Hey Career Coaches….

Back in the day, it was common for people to include photos either on or with their resumes.  Some companies required it.  Then came concerns about discrimination: The photos disclose race, gender and to a large extent age.  Add in research which suggests that there is a bias toward attractive people in job selection, and the practice of including a photo with a job application came to a halt.   Yet today, everyone puts their mug on LinkedIn (not to mention Facebook) and see the site as a critical part of their job search and career management strategy.  Should our students photo or not? 

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5 thoughts on “Hey Career Coaches….

  1. The same concerns about discrimination exist with social media (See Gaskell v. Univ. of Kentucky, No. CIV.A.09-244-KSF, 2010 WL 4867630 (E.D. Ky. Nov. 3, 2010). Employment conferences last year warned employers that merely accessing applicant social media sites that could disclose potentially discriminatory information can suggest an improper motive. At best, employers are encouraged to make sure hiring managers and panels do not have access to potentially discriminatory information that is discoverable through cyber-vetting. Any cyber-vetting, if permissible, is often done by a different team or vendor. Placing a picture on a resume prevents the employer from establishing these internal Chinese walls. As a result, I would not recommend putting a picture on a resume. However, a student can put their LinkedIn address on the resume, placing the onus on the employer to know and follow internal policies and standards of practice. It will be interesting to see if the ever-growing presence of Millennials in the workplace, and their unique privacy expectations, will result in a legal shift over time.

  2. Great question! The short answer is; for your resume, no…for your social media, yes! The most basic reason for this is that a resume with a picture on it isn’t formatted for submission in an Applicant Tracking System. We recommend stripping your resume down to bare bones (format, not content!) for that and not risk having it churned into gunk. For a longer answer on the photo / no-photo dilemma, check out our latest blog by Career Coach Kelly Bogey: https://careerpros.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/in-response-to-the-deans-blog-resume-pictures-social-media/

  3. Dean Jarley: here is one study that I found that indicates the power of a photograph in receiving the interview or not.
    In the experimental study Watkins and Johnston (2000) conducted, the résumé structure included the following: “information of the applicant’s educational background, work experience, achievements, and positions of responsibility held, interests, and academic record” (p. 78). The researchers sought to investigate whether physical attractiveness had any effect with the 180 participants, who were students from the University of Canterbury. In the study, the researchers included a photograph of either an attractive or unattractive person with the résumé (Watkins & Johnston, 2000). The results were surprising in that it did not matter how attractive the person was in the photograph when the résumé was considered to be of high quality. When the résumé was considered to be average but the applicant was attractive, there was a higher occurrence of the person being invited for an interview. If the résumé was mediocre and the applicant appeared to be attractive, this increased the favorability of the applicant. The results of the favorability of the applicant were reflected on how attractive the person was in the photograph and not by a high quality résumé. Therefore, a quality résumé that includes the applicant’s academic background and GPA, professional work experience, achievements, and interests were the indicators that led to an applicant receiving an invitation to interview, as Watkins and Johnston suggested.
    “The expression ‘Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words’ appears in a 1911 newspaper article quoting newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane discussing journalism and publicity” (“Speakers Give Sound Advice”). A picture on LinkedIn or any other Social Networking Sites (SNSs) will produce many adjectives to describe an individual which could be positive and or negative. I personally have removed my photo on LinkedIn last year due to this very topic. I give the advice if one does post a photograph, it must be professional, which UCF has this service for the students in taking a professional picture for LinkedIn, in addition, it is a personal choice to post or not. Furthermore, on LinkedIn, one has the opportunity to Like a photo, does this lead to bias if one does not receive Likes for his or hers photo? In one of my research projects I am preparing, it has extensive information of the historical perspectives of SNSs, which I would like to share with Career Coach Kelly Bogey whereas I will submit it to the OPD site. This is a great topic; however, is there really one answer to it?

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