Should I Include a Headshot on my Resume?

In an age where jobs positions seem to be decreasing and job demand is increasing, it’s becoming harder and harder to stand out among the crowd of eligible candidates. So how can you make your resume pop and be memorable for recruiters?

I bet you’re thinking of the possible ways you can jazz up your resume: “maybe I could use a fancy template that changes the layout of the whole document and is very eye catching? Or perhaps I could use a different colour font that will pop off the page? Or maybe even a add a photo of myself to the first page!”

Woah woah. Stop there.

While having differentiating factors that are eye-catching to recruiters, like a different template or font colour, adding a photo can open a can of worms.

Placing a photo on your resume opens the doors for recruiters to judge you based on appearance and not just qualifications. It deters the focus from your employment history, education and volunteer work and gives the recruiter the option of assessing another category.

Obviously, most recruiters do not consciously look for a person of a certain physique, but the subconscious is a different story. For most positions, appearance isn’t important as long as you’re capable of doing the job. There are times, however, where headshots are appropriate to include, for example in modelling and acting careers. But for the everyday workforce, this isn’t the case.

Recently, the Canadian government has been piloting a program that removes names from resumes when hiring for a position. This has allowed for ‘name-blind’ recruitment that aims to reduce the ‘unconscious bias’ during the recruiting period. This includes any indicator to the person’s race and ethnicity so that recruiters can focus on the person’s capabilities.

This move comes after a trend in hiring biases that led to less people being hired with Asian names and Canadian qualifications than their Anglo-Canadian counterparts, even if they had the same or better education and skills.

Adding a photo to the mix would only augment the option for an unconscious bias like the ones attributed to ethnic names.

To give yourself a fair chance at a job opening, don’t include a photo.


Author: Amy Richardson, Contributor

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