For international CVs, used for jobs outside the U.S., personal photos (headshots) are the norm. In these cases, if you provide suitable head shots as digital files, I handle them as a matter of routine, with no extra charges. (If retouching is required, however, I charge professional rates.)

(What makes a suitable photo? Headshots should have a background of a uniform color, preferably light, with nothing else in the background within about a foot of your head or shoulders. Professional headshots usually meet this criterion. The digital file should be of adequate resolution; photos taken from a website may not be. The file format should be .jpg, .png, or .tiff.)

But for most people looking for jobs in the United States, encumbering their résumés with graphics, images, and especially personal photos, is one of the worst mistakes they can make. There are legal reasons why personal photos are almost never placed on résumés sent to U.S. employers—the employers are worried about discrimination lawsuits. Legalities aside, photos invite discrimination based on age, race, and various other factors.

In a few cases—typically models, actors, and some creatives—personal photos or other graphics do have a place in U.S. résumés.

Outside of these exceptional cases where a head shot is the norm, I strongly discourage the use of graphics of any kind in résumés. For one thing, they can cause technical problems in résumé processing.

In fact, any sort of decoration is likely to cause problems in a résumé. Colors or light grey tint bars? Maybe alright if the résumé is viewed on screen, but what if someone prints it out? What will it look like then? (The printer might not handle that grey well.) And if the color or tint has type superimposed on it, the type will be unreadable. Dingbats (ornaments in a font)? The recipients probably won’t have that font on their computers, so something else will be substituted for the cute little dingbat.

For more on this, see the article on Killer Myth #3: “Visually Distinctive” Résumés.

I’ve done graphics work of all kinds, in Photoshop and Illustrator, for leading ad agencies and design studios. I did it for years. I could certainly handle projects well beyond a headshot if they were appropriate—but they’re not.








“If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”

— Abraham Lincoln