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Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Comments

That's a really great idea. Helpful to the unemployed and good PR. Thanks for posting this!

Uh oh, the dreaded word, "Free" -- do I smell another Strobist-esque flame war brewing?

I've been out of the job market for a while (and hope to keep it that way). When did people start putting their photos on their resumes? Is that common practice today?

What a great idea. Brilliant.

I'm curious, however: is it common for people to include pictures with their resumes/job applications? Doing so is standard practice here in Germany, but I always thought it was more or less taboo in the U.S. (since the use of pictures could enable - or give rise to claims of - gender/race/age/disability discrimination). Of course, having a professional portrait on your resume can't really hurt, and it will certainly be a benefit for anyone with an online presence.

Best regards,
Adam

This would seem to be a nice public relations gesture by this photographer, in the same concept and spirit as the recent "free resume" day that Kino's ran.

But, as someone who has waded through mountains or resumés during my biz career I strongly urge people NOT to include a photograph with their resumé (unless, of course, it's a theatrical position requiring a headshot). This practice was, thankfully, not common practice here in the U.S.. In fact, as "mcananeya" remarked, it was rather taboo to even look at them. (My HR department would, in fact, remove photos from resumés before sending them along to me, even if it meant using scissors to do so.)

Perhaps customs have changed. But photos on resumés are double-edged blades not worth the risk.

Including a picture with my resume would not be a benefit. Age discrimination is real in this country. Especially in IT/IS circles. Even showing too much experience can lead to unfortunate conclusions by potential employers. Given the current economic conditions this concerns my very much. Unfortunately it is a fact of life.

That is a great idea to build a network. You never know when your phone could ring and someone could be on the other line saying "remember when you helped me out" There are a number of people out there trying to do right by the financial issues that are going on.

Fantastic idea. This is how the economy turns around, one step at a time, one good idea at a time and one good will at a time.

Already tweeted about it :)

@peterurban

Photo resumes used to be unknown here, except among salespeople, but in the past few years I've seen many, even some coming through recruiting agencies.

Scott rocks; let's start a movement and encourage other pros/semi-pros to do this sort of thing. We need all the goodwill we can get these days.

Well it will really be helpful to employers that still wish to discriminate on the basis of age or race. -- Rich

I've never put a picture on a resume, and never received a resume to review that came with a picture. I'm in software development, and recent experience covers Minnesota and Silicon Valley.

But I've certainly heard of people doing it, I guess in other fields.

It worries me that it lets people determine age, sex, and "race" without explicitly asking, and without inviting you in for an interview first.

But what about the ethics involved here? Why are you promoting this potentially nefarious potentially commercial enterprise?

Sorry, couldn't resist.

"promoting this potentially nefarious potentially commercial enterprise?" What? I had to look "nefarious" up. (it means utterly immoral or wicked) There seems to be much discussion about the validity of photos on resumes.Most of the people will be using their photos on networking/job websites ala LinkedIn...not so much on resumes. This really is a simple concept. Work has been a bit slow for me...I photograph people...I want to help people and this seems like a good way to do it. I want to thank those who have left positive messages. I will let everyone know how this turns out.

I just found your blog and this was a great post to read first. Very generous of Scott. I'll definitely be checking back for updates.

As someone who has interviewed and hired many people through the years I have NEVER seen a resume with a portrait. Quite frankly, nor would I want to.

Nice gesture but....huh?

this thouroughly decent and selfless act. And completely ut of place in many parts of the western world in the 21st century. Let's hope it catches on.

Scott, do you mind if I "borrow" your idea in Sydney?

p.s. and I think DMonteith was joking. I hope he was.

While I think what is being done here is in many ways admirable, I would join the others here who say don't put a photo on your CV unless what you look like is a prerequisite for employment. I do contract employment work for some companies and I much prefer not to know what the person looks like. It's also one of the reasons I like doing phone interviews first as well.

But most importantly, and I am way, way off tangent here, but as lots of people will be brushing up CV's and applying for jobs, and as some of them frequent this site, some advice from someone at the sharp end.

Read what is required in an application. Twice. At least. If it says they want a covering letter, do a covering letter. If it says they don't want one, then don't send one.

Read the requirements then read your CV. Adjust your CV to fit the requirements/skills required. Don't say in your cover letter anything like "you require xyz skills, and while my CV doesn't reflect this I have experience ...." Put it in the CV.

