Are Professional Headshots Helping Your Job Applications?
Jan 13, 2021 | By: Doug Burke Photography
Professional Headshots Helping Your Job Applications?
Over the years, there has been extensive debate about whether or not to include professional headshots or photos to the resume before sending it out for job applications. The insight which emerged after the years of debate was that the rules are different for different countries.
According to an article by Andrei Kurtuy, a resume, CV and cover letter expert, it is best to avoid including a photo to the CV when applying for jobs in the US, UK and Ireland. While this might seem like it takes away an opportunity to personalize the CV, there are reasons why not including your professional headshot is the right choice.
Why Headshots Are Not Necessary
CVs serve as a means to convince a prospective employer that you might be the right person for the job. It seemingly makes sense to include a picture of yourself to the application as a method of introduction. However, following are some reasons why adding the headshot may not have the desired results.
1. Unconscious Bias or Discrimination
Despite the fact that we live in a relatively more progressive era, discrimination and unconscious bias continue to be a part of our realities.
Headshots open up the possibility of your application getting impacted by racial, age or gender discriminations. In some cases, there is also a possibility of unconscious bias. A physical feature of the person (ex: beard), which is not relevant to job performance, might trigger a negative response from the employer. This might cause the application to be rejected despite meeting the skill criteria for the job.
2. Take Focus Away From Skills and Achievements
According to the Ladders Inc., a leading career site, a person spends an average of 7.4 seconds reviewing a CV. You have 7.4 seconds to convince them you have the right skills for the job.
Including a headshot will inadvertently redirect the focus towards the picture and, therefore, distract them from the details about your skills and experience.
Those few seconds may make the difference between an interview call or rejection.
3. Irrelevant To The Job Position
For most professions, looks don’t add value to the job position. Appearance does not play a role in preparing a financial forecast, programming an anti-virus software, conducting a medical research etc.
Therefore, your professional headshot is irrelevant to the job role for which you are applying most of the time. Since CVs are pretty cramped with information, it is reasonable to make space for only the relevant details.
Additionally, in most cases, appearances simply pay no role in how well a job is performed. Therefore, it does not make sense to include them in a space which is reserved for details about skills which add value.
Lastly, there are exceptions to this rule but even when submitting a headshot in that case, it is important to be mindful of the details. Keep things clear and professional and try to avoid making it look casual.
That’s about it. We wish you the best of luck for the job applications!