Never Put Your Photo On a Resume — Unless 1 of These 5 Things Is True

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AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger
April 18, 2024 at 7:24AM UTC

Should I put my photo on my CV? That's a common question many resume writers ask. Hiring managers seem to feel very hot or cold about photos on resumes. Depending on your industry, your profession and other factors, you may want to include your photo — but, generally speaking, including a photo on a resume is not the move.

Here are five times when you might want to include your photo, and three times when you shouldn't.

What are 5 times you should include your photo on your resume?

Here are five times when you should include a photo on your resume.

1. You work in acting.

Actors almost always include photos on their resumes. This is because their looks can make or break different gigs. Hiring managers may look for candidates with specific appearances, and having your photo on your resume can cut to the chase.

2. You're a model.

Models also need to include photos on their resume (or include a portfolio of photos with their resumes) because their work depends largely on their looks. Again, hiring managers may be searching for candidates with specific appearances, and including a photo on your resume helps them make a snappier decision. 

3. You're a musician.

While musicians don't need to have their photos on their resumes, many of them do. This is because they may want to better express themselves and show who they are. Often, music is very personal to the people who make it, so putting a face to the work can help someone get a better idea of them.

4. You're a book author.

Like musicians, book authors don't need to include their photo with their resume. That said, because their photos are often on the backs of their books, they may decide to include a photo on their resumes, as well. 

5. Your prospective employer asks for a photo.

If your prospective employer specifically asks for a photo in a job advertisement, it's OK to include one in your resume. That said, keep in mind that, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, asking for a picture before you're offered a job is illegal under the Prohibited Employment Policies/Practices: “Employers should not ask for a photograph of an applicant. If needed for identification purposes, a photograph may be obtained after an offer of employment is made and accepted.”

What are 3 times when you shouldn't include your photo on your resume?

Here are three times when you shouldn't include your photo on your resume.

1. The industry isn't visual or creative.

If you work in an industry that's not so visual (like acting or modeling), and it's not even creative (like writing or design), you probably want to steer clear of including your photo on your resume. Recruiters and hiring managers aren't going to care what you look like (nor should they!). Including a photo on your resume may come across as misguided and/or unprofessional.

2. The job doesn't require a photo.

Again, if the job doesn't require you to include a photo on your resume, your best bet is to leave it off altogether. You don't want your resume to look unprofessional. So it's best to keep the photo off of it and stick to using that valuable space to talk about your experiences and skills — subjects that recruiters and hiring managers will actually want to see.

3. Your photo could be used against you.

While it's illegal to not hire someone because of their photo (which is largely why the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission makes it illegal to ask for a photo before offering some a job), you don't want to risk your photo being used against you — especially if you don't have a professional headshot. If a recruiter or hiring manager really wants to find out what you look like, they can likely find your photo on your LinkedIn profile instead.

How do I add a picture to my resume?

Here are three simple ways to include a photo on your resume if you insist on using one or if you need to use one for your industry.

1. Take a clean, professional headshot.

First things first, if you're going to include a photo on your resume, make sure that it's clean and professional. Get a headshot taken by a professional photographer. Don't just use a selfie or a photo from your social media. The photo should be of your face from the chest up at most. It should be on a plain background that's simple and easy to look at. And it should be appropriate, meaning you should be dressed as you would on the job.

2. Size the photo for the top corner of your resume.

What size should a photo be on a resume? It should be small enough to not take up valuable space, but big enough to show who you are. Many people include photos that only take up a small corner of their resume — no more than two inches by two inches, and often even smaller. The photo shouldn't be longer than your header.

3. Include a separate portfolio of photos if you have to.

If your job calls for pictures of yourself (if you're an actor or a model, for example), you'll want to have a separate portfolio of photos of yourself that you can link to from your resume (if you send it digitally) or that you can include as an attachment with you resume. You don't want to clutter your resume with pictures of yourself — that's precisely what portfolios for these kinds of visual fields are for!

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog,, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.

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