This is a great topic and a unique question that we would be more than happy to answer!
We recommend that students do not put a picture on their resume- in the majority of circumstances. The reasoning behind this:
-Including your photo puts recruiters in an awkward situation. They are familiar with the employment laws in the US, and they are doomed if they call you and doomed if they don’t if there is ever a legal scenario present once you are hired or denied for the role. It is illegal for a recruiter or employer to discriminate based on gender, ethnicity, etc. so do not open them up to the possibility of discrimination claims.
-There should be a mutual agreement (even on the candidate side) that you are presenting your qualifications for the role and not sending in a glamour shot photo to emphasize your looks. Employment is not a beauty pageant, and you want to display yourself professionally!
Social Media Implications:
-The majority of recruiters in the US will check social media platforms before they even give you a call. When I was recruiting, I would always check a candidate’s LinkedIn profile (and generally Facebook/Twitter accounts) before I even picked up the phone. Recruiters are essentially as good at ”cyber stalking” candidates as James Bond is at stalking villains, as our role is to ensure we are hiring the best candidate for the role- and this includes integrity, professionalism, and not having photos from your spring break cruise plastered all over your timeline.
*According to a study conducted by Careerbuilder.com in 2014, 43% of employers use social media to research candidates, and 12% are planning to start this initiative in 2015 http://bit.ly/1g3AhR6
The most common reason candidates were eliminated from consideration in this study?
“Job candidate posted inappropriate photos or information”
While recruiters don’t check social media for discriminatory reasons, they do check to make sure you are going to represent their organization well and not present questionable activities and actions.
There are unique employment laws for every country, and this does include whether or not photos are required on a resume (often referred to as a “CV” in European countries). For example, in European and Asian countries, it is extremely common for candidates to include their date of birth, gender and pictures on their resume, while in the US you would want to clearly omit this information. There are cultural differences in resume requirements, so make sure, if you are applying to roles in other countries, you research their standard resume formats.
Essentially, a resume should be a representation of your qualifications and accolades. Nothing more, and nothing less. It should be used as a tool to solidify your ability to perform job responsibilities, and a photo should not be included in that criteria. The caveat to this though- remember that recruiters are still reviewing your photos on Linkedin (and more than likely Facebook), so do yourself a favor and ensure those are appropriate, or private.
If you ever want to have your resume reviewed to ensure you are representing yourself as the amazing candidate you are, make an appointment with your Career Coach! We would be more than happy to review it for you.
Kelly Bogey, Accounting Career Coach