The ultime guide on including a photo to a resume: Do’s and don’ts in 2021

March 11, 2021

Everything you need to know about a resume photo, what to avoid, and how to look professional.

The goal of every resume is to introduce your skills, experience, and qualifications to a recruiter. In addition to a motivational letter, it’s also your marketing weapon, designed to impress and land you an interview. But if it’s your abilities that matter, you might wonder why many resumes include a photo of a candidate. 

The research on whether you should add it will leave you with conflicting opinions. Yes. No. Maybe.

To help you decide, we analyzed the pros and cons of a resume photo. We collected and gathered all information to unveil when including a picture makes you stand out among other candidates and when it can hurt your odds of being hired.

Here’s what we discovered.

Europe: Cv photo tips

In most parts of Europe, recruiters will expect to see the face behind the CV. Job descriptions won’t explicitly state that, but it’s a common expectation, and not fulfilling it can reduce your chances.

Here are the countries where candidates should attach a photo on a resume.

A CV without a photo probably won’t be considered in Austria, Germany, and Spain. But countries like Belgium, Finland, Italy, Greece, Czech Republic, Russia, and Slovakia won’t disregard your application if you decide to skip it because a resume photo is more optional.

Recruiters in the countries where a CV picture is a norm believe that it gives a complete presentation and chance to connect with the candidate.

But if you’re applying for a job in the United Kingdom, Latvia, or Lithuania, you shouldn’t attach a photo on a CV unless stated otherwise. They either have strict anti-discrimination and labor laws or don’t generally have a practice of resume photos.

Companies in these nations strive to focus solely on a candidate’s skills and qualifications, and photos might incite unethical profiling.

The United States, Canada, Australia and New zealand: Resume photo tips

The U.S. is one of the countries where putting a photo on a resume is a bad idea. The recruiters in this country have to follow the  U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) strict policies. Employers shouldn’t request a photograph of an applicant because it might incite discrimination based on sex, race, or age. 

Canada applies similar anti-discrimination rules, which prevent recruiters from requiring a picture from job seekers. 

The norms and expectations are not much different in Australia. Down under, candidates are discouraged from adding a picture to a resume because it’s unnecessary as it tells nothing about someone’s skills. Thus, whether it’s because of a subconscious bias or not, a candidate’s photo can trigger prejudice and bigotry. However, it’s not a rule that you shouldn’t add a picture. 

Like in Australia, candidates in New Zealand are not expected to include a resume photo. It is not a rule, but recruiters will rather see your headshot picture on LinkedIn and other relevant social media than in your job-application document.

Asia: Resume photo tips

The unique culture of Asian countries shows in distinctive norms and rules for job resumes. Here are the tips on whether they should include a photo.

Pros and cons of including a photo on a resume

Not every country has strict or specific norms and rules on whether a CV should include a photo, which leaves it up to the candidate to decide. If you are still unsure what’s the best answer, here are the benefits and disadvantages of a resume photo that you can apply to the job role you are applying for and the country.

Top 3 reasons why a CV picture is a good idea

Top 3 reasons why a resume photo is a bad idea

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How to take a professional resume photo

Sometimes you can’t avoid including a photo on a resume because the profession or country requires it. But as you have only seven seconds to get a recruiter’s attention, you should take a great picture.

Here are the tips for a professional resume photo that will make you stand out.

Adjust with the norms and play it safe

Life gives you plenty of opportunities for risk. Your resume shouldn’t be one of them. It is better to read job descriptions carefully, visit the website of the organization you’re applying for, and check the country’s norms and rules. That will give you a clear idea of whether you should include a photo on your resume.

But whether a photo is a norm or not, include your LinkedIn profile on a resume and ensure you have the same picture because it gives consistency and professionalism to your brand.

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