Should you put a headshot photo on your resume?
Some sources say it’s completely taboo, and others will tell you it’s a must-do.
You want to set yourself apart from the crowd and get called for an interview, but you don’t want to seem vain or unprofessional.
This is an area that is evolving with time, but what is the best practice for here and now?
Whether the interviewer admits to it or not, we are all influenced by our first impression of what a person looks like. We are still a culture that judges people based on looks, and we all have an unconscious bias on at least one factor or another.
It is illegal for employers to consider factors like age, race, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, and disability status in hiring decisions. By including a photograph, you are revealing some of those details about yourself. However, if you are called in for an interview, those same factors will become apparent.
Let’s look at the arguments in favor of including a legal assistant resume pic, and the arguments against, and you’ll be sure to know what is right for you.
Why You Should Include a Picture on Your Resume
We live in a new era. The rules that once governed proper business etiquette have begun to evolve.
As legal assistant and paralegal jobs get more competitive, having a tasteful headshot can make your resume stand out among the other applicants.
In this digital age, it is common for employers to search an applicant’s name on Google before calling them in for an interview. If, like most people, you have accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+, you probably have at least one profile picture that is visible to the public.
It makes sense to include a pic if applying to work at a place like Google or Amazon, which are hipper environments full of Generation X and Gen Y young adults.
Other venues where it is definitely appropriate to seriously consider including a picture are newer law firms with young attorneys, and legal offices in the entertainment industry.
I’m sure it goes without saying that if you include a picture it must be professional in all aspects. That means professional office attire, well kept hair, flattering makeup and jewelry.
Ideally the photo should be taken by a professional photographer. The shot should be taken from the shoulders up, with a tasteful background, and obviously without the use of Instagram filters.
Why You Shouldn’t Put a Picture on Your Resume
Traditional wisdom is that it is tacky and unprofessional to include a resume picture. Not only is attractiveness subjective, but I certainly wouldn’t want to work for a company that only hires people based solely on their looks.
Including a photo can be seen as vain, arrogant, and shallow.
That being said, a legal assistant is often the first line of contact between the client and the firm, so your appearance reflects on the entire law office. You are expected to look professional at all times. As discussed earlier, a quick Google search will probably reveal at least one profile picture of you on the internet. So some think: why not include a tasteful picture that portrays you in a professional light right from the get-go?
A job interview is however your best chance to show a professional appearance and demeanor.
If you are applying at a longstanding law office, a conservative law firm, or for a government legal job, chances are more likely that the hiring manager would not appreciate a resume picture or look at one favorably.
There isn’t any scientific data that I could find to go either way about whether or not to include a picture. It really is a matter of preference between you and the HR person or attorney looking over resumes.
Instead of taking the time to take a perfect picture which may not help you get an interview…
You should also invest a little time into guaranteeing you get the job with these legal assistant interview tactics.
Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut at FreeDigitalPhotos.net