Photo on resume?

My TESOL textbook informs me that it is standard practice for English teachers to include a photo on their resume. If you do not supply a photo, it says, potential employers will immediately assume that you are an unsightly freak. Would anyone care to corroborate or debunk this info?

This is not exactly true. My current job like to reuse all the paper that comes around - as a result I have seen all the other resumes that have come through. None of them included a photo.

So, ESL schools are used to the fact that westerners do not usually include a photo on their resume.

However the fact remains that I included a photo and got the job - despite having less impressive qualifications than some of the other applicants. If you look good and not too old it will help you, as the fact is that you are largely a status symbol fashion accessory for parents.

For Taiwanese, it is quite simply mandatory.

It may be a good idea, unless of course you are in fact an “unsightly freak”, ie. fat, middle-aged, or even non-white. If this applies to you then I wouldn’t advise it in Taiwan.

tacky asian practice (unheard of in the US), but if you look good do it.

Common practice in Germany - you probably wouldn’t be considered for an interview if your resume did NOT include a picture.


There is one reason and one reason only for this practice:

To make sure they are hiring a good-looking white person.

If you are fat, old, ugly, or (horrors!) non-white, you need not apply.

I used to hire English teachers, and my advice is that if you look presentable, do it.

What we were looking out for was not (as you may imagine) ‘non-whites’, but stoners needing to replenish their funds before heading back to Thailand (and likely as not, breaking the contract to do so).

If you look reasonably professional and presentable, a photo will help your chances. For teaching kids, if you look kind and relaxed, this helps too. Fat is not a problem. Kids like ‘teddy bear’ teachers.

As has been discussed before, some schools discriminate against Asian nationals of English speaking countries, or even Blacks. If you are ‘non-white’ you may want to consider whether or not to put in a photo. I probably would anyway. Wouldn’t you ratehr work ofr a class school that doesn’t discrimnate,and not waste your time turning up to interviews to then be turned away with very dubious excuses.


Currently yes, but it was quite the norm in the U.S. at one time. As a matter of fact, soldiers going up in front of promotion boards as well as officers being considered for promotion are still required to submit a full-length photo.
But back to Taiwan, if the employer requires a photo be submitted then to not include one, IMHO, would exclude you from getting an interview. If nothing is mentioned then naturally it is up to you.
mod lang…I am fat, old (45), and ugly…I still got the job. :wink:

Per US hiring laws, it is illegal to solicit items like a photo, age, marital status weight and hight…etc on the resume. Here it is perfectly legal.

As for presentability - isn’t that what an interview is for??

I’m of two minds on this one. In the US and Canada, it is illegal for employers to ask for a photo, your age, your sex, your national origin, your height and weight, etc. on a resume; these are all standard questions on Taiwanese resumes. I think that if they want to hire foreigners, they should get used to standard Western resumes. On the other hand, if being fat, non-white, older or ugly is going to make them not hire you, why waste your time? They’re going to find this stuff out when they interview you anyway.
I guess, on balance, I come down on the side of not including a photo. Don’t encourage them and their idiot hiring practices.
By the way, one of my Taiwanese bosses based her hiring decisions largely on the Western horoscope. At the interview, she’d innocently ask you what sign you are, but if it wasn’t a good one, there’s no way she would hire you.

[quote] I think that if they want to hire foreigners, they should get used to standard Western resumes. [/quote] :unamused:
I think if Westerners want to get hired here, they should do what’s necessary to maximise their chances.
What’s a “standard Western” resume, anyhow? Photos on resumes are standard in most of Europe, AFAIK.

Well, fair enough, but I can’t see foreigners rushing to include their height and weight, as is standard on Taiwanese resumes.
And always claim to be Aquarius, if asked.

Fair enough. But if that’s what the employer is looking for on a resume, surely it makes sense to include it, if you want the job? Of course, if you want to make a stand against what you see as stupid questions, by all means don’t include it.
But if I don’t get the information I require from a resume, into the bin it goes and I move on to the next one. I’m pretty sure Taiwanese employers are much the same in this respect.

Yup. This is standard in the Philippines, too.

I have a confession (I call it a confession because I am embarrassed to admit it): a few years back, when I was starting up an Internet provider in Manila with several partners, part of my responsibility was staffing. My uncle’s firm was the authorized HP dealer (obviously, before HP moved into the Philippines itself). To give me a hand, he instructed his head of HR to give me access to their resume pool.

