The Picture Perfect Technique

Get ready for a politically incorrect (yet often effective) suggestion. This one goes against almost everything written about proper resumes. But it still works in the majority of cases.

Put your picture on your resume. Not pasted on, but scanned in as a small 1" x 1" graphic at the top right on the page.

I know, I know, you are not supposed to do that. And companies are not supposed to care about what you look like. But they do. Especially when hundreds or thousands of miles separate you, it can effectively communicate the vital message: "I am a real person. Talk to me."

There are some caveats to this technique. If you look like the Unabomber, your choices are to either shave or skip using this technique. But for the majority, there should be no problem with personal appearance. Remember, this is going to shrink down your photo to less than one inch square, so complexion problems or even a large nose will not matter much.

Yes, I take note of your appearance. No, I don't care about the color of your skin. But I do note whether or not you have bathed in recent history.

Many large-company Human Resources Departments will screen or cover up the photo, thereby masking a small part of your resume. So only use it if your resume is going direct to the Hiring Manager or if it is a smaller company. And finally, the main reason all the books say this is wrong is because of the potential for discrimination. They are right, but only to a very limited degree. Bottom line is that there are still some rednecks out there who will discriminate against you for your race, your sex, your religion, and any of a variety of protected classes. Reality is that you probably would not want to work for them anyway. Discrimination does happen. So if you are worried about potential discrimination, you have to go into this one with your eyes open. But remember that for every redneck, there are scores of professionals who will value your diversity. It is a risk, yet it is up to you to take that risk in a calculated way. If you feel it has the potential to enhance your job search, use it. If not, don't.