional one) is standard to include. I also noticed a lot of Korean resume templates are all very similar.

    2. JT*

      It makes sense to now explicitly indicate gender, but sometimes I wonder if it’s off-putting for the recipient of a letter/email to not know the gender of the person writing, which may be the case for many Americans receiving communication from people with Korean names.

      1. KayDay*

        Sometimes, I receive emails where the email signature says “Ms. Wu Li” or “Wu Li (Ms.)” While I do appreciate this for saving me embarrassment when replying, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend putting it in the resume.

      2. T*

        I don’t think it makes sense to include gender… what does it matter what gender you are as long as you have the qualifications that they company is looking for?

    3. Lori*

      Germany’s the same: there’s no imagination in the resume format, and every recent graduate goes to a photo studio to get passport photos (smiling) for their resume. They also include age, gender, and religion on their resume.

      1. Nuri*

        True, even when asking for a photo and that kind of info is technically illegal, you stand little chance to be called if you do not include a professional photo and your marital status in your resumé.

        1. MissJ*

          Really? I (Germany) never state my marital status and I have been invited to many interviews when I was still looking for a job… (and was also offered jobs ;) ). I do not think anyone cares for this info, I was never asked in an interview either. Also, I have never seen a resume stating a religion! Never!!

  5. Amber*

    FYI, in France you are required to include a photo with your CV. I assume most times when HR gets a CV with a photo, it’s from someone who comes from a European work environment.

    1. Chocolate Teapot*

      Germany too . Mind you, there are still some job applications in France where your cover letter has to be handwritten so it can be checked by a graphologist!

    2. Anonymous*

      Ditto for Spain. You can choose to not include it, but I can see where some HR people here might wonder if you were hideous for not doing so. If you are remotely good-looking it is considered in your best interest to include it- maybe that was her thinking? In the words of Regina George, “So you agree… You think you’re really pretty.”

  6. blu*

    Can I also add, please stop adding random personal information? I have seen all of the of the following on resumes:

    -The year their mortgage loan was taken out and the remaining balance
    -The fact that the candidate is married, for how long, and the number of children
    -The fact that the candidate had never had an overdue library book

    Those were all resumes from different people!

    1. Elizabeth*

      “The fact that the candidate had never had an overdue library book”

      Wow, I am so glad that’s not a requirement to get hired. I’ve probably paid enough in late fees over the years to buy a new encyclopedia.

      1. anth*

        I actually think of it as keeping the library operational. Without my late fees, they’d be in dire straits. Plus, it’s like $2 to keep a book out for an extra month. I love the library.

    2. ncd*

      I wonder if the marriage factoid is a holdover from an earlier time? I work in a manuscripts library, and I’ve seen a lot of resumes in our collections from the 1950s with marital information included.

      1. Anonymous*

        In Latin America, it’s common to include marital status and number of children in a CV.

      2. Long Time Admin*

        Back in the day when only executives and professionals even HAD resumes, it was common to have a professional headshot on the resume. When young girls like me were applying for clerk/typist positions, the applications asked all kinds of personal questions about marital status, number of children, hobbies, religion,etc. Then when we started to need resumes, everyone had all that information on it, too.

        It was just the norm then.

        1. jmkenrick*

          Out of curiosity, do you remember how the justified asking those types of questions? They just seem so….unrelated.

      3. Ellie H.*

        I recently applied to an academic program in Europe (Germany) and was asked to compose a CV for it. I really debated whether or not to put my marital status on it because I had read from multiple sources that this should be included on a European style CV. I ended up not including it especially considering that it was for an academic program not a job but I would have been even more on the fence had it been for a job.

  7. Joey*

    A clerk typist job title? Really? Are there even jobs anymore like that?

    And I’ve always wondered are headshots acceptable for insurance agent or realtor resumes. Because they seem to plaster their mug everywhere.

  8. Anonymous*

    Can we also all just agree that your email signature shouldn’t contain any of this? I’ve seen photos, quotations, company mottoes/missions, multiple fonts/colors, references to Bible verses, and in one instance, a link to a book that person was currently reading.

      1. KellyK*

        That seems totally appropriate. I can see it being obnoxious if it’s a whole-paragraph mission statement or if the signature as a whole is really long (motto, mission statement, 17 forms of contact info, privacy statement, etc. etc. etc.)

    1. Emily*

      I work with someone who recently added a thumbnail of an ink portrait (is it a self-portrait?) of himself to his email signature. He is in field sales, so while it’s not in my taste, I can accept that it might be fitting. The thing is, the portrait depicts him as a much, much younger man, which negates the “face value,” doesn’t it?

