Discrimination in a photo

It's kind of a new trend now that job-seekers are being advised to include a photo of themselves within their resume and stand out from the crowd, but does this actually help?

Numerous experts state that you shouldn't include a photo as this opens up the chances of discrimination being made against you. Some actually go on to say that companies will often dismiss your application straight away if you have a photo as they don't want to open themselves up to discrimination claims.

We are right in the middle of the digital age, I’m concerned with people who DON’T include a photo in their resume to be frank. It has been the trend that people traditionally do not put photos in resumes for many years now sure, I’ll give you that, but with this technological boom we have had in the past two decades we are only becoming more and more digital and trends ARE changing.

To stand out from 100's of other resumes recruiters see, I would STRONGLY argue that it adds interest and already the reader can start to get a feel about your personality and will make them want to read a little more - can you just imagine how many resumes these people would have read to get to yours? Let's make it a little easier on them and give them something a little more ‘colourful’ to look at, yeah?

Did you know that back in 1992, the average attention span was over 12 minutes and in 2014 it was measured at 6 seconds... 6 seconds! You need all the help you can get to grab the reader's attention. Why do you think some authors do it with their books?

It's also quite common now for companies and recruiters to google you and see what they can find, having a professional photo of yourself right at the start from when the reader picks up your resume, you are able to convey a professional image from the start. If they are able to find your social media sites and you post things that may not be seen as 100% desirable then at least the reader’s perception of you would be better than if you had just let them search through your social media sites. Hopefully from this they will be thinking, 'this person can tidy up well, they look professional and have put effort into their resume, and hey, yeah, this person has their own personal life'.

Now let me get to these discrimination comments I'm hearing a lot about. This is the real world. If companies and recruiters want to discriminate, they will discriminate and will get away with it 9 times out of 10. Come on let's be real. This to me is a HUGE benefit actually. If a company or recruiter is going to discriminate based on what I look like, isn't it better to not have to go in for numerous interviews, play the waiting game, only to be told in the end I was close but someone had a better skills set than me? Even though the company or recruiter knew the whole time they won’t hire me but they would make it look like they gave me a fair go? Won't it just save both parties time? Also, if they do discriminate, do you want to be working for those kinds of companies?

Any company that is worth working for will hire you based off your skills, your knowledge, your personality and whether you are a good fit for their culture. They won't get to your resume, see you have a picture and throw your resume down and declare they will not hire this person due to a photo on their resume, that’s just discrimination of sorts in itself and just ridiculous.

So let me set some ground rules for what I mean by including a 'photo' in your resume. I mean to have it either professionally taken of you in some kind of professional clothing (specific to your industry and occupation) but many people don't actually want to get this done, which is completely fine, it's more than acceptable to have a friend take a photo of you in your professional outfit. So just to be clear, no unprofessional selfies, no casual clothing (unless this is acceptable in your occupation), no silly faces, etc. you get my point here.

In my final words I will mention some other alternatives that could be relevant to you.

You could include a cartoon version of yourself or some sort of character that looks like you, this increases interest and if you spend a little bit of time, you can put a little bit of your own design flare in your resume to make it more appealing to the eye. (This increases the reader's attention span, meaning they will spend more time reading over your resume more acutely, and is a bit different to what is out there, making you a little more unique in your application).

Now I am not saying that the skills and knowledge you put on your resume is secondary to the visual aspect of your resume, because let's face it, if your going for a job that you don't have the skills for, your more than likely not going to get it. Doesn't matter how funky your resume is, it's just not gonna make the finish line. All I am saying is resumes need to be more interesting to read and different. This also shows your presentation skills and written communication skills as well as the actual skills you posses.

Lets help get this resume revolution on a role!

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Harry Latham