Should You Include A Picture on Your Resume? (2024)

Light blue background. Navy accent circle. Circle crop of a photo of a woman holding up her resume. Insight Global logo. Title: Should You Include a Picture on Your Resume?

“What are some creative ways I can stand out from the competition during my job hunt?”

This is a question nearly every job seeker is asking themselves in 2024, and for good reason. Now more than ever people are looking to get an edge and make a memorable impression. In a world filled with TikToks, boomerangs, memes, GIFs, and emojis, including some sort of virtual twist on your resume may seem like a clever idea.

But is a resume picture or some other virtual element really going to land you that job? The answer may not be what you think.

In this post, we will go over why including a picture on your resume may not be the best idea if you want to get the job.

A Resume Photo Can Be Distracting

Here is one important stat to consider: 24% of hiring managers spend less than 30 seconds looking at a resume, according to a CareerBuilder study. That means if a hiring manager is looking at your resume picture or professional headshot, they are spending less time analyzing what is most important–your skills and experience.

A suitable alternative to including a resume photo is to add a link to your LinkedIn profile or other social media profiles. If an employer wants to know what you look like, they can always conduct a social media background check.

If you are going to include links to your social media, make sure your profiles don’t contain anything that could cost you the job. (Another CareerBuilder survey found 54% of employers didn’t move forward with a candidate because of something on their social media profile.)

The bottom line is that you want to get the job because of your skills and experience, not because of how you looked in your professional headshot.

A Resume with a Photo Could Get Instantly Thrown Out

Having a resume picture can not only distract hiring managers from analyzing your skillset and background, but it can also get you immediately taken out of the running.

You might be wondering, “Why in the world would a company throw out my resume because of a photo?”

The simple answer is because they don’t want to make decisions based on biases–conscious or unconscious.

When decisions during the hiring process are made based on biases, such as the way you look, it could become a case of discrimination, which is prohibited under law. So, when an employer sees you’ve attached a photo to your resume, they toss the resume out instead of getting themselves in a situation that could lead to trouble.

And that’s if they even get a chance to review your resume. Depending on the company you’ve applied to, the hiring department may have a policy in place that prohibits a resume with an attached photo from being considered in the first place.

A hiring manager reviews a resume with a picture included.

Resume Pictures May Make You Look Unprofessional

As mentioned earlier, it’s normal to want to spice up your resume and stand out from the crowd, especially in today’s ever-evolving digital landscape. But adding a photo or other virtual elements can leave your resume looking cluttered and unprofessional, two characteristics of low-performing resumes.

If a resume looks too busy or too different from a normal professional resume format, employers may not want to take the time to dive into your resume and search for the important stuff, which unfortunately does not include your resume picture.

When you deviate from the general common format of a professional resume, it makes your resume look informal. The resume photo could also take away space from your skills and experience sections. It could also make your resume longer than you want it to be.

We understand you’re attempting to do something that makes you a standout amongst other job applicants, but this could make you appear unique in the wrong way. One way to help yourself stand out from the competition is to pick a professional font or make your educational and professional accomplishments the focal point.

A Resume Picture Can Confuse the Tracking Systems

A primary goal of your resume should be to make it past the computer and into human hands. That is because nowadays, many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to automatically screen resumes for the top candidates. These systems read resumes and help identify keywords, skills, experiences, and whatever else a company is looking for in your resume.

But if you attach a photo to your resume, you could confuse the system. This would occur because most systems are only designed to read plain text on a resume, not images.

In fact, nearly 75% of qualified candidates have been rejected by an ATS because the system couldn’t read their resumes, according to a Forbes. This means when it’s time for your resume to be scanned, the computer could malfunction due to the photo, and your resume might not make it through to the employer.

Is It Ever Appropriate to Include a Resume Photo?

Maybe you’re in the acting or modeling business and are wondering if there’s an exception for you when it comes to putting pictures on your resume. However, the answer is still the same. Best practice is to not include a picture on your resume.

If you’re trying to break into the acting business and want to land an audition, you’ll obviously need to submit photos. Headshots are vital to getting roles. They should be included separately, though.

Unless a job requests that you submit photos with your resume, it’s best if you skip attaching them.

Instead, you can display your professional photos on your social media like LinkedIn, online portfolio, or personal website. Always read the guidelines on the job application before you move forward with attaching extra items that weren’t asked for in advance.

Should Your Picture Be on Your Resume?

In 2024, job seekers are always looking for opportunities to make themselves stand out from the other candidates. A resume picture or other virtual element could seem like an attractive option.

You may find yourself asking, “Should I include picture on my resume?” The answer to that question is no, you should not. That is because a resume photo can:

  • Distract the hiring manager from what’s most important (your skills and experience)
  • Get instantly thrown out of the pile to avoid bias or discrimination
  • Make you seem unprofessional due to a cluttered format
  • Hurt you from getting past an ATS and into human hands

If you have professional headshots or photos that you want employers to have access to, there are alternative ways to do so other than including a picture on your resume. These alternatives include linking to your social media, online portfolio, or personal website within your resume. You can also attach them as separate files.

At the end of the day, you will be judged on your skills and experience, not how you look in your resume picture.

If you have a resume you’d like to put to the test, check out Insight Global’s job board.