      Okay, last comment from me!

      1. Anonymous*

        As a librarian, I hope that your library actually gets to keep the overdue fines (we do at my library). Some libraries have to turn that money over to their municipal overlords, particularly libraries that function as a city department. Boo!

        But either way, good on y’all for using your libraries! :)

        1. Amy*

          I love my library! I live in a “hipster” kind of city and bc of this the library is very much….for me. The younger librarians go check out local bands, blog about them and have a local music section of cds and vinyl to check out, for free of course. Bands play the first Friday, for free too. They also have every episode of any show ever (twin peaks,sesame street, law and order, weeds) just giving a mix for an example. They have a great book collection with a whole childrens zone and so on. When my husband and I have children, a weekly trip to the library to check out great books or movies will be a must on our budget. Libraries are free! People, go!;) If you haven’t checked out what your library offers, now is the time to do so.

    1. KellyK*

      I think that’s awesome too, and also very much not me. (It could even be relevant in a cover letter, as it at least shows you’re organized and deadline focused.)

  9. Pam*

    I kind of like photos on business cards (a la realtors). Although it’s weird when they first hand it to you, it can be really helpful a few days- or weeks- later when you’re e-mailing that person, just give a level of familiarity.

    But are there any instances where it might be acceptable to put a photo on a resume? I’m thinking a career fair might be something similar to the business card scenario.

    I mean, considering the employer will likely visit LinkedIn anyway, why not? What exactly is so unprofessional about it? The only thing I can think of is either A) having an unprofessional picture like the OP mentioned or B) there is some level of arrogance that your “good looks” will help you get the interview.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s because it has absolutely no relevance to your qualifications for the job (and implies you might think otherwise), and because it comes across (in our culture with our norms about these things) as cheesy.

    2. Steve M*

      I love pictures on business cards – from any position. I almost never get a person’s business card other than by meeting them, and the (professional) headshot really helps me remember who the heck they were when I need to contact them again months later. I’m terrible with names, and lots of my memory is triggerred by visual cues more than anything else, and rarely by ones I could put into words if I even wanted to.

      I still wouldn’t/won’t put a picture on my resume, however.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        An anecdote I once heard about a female applicant. HR saw her picture and thought that there was no point interviewing her as “It didn’t look like she needed the money”.

      2. Jamie*

        I knew there had to be a good reason people put pics on business cards – but I personally hate them.

        They remind me of Jr. High where you get your school pictures and you trade the wallet pics with your friends…and inevitably you get a bunch from people you barely know and it’s so awkward and weird. “Hey, someone with whom I’m barely acquainted – here’s a picture of me!”

        I do throw them out too – put the info into my contacts if I need to save it, but I don’t like to open my desk drawer and see strangers looking up at me.

        The visual cue makes a lot of sense though, so I can see why it would be advantageous to do it…I never thought of that.

    3. Joey*

      I don’t want to see your race, gender or general age when I look at your resume because I don’t want other candidates or their lawyers thinking I interviewed someone based on those things.

  10. Lisa*

    My brother in law applied for some sales positions that asked for a photo, but it was very clearly stated in the job posting that they wanted a photo. Aside from entertainment jobs, that’s the only place I’ve ever heard of that.

    1. Ali Mc*

      I think that’s 100% normal if they want a photo – however, I’m wondering if that’s even legal?? AAM??? you want to tackle this??

      1. Elizabeth*

        It’s legal, sure. It’s even legal to discriminate based on attractiveness, as long as you’re not also discriminating based on a protected class (race, color, age over 40, sex, disability, etc.). Abercrombie & Fitch, for example, has long had a policy of hiring “hot” people to work as salespeople in their stores, which isn’t in itself illegal. They lost a class action lawsuit in 2005, though, because they were overwhelmingly hiring white people over minorities to maintain what they called their “classic American” look. (2003 news article: and an interesting legal analysis of the issue: )

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Like Joey and Elizabeth said, the act of requesting a photo isn’t illegal. However, it could be used as part of a pattern of evidence of discrimination.

  11. Z*

    Could this be more misplaced parental advice? I’m wondering if including a photo was perhaps common a generation ago. (I have no evidence that this was the case; I’m just wondering.)

  12. Ali Mc*

    I think this is ridiculous. Am I allowed to ask if these people are all stereotypically “good looking” – because why else would you include a photo unless you were shallow enough to think it may be beneficial….I would never. lol

    1. Joey*

      I had a manager once ask me if he could take pics of candidates as he interviewed them so he could remember who was who. While there might be some value to doing that in my opinion it wasn’t worth the awkwardness and associated risks.

