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Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Smile for the Birdy – NOT!
Don’t you hate your driver’s license photo or your passport picture? They always make you look like a wanted felon. When you watch America’s Most Wanted and they show a picture, you automatically make a judgment about the person even before you know what he/she has done to make it on the program. Pictures are like that – they cause instant judgments to be formed in the mind of the viewer, even it the person looking at the photo does not realize it or intend to make a judgment.

That “instant judgment” is the precise reason you should never include your photograph on your resume if you are targeting jobs in the United States. It is common to include a picture on a CV for job search in other countries, but US hiring laws are very strict. Employers are not allowed to make judgments based on race, religion, gender, national origin, etc. When a photograph is included on a resume, it is impossible to avoid making an immediate, if unintentional, judgment about the candidate.

To avoid potential future lawsuits against them for hiring discrimination, most large employers will automatically delete any resume that contains a photograph of the job seeker. It’s a “better safe than sorry” practice. Employers hire based on how the experience and track record of the candidate matches up to their requirements. A person’s appearance should have nothing to do with either experience or track record. I say “should” because we know we live in an imperfect world but according to the law, appearance should not matter in hiring.

Like all good rules, there is always an exception. Job seekers who are actresses, models or performers actually use their 8x10 photograph as their resume and their experience is printed on the back of the photograph. US law allows this because the person’s appearance is an inherent qualification for the position.

For the average job seeker, though, never put your photograph on your resume. You want to be considered based on your abilities, not your physical appearance.

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