And proof read, and get someone else to proof read (and read the ad, requirements) and, most importantly, make sure you spell the name of the company you are applying to and the person (if there is one) the CV is going to correctly. Believe it or not, I am continually receiving CV's full of spelling mistakes. And from people who you would think would know better.

For those who are looking, good luck. (And a little good preparation).

Scott,

I don't think that DMonteith's comment was serious (in fact I am quite sure it wasn't). He was making a joke playing off of a bunch of negative comments that Mike received after he posted information about Ctein's "100 True Fans" concept/offer.

We all appreciate and applaud what you are doing here. As I am sure that DMonteith would agree, it is the opposite of nefarious, and we hope you aren't offended by the joke. I am sure that these photos will be useful to people in their networking efforts - the resume discussion was obviously a bit off point.

I just posted my question because the practice in Germany is so different. I still can't get used to German job application / resume practices. Not only do people over here attach a photo of themselves, they indicate what religion they are, whether they are married or not and sometimes whether they have children and what their parents do (or did)! They also attach references from all of their previous employers, which sounds like a good idea until you find out that employers are legally prohibited from giving an employee a negative reference!!! This results in code-language, with "Mr. X exerted efforts to meet the requirements of the job and occassionally succeeded." being about as negative as things can get.

Whoops. Another tangent. Summary:

Pictures on resumes (in the US) = generally bad.
Improving your picture for networking/online purposes = good.
Helping people who are looking for work = great.
Scott Streble = A model setting an example for us all. Kudos!

Best,
Adam

Great idea Scott.
How about setting one on top: get them to sign an agreement for you to be able to use the Pics as a sort of history Documentation. I mean if someone brought out a book of professional portraits of jobless people from the great depression of the 1930's maybe with a little background info on each person, for example age, last job, education etc. I'd be very temped to buy it. So your pictures could be the raw material for a great book in 50 years time.

For Pete's sake, y'all--what does it MATTER what people want the pictures for?? They're presumably adults, and fully capable of determining whether a) they need a photo of themselves for their job-networking purposes and, assuming they do, b) perfectly capable of determining for themselves how said photo is to be used. There's no reason I can think of why WE need to decide how some other adult will use a photo of themselves.

All Scott is saying is, hey, if you're out of work and need a professional photo of yourself for any reason, I'll do it for you for free as a favor.

I can't see how that can be controversial....

Mike

Well. it is controversial because some people still remember how employers frequently used such information to unjustly discriminate in their hiring. Many intelligent, reasonable adults, who can usually make sound decisions, may not fully realize that. Especially vulnerable would be those who have not had any previous experience with hiring discrimination. I do understand that it is not, and has not been, an important issue in the midwest, but on the east coast, from Portland to Florida, hiring discrimination, although greatly subdued, continues to be a socio-economic problem. Not including a picture in your resume just safeguards us against such hiring practices.

Mike,

It sounds like you've seen a little bit too much negative, uncalled-for criticism around here lately.

So I thought it wouldn't hurt if I joined all the people who've already told you how great this place is and how positive an effect your work has on us. Mike, we're grateful!

As for Scott's initiative, I wholeheartedly agree with you in that it doesn't get much better than that. Solidarity that could end up being the source of new business opportunities or in other words, the best of both worlds. Go for it, Scott!

Cheers,
Thomas

"I can't see how that can be controversial...."

Welcome to the Internet.

I find this thread interesting from a Canadian perspective. From my experience here, photos are not included in resumes at all as it provides a basis for people to be screened based on racial or ethnic background. Having said that, I do believe it is great that people use their skill to give back to the community.

At the risk of sticking my foot in my mouth yet again, I don't think anyone who was commenting on the picture/resume thing was looking to start a controversy. I think we were all just looking to prevent someone from reading this post and possibly commiting a faux pas that would prevent them from getting a job they deserve.

The motivation was positive, even if the way I (we?) expressed myself (ourselves) was clumsy. And I certainly don't think anyone is arguing that what Scott is doing is in any way negative or harmful.

Nor are we trying to dictate how people use their new pictures. They can use them however they want. Again, I think the comments above were just intended as "health warnings" advising people to think twice before attaching a picture to a resume, if this is something they were considering.

If nobody was considering using pictures with their resumes and everyone is well aware that this is not common practice in the US for many fields, then so much the better and no harm done.

Best,
Adam

Yes, it was a joke. It's hard to do irony over the toobz, sometimes. One never knows who's in on the contexts of any particular blog (er, "large photography web site"), and too much backstory kills the fun. Win some, lose some, I guess. Cheers.

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