      1. Ali Mc*

        I can see your managers reasons for wanting to put a face to a name but ya, that would be pretty uncomfortable for you having to take the photos ;)

      2. K*

        I’ve been asked to bring a photo to an interview so they could keep the candidates straight. It was for a very competitive position, so I could see how it would have been helpful.

    2. Anonymous*

      Some people just think it’s friendly, I think. My advisor in England was baffled by the notion that it was inappropriate–they wanted a photo for my grad school app, and he was shocked when I told him that here that’d be considered sketchy. He didn’t have a good reason for wanting one, he just thought it was nice.

      The fact is, they just didn’t END the practice the way we did, because they’re culture is less litigous. (For better or for worse.)

  13. Anonymous*

    I just applied for a job that could be considered in the performance sector (librarian, actually) and I included a picture as part of my cover letter that showed me reading to a group of children, wherein I was acting out a song and the children were enthusiastically engaged. You can talk big talk in a cover letter about how you present storytimes, but seeing it actually happening tells much more of the story. No cleavage shot, though. That’s never really relevant to a job.

    1. Joey*

      I managed at a library and Ive never seen a librarian include a pic and frankly I would think its weird. I’d much rather see a link where if I wanted to I could view a video of your storytime. I don’t think a picture would do a very good job of conveying engagement beyond that brief moment.

      1. Anonymous*

        I’m also a library manager and like Joey I’ve never seen a librarian include a picture with their vita. If you want to include “action shots” of yourself at work, it’s far more appropriate to include links to some sort of social media where you’ve posted pictures or videos. I’ve done that for work-related Web sites and finding aids I’ve created; colleagues tell me they’ve included links to their work-related podcasts or YouTube videos.

    2. anon*

      I see your point for including the photo, and I don’t think it’s weird given the context, just a little unusual. The advice about links to photos or video is probably preferable. I guess it depends on the hiring manager.

    3. Anne*

      I am a children’s librarian, and I see no reason to include a photo. Usually in an interview, you will be asked to read aloud a book of your choosing and that will give them a pretty good idea of how you engage kids at storytime, even without children being present. Also the rest of your interview will hopefully display the same engaging personality.

  14. XYZ*

    My husband has a background in computer science/math/engineering. While he was in grad school, I noticed that he and other grad students all had photos of themselves on their professional, academic websites. I thought it was a bit cheesy, but I’ve been told that the photo is essentially their “brand” and helps them recognize each other at academic conferences. Makes sense. I’m a designer, and I always include my personal logo/branding in my application materials.

    That said, these photos are never included on a resume or cover letter. And there certainly no tattooed cleavage photos involved!

    1. SLC*

      My husband is in school right now, and for one project his group had to include their resumes. One person’s had their photo on it, and when I saw it, I made fun of it. After they handed in their project, my husband said that the professor told the class she thought the photo was a “nice touch”. Of course, she also said the guy was “dreamy”…..

      1. SLC*

        Oh, he also had a line on there that said he helped out on his family farm, and that is where he learned how to work.

        1. SLC*

          Oh, I am so glad you are making it a rule! I can’t wait until you start enforcing it. While you are at it, will you please go after his other professor who writes his name as “John Doe, MBA” on EVERYTHING?!

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Oooh, I do not like that. It’s weird enough when right-out-of-college people do it, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone established in their career do it.

            1. Lynne*

              One of my profs in grad school had “John Doe, Ph.D.” on the bottom of every. single. one. of his PowerPoint slides…

              (And he’d been teaching for at least a few years, so he wasn’t right out of school. Not tenured or anything, though – a sessional lecturer – so maybe he didn’t feel established in his career, and wanted to make a point about having a doctorate.)

              (I’ve *never* seen any other prof do that, so I remember it because of its sheer weirdness. In my kinder moments, my theory was that perhaps it was more common and acceptable for American professors to do that. This was at a Canadian school, and the prof was a recent import from the U.S., so I thought it might just be a cultural difference, and not an indication of…social cluelessness? Insecurity? It came across as rather arrogant at the time, but looking back now, I’m not so sure.)

              1. SLC*

                I would almost be willing to excuse PhD, but NEVER NEVER NEVER an MBA. May as well list your BS and AS on there as well, see how many letters you can get going….

        2. Ellie B*

          YES. We had an applicant submit a resume that included not only a headshot, but also his marital status and “overall health” (excellent, in case we were wondering). And he was an adjunct prof at the local university who taught Business and HR courses. Is there any hope???

