A common practice in Europe, and some other parts of the world, is to include a photograph on your resume. This trend is not popular in the United States, but as the workplace is becoming more globalized, American candidates, at home and abroad, are talking about the practice.
My personal experience with this topic is limited. A couple summers ago, I worked as a lifeguard for a country club. My boss there told me that she received a resume with a photo attached to it; she thought it was so strange that she threw it out on that basis. My second experience was with Pitt’s International Internship Program. I created a resume using their specific format, which included adding a picture. I tried on several different outfits with a couple different hairstyles. I wanted to look my best while also being professional. I had a friend take about 20 photos of each combination and then we struggled over picking a photo.
I had assumed that looking attractive and professional would actually increase my chances of getting a job. I’ve heard of the studies where people who are attractive are usually assumed to have more positive qualities. In addition, I thought looking as polished as I could would make me like a better candidate. So when I started researching this topic, the results surprised me.
Last year the Harvard Business Review featured an article that discussed how putting your photo on your resume might not be such a good idea. A recent study showed that since oftentimes it’s women who are judging resumes they are, unconscientiously, biased against attractive female candidates. According to the article, good-looking women “received 6% fewer callbacks than plain-looking females and 23% fewer than women without pictures.”
Just based on this information alone, it is pretty fair to say that this seems unfair. In an ideal world a candidate’s level of attractiveness should not impact their eligibility for the job. The article poses a solution, that there should be a more equal balance of men and women screening the resumes. I don’t think this is the answer, I think the benefits and disadvantages of actually putting photos on resumes should be what is debated.
Especially in the United States where lawsuits are popular for every little distress, especially people who felt they were wrongly rejected, employers and candidates cringe at adding a photo to their resume. Not only is there a worry about being discriminated against based on their level of attractiveness, but race, obvious physical handicaps and any number of concerns. So the immediate answer seems to be that to avoid any potential of discrimination on this basis, photos should be left off the resumes.
Yet many countries use this…