Many resume builders agree on the basics - use a readable font, list work history in reverse chronological order, and for the love of Pete, NO CAPS LOCK. However, the issue of whether or not to include a picture with/on your resume has remained a point of contention, despite the frequency and prevalence of social sharing.
Experts are still split on the issue. Traditionalists and those concerned with discrimination as a factor offer an emphatic No; while others put forth a cautious Yes, with caveats. We at Career Catalysts tend to align with the middling view, as - in the right context, and for the right position - a picture might be what sets you apart and helps get you the gig.
First off, identify for yourself why you think including your picture will add value to the advert (ie. your resume) that you are sending to the recruiter. What message do you want to get across? If you are only including one because your friend in BComm said you should, chances are the recruiter will be able to tell.
Like anything else to do with your resume and cover letter, you want to tailor it to the job at hand. Going in for graphic design? Offer up your best professional ‘selfie’ to showcase your brand, and give you a competitive edge in a somewhat saturated field. Of course, many such positions will request a professional portfolio as well as your credentials - but a CV photo can work to provide the ‘human’ element that a resume may lack, putting forth an idea of what you might be like to work with; whether that’s warm, sunny, and open to collaboration, or serious and confident in your ability to get the job done.
A photo can work well in other fields, too. Suppose your favourite gin joint is looking for another bartender; many classy places are looking for a certain aesthetic to align with their brand, whether a style of dress or haircut that denotes a certain sensibility to the company’s culture - think Toronto's Crown Shaving Co., and beards.
Bonus: if you regularly frequent the establishment to which you’re applying, providing a pic can help put a face to a name, and remind the hiring manager that you happen to know quite a bit about the goods and services, that you enjoy the atmosphere of the place, and maybe already have rapport with some of the staff, as well.
However, if you have not had a professional photo taken, or are unsure of the one you have, it’s probably best not to include it. Don’t insert that one your friend took where your hair looks amazing, just to have included a picture. You’d do better to ensure your social channels are tidied up a bit; ie. your profile pic on Facebook is somewhat clean cut, and that snap of you having beer with buds is relegated to the archives until the job hunt is over.
Another tip: if you do include a pic, find ways to reinforce it, so it appears intentional and part of your brand conceptualization, rather than an afterthought. For instance, place a small version - of the same picture you used on the resume, of course - above your email signature when sending in a follow-up, or ‘thank you for the interview’ note. This will help to cement you in the recruiter’s mind, and show consistency and attention to detail in your work.
Whatever you choose, make sure it is done tastefully and professionally, and feels authentic to you. And if you do go with the photo option, spend that little extra and get it printed in colour - you’re not a 1950’s movie star, after all.
And if you're still split on the issue, give us a call - we'll help you make the right decision, and put your best foot (or face) forward with the recruiter!