    2. Ellie H.*

      I think it makes sense to have on an academic/professional website. My dad is a professor who has written a book and he has his book jacket picture on his site. I work at a university and the department websites, as well as my former university department, ALL have pages for their faculty and grad students where they have the person’s title, a capsule bio and then a picture of the person (usually a headshot type or, more unusually, a picture of him or her doing something academic). This seems really normal to me.

  15. Jo*

    My version of Microsoft Word under Basic Resume templates – the fist template entitled Resume (Median theme) has a sample photo of a woman in a hiking outfit sitting on a beach. I blame Microsoft Corporation :-)

  16. Anonymous*

    I absolutely agree and understand the point of view of the OP; as a jobseeker, I always send photo-less resumes. However, there has been more than one case when the recruiting agency/company requested an updated CV *with* a photo. And I’m not talking about sales/modelling offers – these are actually technical jobs for people with MSc/PhDs.

    Maybe this is an European thing?

    1. YALM*

      It seems fairly common in at least some European countries. When I doing hiring in our office Eastern Europe, more than half of the CVs have a photo of the candidate.

      I see this far less often on resumes from India, and, thankfully, almost never on resumes from US candidates.

  17. SM*

    When I was hiring recently for some creative positions (designers, etc.) I saw photos on a few resumes with a photo, a la a sears portrait studio headshot. Completely unnecessary and off putting.

    HOWEVER I also know a lot of designers and illustrators who include their photo or an illustration of themselves on their website, and therefore their resume as an extension of that as part of their greater brand. I’d avoid that personally, but have seen it done once or twice in interesting ways that do make me want to see more of this creative person’s work.

    Just taking a look through you can see some examples.

  18. Students*

    I am a hardcore nerd, so I always like to see scientific studies on this kind of thing. Here’s a study on attaching photos to your resume, done in Europe and Israel (so, I’m not positive the results translate exactly, since photos are less common in US job applications, but I suspect the results are probably applicable).

    There are lots of newspaper summaries of the article available online, but the quick version is this:
    Attractive men get better results when they attach a picture. Plain men should skip the photo. All women should skip the photo, but attractive women get worse results than plain women if they include a photo.

    The researchers tried to figure out why attractive females were punished so much when attractive men were rewarded. Their hypothesis, from interviews with hiring departments, was that there is a large double-standard regarding motivations behind attaching photos. A man who attaches a photo was perceived to be “confident” whereas a woman who attaches a photo was perceived to be “market[ing] herself via appearance.” The researchers also cited jealousy, since the initial screening process is dominated by young women, who apparently screen out beautiful women as rivals and select attractive men more often.

      1. Anonymous*

        The thing is, it’s not weird over here. It’s standard. You’re weird for not doing it. It’s just a completely normal part of an application – just like including some aspects of your personal life/hobbies. It’s what’s done here and what’s expected.

      2. Anonymous*

        It’s completely normal in many countries, including Latin America. Most job ads will say to send CV and photo.

      3. Al*

        I have to agree with them. I’m an American applying in the European job market who just came back from Asia. Almost every job opening I’ve ever seen in China, Taiwan, and South Korea required you to submit a headshot. (Especially if you are teaching English as a second language.) I would say that about 80% of my apps in Germany require a headshot as well.

        Because of that, I wonder where the applicant was from. I just proofread a couple of friends’ CVs and told them all to remove the photos for the American market.

  19. Accidently Showed My Face*

    Would you discount a candidate because you saw a picture?

    I use a Gmail account and recently joined Google +to use the hangout feature for meetings. I soon realized, after sending out two resumes, that my picture was included in my e-mails! I have since removed my photo from Google+, but I think my image is forever stamped on those two applications.

    1. Chris*

      Hahaha! I did the same thing. My Google plus photo is (or was) my big goofy smiling 11 year old mutt. I recently had a second interview where the interviewer mentioned it! I had to parlay into a mild joke…like yeah, I’m THAT Facebook friend – the one who posts 500 cute pictures of their dog. I also added that I wish Google would have warned me it was going out with my Gmail.

    2. Anonymous*

      This bit of Information Age advice cannot be stressed enough: have a “professional” email account that you use exclusively for job-related communications. Something like “” or a variation of that.

      And do not, I repeat, DO NOT use that same account for social networks, forums or any other personal/hobby/entertainment sites that could even remotely show an “unprofessional” side of you which you wouldn’t want your employer to know about. Why? Pretty much all the social networks I’ve ever used or heard of have a rather nasty and insidious “find people you know” feature. Facebook, for instance, entices you to give them your email login info so they can sift through your contacts to see if people you know are also on Facebook. Neat-o. Convenient, right? WRONG! Think about it: would you give your contacts list to a complete stranger on the street so he can tell you if he knows people on your list, too? No, right? That’d be creepy! Not to mention that finding someone on a social network can be as easy as doing a search for their email address on that site, since most users don’t even know to make their profiles “private” or “non-searchable by email”.

