Yes, You’re In Asia – No, Don’t Put a Photo on Your Resume

It’s a big no-no in Australia to put a photo of yourself in a job application, but you do see a lot of advice  given that it’s standard practice to include a photo of yourself for an Asian resume. But hells-to-the-no do not include a photo.

I followed that advice when I first arrived in Singapore, but now I see how incorrect it was. It’s following a stereotype of Asian employment law being in the favour of employers – “they can’t be sued, so it’s ok if they see your photo – the more information the better”. No, your photo will work against you. Because whilst Asian employment law may allow for photos, human behaviour is the same worldwide.

My top 5 reasons for not putting a photo on your resume:

  1. HR women are petty, jealous bitches – #truefact. I include myself in that group. You really want to show us how pretty and perfect you are? No, you want us to think you’re another person we wouldn’t be intimidated by when we have to lie about how much the organisation cares about you. Don’t piss us off, and just.get.to.the.interview.
  2. The only time a photo can enhance your application is if the job requires you to be able to smile. Maaaaaaayyyyybe, a photo of yourself doing your skill could help – you know, like a speaker in front of a conference – but not of you processing the payroll. Otherwise, it’s like 0 points of value in your most precious real estate space of your resume. Use the space wisely and just.get.to.the.interview.
  3. Like a picture speaks 1000 words, a photo lets me know in .5 seconds what I think about you, in what I would need to spend 5 minutes finding on a resume. Make your impression at the interview, not with a grainy 5cmx3cm photo. 
  4. If you’re applying to a recruiter, they use software to scan your resume for keywords. If you get through that first human-less process, don’t screw it up with the humans. Just get.to.the.interview.
  5. Most of us don’t have professional photos of ourselves appropriate for resumes. Don’t bother photoshopping a photo of yourself when you were out drinking. Everyone can tell what your photo is. Spend the time polishing your resume and application instead. Just.get.to.the.interview.
I guess my point is – just.get.to.the.interview! Don’t screw it up with a photo.

On the flipside – if the organisation explicitly requested a photo as part of your application, would it make you think twice about working there, and the kind of HR practices they have?
Cheers,
Sarah
Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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  • 5 September 2012
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