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When And How To Use Your Photo On Your Resume

Gayle Petrillo May 2023 1

Career Kuel Thought Leader: Gayle Petrillo

So interesting, I never expected this question to keep coming up in conversations with so many of my clients.

As a career and confidence coach, I assist my clients by writing and/or revising their resumes, usually as the first step toward finding a new role for themselves.

Recently, several clients have asked whether or not they should put their photos on their resumes. Before rushing to say, “Absolutely no way!”, I mulled it over. My answer is still, “no”, and here’s why.

“I know, people do it. It’s the popular thing to do.”

No Place On Your Resume:

Your resume should be full of content. Colors, borders and photos have no place on your resume. I know, people do it. It’s the popular thing to do. Does it then follow that it is the right thing to do? Absolutely not! 

I am emphatic about it for a few reasons. First, for every job posting, there may be up to 100 people who respond. Some are highly qualified, others, not so much. That said, why would you give the recruiter or hiring manager any reason at first glance to put your resume aside? 

The open position may be among an existing team. If this is the case, it is likely the hiring manager and team members have considered who they believe would be an ideal fit among them. Whether they are replacing someone due to performance issues or relocation, they have preconceived notions about who they want to work with.

If it is a new position, these preconceived notions are likely stronger because they may consider an outsider a threat, or interloper, or are looking forward to welcoming a new team member who is just like them. As a prospective employee, you have no idea. 

Their Ideal Candidate:

Why then would you give that team or any member of it the opportunity to rule you out because of your gender or race or weight? I know, it is illegal to do so; however, we all know it actually happens. What if they don’t like the style or color of the clothes you are photographed in? You are taking a chance that something will stand out that will not match their ideal candidate.

“It’s part of your first impression and it’s part of your brand.”

The same question comes up when talking about branding. Should your photo be on your business cards, your website, Linked-In and other social media platforms, rack cards or other marketing collateral? This is a resounding yes. Why the difference? My response is because when you exchange business cards, you have likely already met the other person, so your photo will help them remember you.

For The Best Fit:

When prospective clients research you online in any fashion they are looking for the best fit. Therefore, your photo will help them determine that. It’s part of your first impression and it’s part of your brand. 

So, in closing, be sure the photo you use is professional. Spend the money to have a trained photographer take your picture. Have several shots taken to showcase your personality, from serious to fun. The more your personality shows, the more likely it will resonate with those seeking what you are offering in goods and services. It’s about being your authentic self.

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About the Author:

Gayle Petrillo is President of First Impressions, Image Consulting. Gayle is an image consultant working with both businesses and individuals. Her services include: customer service training; team building skills; secret shopper services; gossip avoidance techniques; closet analysis; wardrobe transformations, personal shopping; employment coaching; and presentation skills.