      The only exception that comes to mind is free/open-source software developer mailing lists, which are usually open to the public online. In that case, using the same email address would be proof that you’re actively involved in the field.

  20. Kelly O*

    I am really, really glad we don’t put our photos on resumes. Because hello new level of anxiety.

    Then, not only would you have to worry about whether your resume was in the hiring managers preferred format, font, page length, and included either straight up job descriptions or infographics or pseudo motivational anecdotes, you would ALSO have to worry about whether that hiring manager wanted a just your smiling face, your whole body, an action shot, or a picture of you doing interpretive dance about how working for Company Y made you feel.

    The above was entirely sarcastic and the product of one becoming more jaded by the job search on a daily basis. It in no way is indicative of my personal confidence level, my feelings regarding Ask a Manager, the National Baseball League, or ESPN. (Is it spring training yet?)

    1. Jamie*

      “I am really, really glad we don’t put our photos on resumes. Because hello new level of anxiety.”

      You aren’t kidding – new levels of anxiety. I’d never send out another resume again.

      If this ever becomes the norm and required I’m going to be avante garde and send pictures of my dogs. You can’t be mad at someone for not following the rules when they send you so much cuteness.

      Seriously – if this ever catches on and becomes a thing I’m totally going self employed.

    2. Name*

      Simple head shot.. it’s professional and no anxiety is needed. It’s not a dramatic thing to do in fact most employers like to see who there working with. Everyone deals with judgement here and there and if they are gonna hire you they will if they wont they wont. The picture will just catch attention that’s simply all. They are gonna see your appearance in the interview either way. Also, if their gonna be that judgmental then a picture will be saving your time.

  21. Amy*

    It depends on the industry. My friends manages a fine dining restaurant. I saw a stack of apps in his home office one day checking my email. I screamed into the other room “WHAT? This woman has her photo on here? ?” It was taken by her on her phone (we all know that pose) then he came in to show me the “pretty” women. He told me he is not calling them to interview simply because they are striking, but their look lets him know they will fit in with the atmosphere of the restaurant…which is classy, classic and whatever else. I know he was only calling them because they were hot, cmon. Ugh. He said they look confident… I don’t agree with it but he said it’s standard in the service industry.

      1. MrsLlama*

        In New York, it most definitely is standard practice to ask for/include a photo with any kind of service resume.

  22. nyxalinth*

    Last year in my job search I saw a start-up here in Denver place an ad for a receptionist. They wanted a photo and I sent them a nice email saying “while I understand that a receptionist is the first thing visitors see, it’s best to not require a photo, as this leaves you open for discrimination charges.” I never heard back, but hopefully it made them think.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I’m just guessing here, but my suspicion is that when candidates have other reasons to suspect discrimination, this can be used as one piece of evidence (but not the whole picture). But it could strengthen a case.

        1. JT*

          My question is really about if this is one of those things where the risk is overstated by people repeating it so often. If a company has otherwise good hiring practices and a diverse workforce, is there anything real about this “risk.”

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I think it’s a risk if it can be presented as part of a pattern. And there’s also the risk of turning off good candidates who think “hell no, what’s wrong with them?”

            1. JT*

              I totally think it might be off-putting to good candidates. I suspect the risk in terms of discrimination is overstated.

          2. Joey*

            Sure there are. First your company looks shallow. And when you ask for any non job related info there’s always a risk that someone could point to that as the reason they weren’t hired. Happens all the time when people ask about family, illness, etc. in this case they could point to the picture requirement as evidence that you wanted to consider their race/age/weight/lack of disability, etc before you interviewed them. In the face of that type of allegation you’d be faced with justifying to the EEOC or a court how having a picture of an applicant is job related. Good luck with that.

            1. JT*

              So can you give me an example?

              And particularly, if an organization has hired women and men, good looking and less so, of a variety of races, how is asking for a picture going to be used in an EEOC or court action?

              I’m not saying asking for a picture is a good idea. I asking for evidence of it being an inherent problem the way people assume it is.

              1. Joey*

                If you want some examples of appearance based discrimination claims look up Wilson v. Southwest airlines (not a female), Cook v. State of rhode island (too fat), talanda v KFC (retaliation for hiring someone with ugly teeth), yanowitz v l’oreal ( not hot enough), Rogers v. American airlines ( had cornrows), or any of the hooters cases. While a few of these cases were settled consider the legal expenses involved in defending alleged appearance discrimination.

