Skip to Content

Should You Put a Picture on Your Resume? — The Answer

Should You Put a Picture on Your Resume? — The Answer

Sharing is caring!

Including a picture on a resume would be the best way to let an employer know what you look like and to have your image stick in their mind.

However, this practice is very uncommon in the resume-writing world.

Should you include a picture? In what circumstances? Many circumstances dictate different responses, so let’s dive into the possibilities.


“Should you put a picture on your resume?”

Pictures or photos should not be included on a resume in most instances. Because it is not the norm, it can come off to an employer as tacky or desperate. In the case of models or actors, a photo should be included as their image is a necessity of their application. 


Is it wrong to include a picture on a resume?

Employers are interested in learning the skillsets and achievements of potential employees. These skills should be able to speak for themselves, without the need to put a face to them.

An employer may wonder if a person is using attractiveness to “make up for” a lack of skills, so do not include a photo unless asked to. 

It is also a sad truth that employers can be biased. Including a picture increases the chances that an employer will pass on your resume if you do not fit their ideal image. 

Pictures could give away information such as age, race, or religion, all of which are things which an employer cannot legally discriminate against.

However, including a photo gives them the power to simply discard the resume without needing to tell anyone the reason. 


Who should include a picture on a resume?

Industries in which it is more common to provide photos with an application include actors, models, and musicians. When your physical image is a crucial part of your job, it is normal to include a headshot with a resume.

If an employer specifically requests photos, then you have the go-ahead to submit a picture regardless of what industry you are applying for.

Keep in mind that this implies that your image will be a part of your job moving forward, and you must decide whether or not that is a workplace you want to be involved in.


How to submit pictures or headshots with a resume

Many employers of industries like modelling will ask for a headshot, and will typically request it be of a certain size.

You must be sure that you follow the instructions of the job ad when submitting photos, as using the wrong type or size will likely disqualify you.

Headshot photographs are typically requested as 8×10 inches, meaning they have to be their own full page.

Always have this in color, and it is recommended that you include your full name beneath the picture. 

The most common way to give a photo to a potential employer is to staple, glue, or tape a full-size photograph to the back of a resume when giving it in person.

Giving it as a separated page isn’t necessarily wrong, but it is more common to have it attached. 

Some people choose to print the picture directly onto the back of a resume, but the best practice is to print separately.

Photos should be printed in the best possible quality to ensure an employer sees you at your best, and a regular document printer likely won’t print sufficiently. 

When submitting an application or resume via e-mail, it is best to keep a photo as a separate image in order for it to be of sufficient quality.

You may choose to include a sentence towards the bottom of an email telling the recipient the details of your attachments.

Using the phrase “enclosed is my…” is typically preferred to its abbreviation “encl” in professional e-mails.


Should you include a picture in the resume itself?

Pictures should not be included in the formatting of a resume, even in the case of actresses, musicians, or models. While some choose to do so, it is ultimately redundant. 

A picture included on the face of a resume must be small, which makes its usefulness trivial compared to the provided headshot. In addition, it takes up valuable space on a resume. 

Because resumes need to be kept brief and straightforward, including a small picture will only serve to use take up space better suited to listing relevant jobs or skills.

Consider sending a cover letter if all of your information will not fit easily, though this is not often necessary.


Should you include the date the photo was taken?

Listing a date on a headshot or photo submitted with a resume is not common practice, and should generally be avoided. The headshot should be updated every two years at a minimum, as you want to be sure you look like your provided photo. 

Including the date while you are following the “every two years” rule is redundant. If a potential employer has to ask when you took the photo, it likely means you look different and should update your photo anyways.


What format is best when sending photos electronically?

When emailing an application for a potential job in which a photo is necessary, be sure that you include the photo in the right format (.png or .jpeg file). Being unable to open a file may make the employer throw away your resume without a second glance, which is the worst possible outcome!

Attach a photo to the email as a .png or .jpeg file. The generally recommended size is no larger than 800×600. Be sure that your entire face is in the frame and is facing forward.

Crop out any blank space in the background so that your eyes can be seen clearly. For more information on cropping and editing a proper headshot, check out an advice article by City Headshots.


Is it a good idea to embed photos in the e-mail itself?

Photos should never be embedded in an e-mail, as some mail systems will compress the image, making it lower quality.

At the same time, you want to be sure your image isn’t so high-resolution that a potential employer has to wait a long time for it to download.

In short, always make sure your photos are easy to download and that your profile is easily understood at a glance.