Should You Put a Photo on Your Resume?

Resume photo Example

When it comes to crafting a resume, one of the most debated questions is whether to include a photo of yourself or not. While some job seekers believe that a photo can enhance their application, others argue that it can lead to discrimination or bias. So, should you put a photo on your resume? In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of including a photo and provide you with some tips to help you make an informed decision.

Should you use a photo on your resume?

General, quick answer: No, unless it's acceptable in your country, the industry, and the position you are applying for.

It all depends

Including a photo on your resume has a lot to do with your industry and location. In this article, we dig deeper at when a photo on your resume is a pro, and the professions it works for, and when its not and con's of using one.

Yes, resume trends are changing and it is 2023. However, a photo is not a standard or welcomed to show in most industries, and countries.

When You Should Not Use a Photo

Resume photo Example

1. When it's not common practice in your country or industry

In some countries or industries, it's not standard practice to include a photo on a resume. In these cases, it may be better to leave it out to avoid any potential bias or discrimination. Make sure to research the local customs and practices before deciding whether to include a photo. (We included a country list below).

Recommend use of a Photo in:

  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East
  • South America
  • Scandinavian Countries
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Germany
  • Portugal
  • Spain

Do Not Use a Resume Photo in:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland

Other countries

In many countries, there is no strict rule regarding including a photo on a resume, and it largely depends on the industry and job position. Some recruiters are used to receiving resumes with photos, while others prefer without them. If a company requires a photo as part of the screening process, they will specifically request it as part of your application. Therefore, you don't need to include one unless it's explicitly asked for.

2. When the job doesn't require a certain appearance

For most jobs, your appearance shouldn't matter, and your qualifications and experience should speak for themselves. Including a photo can detract from the focus on your skills and achievements, which should be the main focus of your resume.

 Tip: If there is an inkling of doubt, rather leave it out.

3. When you have concerns about discrimination & bias

Unfortunately, discrimination based on personal characteristics such as age, race, gender, or appearance can occur during the hiring process. Including a photo on your resume may unintentionally contribute to such bias. If you have any concerns about discrimination, it's better to err on the side of caution and not include a photo on your resume.

In many countries It’s illegal to consider factors like age, race, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability status in hiring decisions. Subsequently, hiring managers prefer to not ‘officially’ know whether you’re a member of one of these protected classes.

Due to the possibility of being subjected to a discrimination claim some recruiters and hiring managers won’t even consider resumes with photo's included. The best counter tactic to still receive some screen time from recruiters is to add a great profile pic to your Linkedin and then include your Linkedin URL on your resume.

4. Space

Resume real estate (space) is usually quite limited especially if your aim is to stick to a well-crafted 1-2 page document. Including a photographic image may entail giving up on important job and qualification details, which are of course most crucial priorities for successfully securing an interview.

5. ATS Incompatibility

Many recruiters use ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) functionality as an automated screening tool. This means that the ‘’bots’’ responsible for screening may get confused by imaging if they are programmed to assimilate only text-based data. Thus, your resume may not even be viewed by a human recruiter, after all, should it be deemed unfriendly against ATS standards.

Tip: Just in case, google yourself to see which pictures pop up under your name search and then embark on a “beg to remove” activity to get the unphotogenic ones deleted or tighten your online profile security settings to keep the candidate stalkers (aka recruiters) from accessing of your personal networks.

6. When you don't have a professional-looking photo

If you don't have a professional-looking photo, it's better not to include one on your resume. Adding a photo does not make you look unprofessional. Adding an inappropriate one surely will. It's better to focus on showcasing your skills and qualifications instead of trying to add a photo that isn't of a professional standard.

A less than “picture perfect” self-image can do more damage to your career prospects, than not displaying one at all.

When You Should Put a Photo on Your Resume

Resume photo Example

Being on point with a headshot snap on your resume can be a beneficial strategy to raise your chances of securing an interview:

1. When it's required by the employer or industry

As mentioned earlier, in some countries or industries, it's common practice to include a photo on a resume. If the employer specifically requests a photo or if it's standard practice in the industry, then it may be necessary to include one to be considered for the position.

2. When the job requires a certain appearance

For certain jobs, such as modeling, acting, or other entertainment industries, a photo may be required to showcase your appearance and look. In these cases, it's essential to include a professional headshot that presents you in a positive light and follows the industry standards.

3. International Roles

When applying for roles outside of the USA or even at international companies with offices inside US borders you may find that putting a headshot on your resume is, in fact, a requirement and not just a preferential add-on.

4. When the company culture is more relaxed

In some companies, the culture is more relaxed, and including a photo can help show your personality and fit with the company culture. If you know that the company has a more informal culture or you've been referred by someone who works there, including a photo can help establish a connection and make your application stand out.

Being on point with a headshot snap on your resume can be a beneficial strategy to raise your chances of securing an interview:

5. It can help you stand out

In a sea of resumes, a photo can help you catch the attention of the hiring manager. If you have a professional-looking photo that showcases your personality and presents you in a positive light, it can help you stand out from other candidates.

6. It can humanize your application

A photo can help the hiring manager put a face to the name on the resume. It can also give them a sense of who you are as a person and help them connect with you on a personal level. This can be especially useful in jobs that require strong interpersonal skills or customer-facing roles.

7. Brand Building

A great picture of yourself on your resume can be a savvy tool to help build your personal brand. Moreover, if you use the same photo for your other social media profiles such as LinkedIn or Zoom Info, you create a consistent corporate image that establishes trust and credibility.

Often, omitting a resume photo may actually diminish your chances of landing on the shortlisted pile, especially for creative roles in graphic design, fashion, film, architecture, sales, and marketing.

Tips for Choosing a Photo for Your Resume

Resume photo Example

When choosing an appropriate photograph, you need to remember the following rules:


• Blurring is out, so you need to preferably be stationary when snapping away.


• The brighter, the better. Only experts can take a good photo during dusk and dawn.

• There is nothing more off-putting than a grainy photo with shadows in all the wrong places.


• Think crisp, mono-tone backgrounds like ocean blue’s, foliage greens or plain white or black.

• Also make sure you are not photo bombed by a bird, your thumb or someone making funny faces in the background.


• The camera angle should be slightly downwards, thus your face needs to be lower than the direct projection of the lens.

• Never take a picture where the camera faces upwards, and your face is placed above the directed lens projection.


• Wear something that flatters your skin tone like a scarf or chunky piece of jewelry for the ladies. (Guys you usually look good in plain black or white.)


• No pouting, I repeat, no pouting.

• Remember to smile, but keep it natural, you’re not a chipmunk.

For more tips on taking the perfect selfie have a look at this article from Cosmopolitan. If you as are asking a friend to do the honors, let them read this blog post first.

Resume photo Example

Conclusion: Double Up

Whether or not to include a photo in your resume shouldn’t be a damned if you do, damned if you don’t kind of decision. Why not opt for a double-up approach and build two resume documents, one containing a stellar self-portrait and one with a text-only display?

Proper research about the company/country you are applying to coupled with a bit of common sense will make it easier to choose which one should represent your job application to the company.

As a final note always remember pictures may attract attention, but it’s the correct resume content that creates retention and interview invitations.