When I walked in, there were stacks and piles and boxes of resumes filling up this basement. I was overwhelmed. At first, I thought this was great. But like the cliche says, be careful what you wish for.

As usual, I procrastinated. Even though I had access to all these profiles, I hadn’t recommended anyone to my partners (because I hadn’t done anything in days). A major decision deadline was coming up and suddenly I was under the gun. I went back to the stacks at my uncle’s firm, determined to find “the best candidates”

At first, I scoffed at the photos and the reams of paper that are standard fare for a Pinoy resume. (Transcripts from elementary school?!!) But you know what? After 45 minutes of examining one resume after another, my definition of the “best candidate” started to wane. It went from “has relevant experience” to “has a nice picture” to “has a photo, is a she and she’s cute”

While this isn’t one of my prouder moments, I took away a lot of lessons from the experience. The biggest one: I no longer regarded Job Interviews as a big deal. I just imagine that there’s a good chance that the Interviewer is something like I was – some yahoo rifling thru way too much information with barely a clue what he’s really looking for.

Hear, hear! In the career library of my grad school, there is a book called “Global Resumes”. Each chapter describes the local expectations of resumes
(and photos and transcripts from as far back as elementary school are indeed listed for the Philippines; for Taiwan, photos were certainly mentioned)
. If you want to work for a local company, you would NOT want to give them something familiar to evaluate you with? :astonished:

[quote=“Elegua”]Per US hiring laws, it is illegal to solicit items like a photo, age, marital status weight and hight…etc on the resume. Here it is perfectly legal.
As for presentability - isn’t that what an interview is for??[/quote]
It is illegal now but not 20 years ago.
As for the presentability, sure that’s what an interview is for but speaking as one who flew halfway across the country, at my own expense, I would have much rather them told me they were looking for someone a bit younger before I wasted my time and money! (according to U.S. hiring laws it is illegal to discriminate based on any of these things too, right? :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: )

I came to Taiwan to take up a position at a school that had not seen my photo. I walked in to meet a horrified principal, who believed that any man with long hair was a ‘rock star’ intent on seducing his female students. I talked him round, but then decided that I didn’t need this kind of bullshit and would rather work for someone who wanted to hire me.

Wouldn’t you hate to travel to an interview and find out that the ignoramus behind the desk won’t employ you because you don’t confrom to his stupid stereotypical ideal? Wouldn’t you hate to have to beg for a job from a cretin, when someone around the corner would hire you for what you can contribute? There’s tons of jobs out there, so why not limit your search to the employers who are going to be worth your while talking to?

I always include photo and salary expectations these days. I get fewer responses, but I get better jobs because I’m not wasting my time doing demos for cheapskates or morons.

I wonder if Bu Lai En would have hired you. After all, I suppose you probably looked like a “typical” “stoner” pot-smoking hippie back in those days.

How exactly do you tell just from a resume photo (which is normally just a head and shoulders shot) that someone is a backpacker ready to ditch the school as soon as he’s got enough dope money for Thailand?

If I was a boss a photo on a resume would have it over those that don’t include a photo. I would ask those statisticals questions that due to the whole PC detail tend not to be asked in Western countries. Personally I think advertisers should be allowed to put the gender they are looking to employ in the ad too as it can save some people a lot of time.

I come from New Zealand though there was ads placed for people tall and thin and there was a height and weight requirement in an ad. The guy that placed it is quite successful and now a household name. I wasn’t tall enough for a position as an extra. I imagine a photo would have given an edge but damned if I’m going to wear high heels or stilts.

Well, Stragbasher didn’t send me a photo. I tried to hire him, but didn’t have anything suitable (IE high-paying enough :wink: ) for him.

The photo was of course only one of the factors for us making decisions. I never looked at a photo and decided “he must be a bum”. But appearance is one factor you uise when making a judgement about someone. No doubt that judgement will often be wrong, but the photo does help.


I didn’t include my photo on my resume initially and got lots of enthusiastic replies until they requested my photo and saw I was black. Then suddenly there wasn’t a job. I finally got tired of the game so I just put my photo on my resume. I even embedded it so that it prints out onto the first page.

It is only to make sure that you are the right age and race. Don’t kid yourself thinking it’s for anything else.

Case in point, my current school never asked for a photo when I inquired about a job, even though I sent one with my resume anyway. They are very strict about qualifications, and I am far from being the only non-white who has taught here. Hmm…

I’d say send a photo and save yourself time on dealing with schools with discriminatory hiring practices.