  23. Pamela G*

    When applying for teaching jobs here in Australia, I’ve often been asked to include a photo. I’m not sure of the reasoning behind it, and for my first job application I didn’t have any professional-looking photos (I was straight out of university and 6 months married) so I included a wedding photo of me looking ridiculously happy. I got the job!

    A few years later, still working at the same school, my boss showed me a few of the applications for one of the positions in our department. One guy’s photo was seriously creepy. It was a photo of his Working With Children Check card (they are now mandatory for all professions working with kids in Australia, like a police clearance but specific for children), and he looked scary, almost like a stereotypical child molester. If you’ve seen the movie Jurassic Park, he looked a bit like the nerdy scientist who steals the dinosaur DNA, crashes the computers and tries to escape the island to make his millions (and of course gets eaten by the frilly-necked lizard dinosaurs). Empty eyes behind oversized glasses and vacant, slightly sinister expression. It was a little off-putting!

    1. ahmed*

      i’m preparing my CV to send it to Australian companies online , i’m a fresh graduate engineer, do you advice me to include my photo or not ? as the tradition in south Asia is to include :)

  24. AG*

    I can see why a photo might be useful if you’re a professional, like a Realtor or something, but otherwise whatever you want to call it, you can’t call it “industry standard.”

    Then again, AAM tends to take the stance that a candidate should be able to stand on their accomplishments and track record for success. In this economy, however, some people just don’t have that, so it probably won’t be unusual to see people use gimmicks.

    Alternatively, there’s another consideration. A person I knew worked at a bank for 20 years. They’re very knowledgeable about bank operations, but English was not their native language, and it showed in their accent and grammar. They got their job at a time when all you had to do was fill out an application. Now they’re looking for a job again, but they barely know how to write a decent resume. I’m wondering if there are a lot of people for whom resumes and cover letters just weren’t necessary when they first started working, and are struggling to adjust to the “professionalization” of even simple jobs, like clerk typist.

  25. Rose*

    Am I the only one who thought she included the photo so that she wouldn’t have to face issues at certain kinds of offices with dress codes? For instance, a lot of places have a no visible piercings rule. But then, it does seem like this woman could just wear a slightly higher cut top for those places.

    1. Ellie H.*

      Yeah, it’s definitely possible that she was trying to make sure that the people she ended up working with were OK with her having tattoos/having that kind of non-conservative personality. However I can’t think of a reason anyone would consciously try to limit the number of places that would seriously consider her as an applicant though. But maybe workplace atmosphere/fit is very important to her?

  26. Anonymous*

    I’m a Headhunter in Japan, and it’s required here for most companies…I found so many requirements for Japanese resumes bizarre when I first started, but now it’s standard.

    Though I have been known to ‘lose’ a photo if a candidate is great but…well…their picture isn’t.

  27. Jessica*

    Well, in Europe (France, Germany, Uk, Belgium, etc … so really not a minority there), having a photo to your resume is a mandatory thing.

    1. IV*

      In Switzerland its the norm. When I moved here, I had to adjust to putting in a photo, my marital status in my CV. I also had to adjust to the fact that people would ask ‘And do you have any children?’ in interviews.

      Its a cultural thing, but one I still find utterly appalling, four years and two jobs after moving here.

        1. Leave the UK out of this*

          Agree. Very much not normal in the UK. We share the US weirdness vibe on this. In my experience it is more common for continental Europe and the Middle East.

  28. Anonymous*

    So apparently it’s normal in Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Latin America, or most of the world. Just not US/UK, which seem to be the exception.

  29. iDuckie*

    oh man, this sounds like my old co-worker! Right down to the tattoos on the clevage. She thinks she is hot stuff, and tries to use her looks and over embellished resume to get places.

  30. Jessica*

    Last year when I was hiring an Administrative Assistant, I got all kinds of “interesting” resumes. Various people included photos, the name of their church, their hobbies, their children’s names and ages (also their grandchildren), etc. Several shared what year they graduated from high school and one applicant even included her social security number! I really wanted to call her and tell her to never do that again, but just shredded it instead.

  31. Mary*

    Our HR team was going through LinkedIn training with a couple of LinkedIn Account reps. They really pushed putting a photo on a profile. Several of us pushed right back. It was unnerving.

  32. Another Anon*

    I just read that if you’re a job seeker you must have your professional photo on Linked In. No avatars, no decorative icons. Why do you suppose Linked In is “always”” and resumes are “never?”

    1. blu*

      They serve two different purposes. Linked In is for networking/building relationships and having the photo, I think, helps with putting a face with a name. A resume is intended to demonstrate what makes you qualified for a job and what you look like usually isn’t part of that.

      That being said, I think this raise another issue. Many times candidates will send me Linked In connection requests prior to or after our (phone) interview so I end up seeing what they l0ok like anyway.

    2. Name*

      That’s what I am thinking…. it would be nice if people would just except your resume if they like your qualification and if there happens to be a picture nice if not fine.. who cares if you have a picture.. getting a job now a days is competitive so why not stand out a bit more?

  33. Fred*

    Actually your perspective was ever so slightly culturally relative. In some countries it is expected and normal to see someone’s picture. In some jobs appearance is also relevant. A good recruiter would be expected to be able to rise above that kind of prejudice.

    Then again if the customs in that particular environment are not to give a picture it is evidently a faux pas to do so for the applicant.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      My perspective is super culturally influenced. I definitely don’t know the norms for other cultures; the advice here is for people in an environment similar to the U.S.

      1. Fred*

        Okey that was the fastest answer I ever got on a blog/website.
        I am sort of impressed.
        I live and work in Dubai. Here it’s pretty standard to give a picture. I looked for a job in Georgia before this and didn’t.

        I agree that pictures can bias us but then again the face someone wears will have been sculpted by their personality and lifestyle to a high extent so it does contain relevant information even though I am not sure it is worse the increased chance at bias.
        Then again we could apply this to everything and forbid people from giving the name of their college if taking this logic to an extreme.

  34. Can*

    Not only is it extremely common to include a photo in Latin America, but it is also common to have to list marital status, religion, etc. Job ads often feature restrictive ages. For example: “Receptionist wanted. Ages 25-30. Female. Must be married or in a steady relationship. Good looking.” I’m not joking.

    Males generally get the better paying jobs and can be older, but women above a certain age find it extremely hard to get good work.

    I remember applying for a job (I am Latin American, moved abroad) and listing “Druid” under religion because it pissed me off that people would ask that.

  35. Fred Dembinski*

    It’s not like a decent recruiter isn’t going to check your linkedin profile anyway. In this day and age it seems a bit of a silly rule as it just doesn’t fit the reality of how easy it is to obtain someone’s picture. Not not easy: automatic. They’re going to google you and they’ll find your picture in the process, whether they want it or not.

    if the law wanted to be throughout they’d design special recruitment browsers (or rather a plugin for used browsers which doesn’t show pictures on any linkedin/facebook like website)
    And even then that wouldn’t account for personal branding through websites.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The law doesn’t say you can’t know what people look like. It says you can’t base a decision to hire/not hire them on their race, age, etc.

      The point isn’t that you don’t include your photo with your application because they can’t know what you look like. It’s that you don’t include it because it appears naive and that you think it’s in some way relevant to your qualifications.

      1. Name*

        I disagree… sending a picture is polite and shows that you dress well and your professional. It doesn’t matter if your amazing looking or average looking and this is a random idea to get noticed more by employers race and ethnicity have nothing to do with a picture.. Race may still be around sometimes but in a professional workplace people aren’t going to judge you on your picture because of a skin color they will judge if tattoos are showing so don’t do that lol.

        Candidates with even high college degrees are having a hard time finding jobs. It’s whatever makes you stand out more and a picture does.

        Also, Linked in is a hiring network and people have their professional pictures on there. What’s the difference of having a pic on a paper resume or emailing your resume with the picture. Small of course not huge and wouldn’t you like knowing who your about to interview with?

        I just don’t think it’s fair for this to be a negative when it should be a positive.

  36. Katie*

    In Germany, where I am from, your application doesn’t Ben ey accepted or looked at without a picture. People, on a regular basis, go to photographers to get their photos updated. Save to say, I’m much happier to not have to include a silly, hey-look-at-me picture now that I live in the US!

  37. mark*

    Born and raised in LA. I’ve seen this trend pop up in the past few years where restaurants ask for your resume and photo, some ask for the headshot. Not all places ask for it, but I have seen it pop up from time to time. nobody in their right mind should want to work for a business that bases its hiring decisions on pictures.

  38. Madeline*

    Currently living in LA and looking for a job. Almost every customer service job ad asks for a photo. Not for stuff like teaching or car repair or working in a bank. It’s definitely a weird request in my opinion. I generally don’t apply when they ask for one. I’d rather be hired for my experience level and aptitude, not my looks.

  39. Keisha*

    If you go on craigslist and search Miami jobs, an uncomfortable amount of postings ask you to send a photo along with your resume, even if it’s for a postition like an accountant..

  40. Jenny*

    Well I guess you HAVE NOT heard about the LA job scene. I moved to LA from the Bay Area and was astonished how almost EVERY Craigs ad NO MATTER what job it was asks for a picture. I have talked to many people from all walks of life down here about this situation and most shrug and say “Oh yeah, you gotta”. No biggie, their doin it. Take a little check on Craigs tonight, you’ll see it there, yep in black and white. Fine if your in the acting or modeling field you say (and yes their are SOOOO many people in that field here) but its asked in just about every field. Is it an LA thing, not sure. Curious if this goes on in NY…..

  41. Name*

    I don’t see a big deal in sending a head shot at all. My father gave me the advice to do so and he is a very professional business man. The girl in the case should have sent a professional photo instead of showing off her tattoo but I have a headshot on my resume and I look professional in work cloths and very presentable. It shows who you are a bit more and also shows you went out of your way for the employer to show your professional appearance. If anything a headshot should be a plus and nothing to be negative about. Especially because it’s really hard to get a job now a days anything extra should be recognized because obviously only the standing out resumes will get noticed why would you ever say it’s creepy??? That’s rude of you. Also, at least you will know the interview will be worth it knowing that a presentable individual will be meeting with you because you saw there picture.

    Myspace, FB, Sloppy or tattoo pics NO.

    Simple and professional picture? YES- why not?

      1. Name*

        Well I can see why it’s discrimination to ask a candidate for a photo because clearly they want to choose off looks…. but it is also discrimination to a candidate if you refuse them because they were thoughtful to put a professional headshot up. That shouldn’t ruin their chances for trying to be presentable… Linked in is a hiring network and people put their head shots on there. It’s the same as a resume.

        Thats why I think it’s confusing.. there are all these professional sites with peoples pictures on it and employers ask for pictures all the time. It’s like can employers give these candidates some slack….

        1. Job seeker*

          Please don’t do that. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot and make someone think you do things odd. Give yourself a chance to make the best impression and stick to the norm. Good luck.:-)

  42. Name*

    Oh and it’s not an LA thing I am from Orange County. It’s just more professional to put a pic on a resume to show that you have a clean and nice appearance and your credentials fit with the company. I would never send a modeling picture lol… unless bikini shots are okay haha or you have a clothed head shot.

  43. Name*

    Since there are so many employers asking for a photo maybe other employer that don’t want a photo can state “NO PHOTOS” so that applicants know not to send a resume with a head shot. craigslist, and Linked in are the most famous hiring sites and they all ask for photos. So if employers that don’t want photos can it would help to state what “wont” be accepted. It’s hard enough to find a job let alone know what each employer accepts and doesn’t accept.

  44. J*

    A small number of non-US countries???? Which countries are those? Just like four and a half continents right?

    Yeah… that’s a small number…

  45. a ninny mouse*

    I’ve seen the photo request a lot too. some of the jobs even say that the person’s skills aren’t even important. I find it very hard to find work because I’m very homely. (I don’t have lo self esteem I just have to compete with smokin’ hotties)

  46. Strawberry*

    OK, here is the story. I had two places asked for photos. One after a telephone screen interview and the other after sending in application. The first one I was rejected straight afterwards and the second one I haven’t heard anything from them. I am not surprised with rejection but I felt uncomfortable with their behaviour. I am average looking and work in health services. However, I am a minority in the community (my cultrural background). Do you think it is reasonable for me to suspect something fishy going on there?

    1. Sarah Lawson*

      It’s unfortunate that these days, there are some companies that hire based on looks, and not so much on ability anymore. Just persevere, and move on.

    2. Franc*

      Yes, sounds fishy. Very sad for us trying to get jobs. I’d rather not work there, but then I am not applying.

  47. Sarah Lawson*

    It’s interesting to know that sending in a picture with your CV is a common practice in some countries. As to the reasons why, I seriously have no idea. Maybe there’s the hope that the applicant will get hired faster if the employer sees how he or she looks like. I personally feel that this practice is bit unprofessional, especially if the applicant sends in a casual picture.

  48. Franc*

    In Belgium one has to put these details on CVs:
    Date of Birth

    If you don’t then you’re less likely to have an interview. Of course it is illegal in Belgium to discriminate on the usual criteria: Funnily I had an recruiter tell me she’d not send my CV to her client because I was not Belgian…. At least she was honest!

  49. Jennie*

    I wanted to quickly restate what others have said. It is actually not a small number of countries outside the U.S. that ask for a photo along with resume. It is basically everywhere outside the English-speaking world, including continental Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. This doesn’t mean that anyone applying for a job in the U.S. should include a photo, just realize it might mean the applicant might just be from a different country.

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