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Should I put my photo on my resume?

Recently, I started receiving a question I haven’t heard much before. The question is, “Should I put my photo on my resume?”

It’s a great question! If you’ve wondered the same thing, you’re not alone. Resume templates are beginning to pop up on the internet with photos embedded. In all honesty, these templates are often beautifully designed. They look like a work of art. At first glance, they’re very enticing – and they make you question what you thought were the rules of the road with resumes. It makes you wonder if things have changed since the last time you looked.

Despite this, I would not recommend putting a photo on your resume. There’s certain information that companies aren’t supposed to factor into hiring decisions such as age, race, and gender. Providing a photo up front gives the company the option to make judgements about you that are unrelated to your work experience. Remember, it takes years to build up that experience. Yet, it takes less than ten seconds to make a first impression – even on a resume. A hiring manager looks at your resume for just a few moments before deciding whether or not to read further. It’s best to use this precious time on information such as your college degree and work experience rather than your current hairstyle and outfit.

In addition to taking the hiring manager’s eyes off of your expertise, you also risk leaving a negative first impression. There are certain unspoken rules when it comes to business. For example, you should always wear closed-toed shoes with a suit, or you should always be on time to an interview. The hiring manager probably won’t bring up the picture in the top corner of your resume. But, they will think to themselves and wonder how up to date your business skills really are. They’ll wonder why you included a photo, when it’s something that’s not done.

The same rule applies to your business cards. One of the only fields where it’s completely normal to have a photo on your business card is realty. It makes sense. Realtors are sales people. And, buying a home is a very personal process. You want to feel like you know your sales person well. But, in any other industry, a photo on the business card typically looks amateurish. It can make your otherwise professional looking cards look homemade, or too salesy.

If you have a great photo you want to show off, the perfect place for it is LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile is incomplete if it doesn’t have a photo of you. Be sure the photo is just you. Wear business or business casual clothing. Take the photo of your face, with good light, and smile at the camera.

If standards for resumes change, we will revisit this topic again. But, for now, don’t be drawn into the pretty template with the bright photo. Using it will only make you look out of touch with hiring, and the unspoken rules of business.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

138 | Your Working Life – Caroline Dowd-Higgins, Bloomington, IN

Episode 138 is live! This week, we talk with Caroline Dowd-Higgins in Bloomington, IN.

Caroline is a speaker, executive coach, author, and media host. She hosts the Your Working Life podcast, and is author of the book This is Not The Career I Ordered.

On today’s episode, Caroline shares her own success story of career reinvention – transitioning from opera singer to executive coach. She also shares her tips on being resilient, being your own self-advocate, and embracing the concept of being good enough to go.

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

To learn more about Caroline, visit her website here: You can also find her on Twitter at @cdowdhiggins and on Facebook here:

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send your questions to You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave me a review!

120 | Personal Brand Building – Jenny Hargrave, InterviewFit in Guildford, UK

Episode 120 is live! This week, we talk with Jenny Hargrave in Guildford, United Kingdom.

With over 15 years of experience, Jenny helps companies attract and retain sought-after talent in competitive sectors through her executive search firm. She also assists job seekers by helping them to develop a strong personal brand through their CV, professional profile, and face-to-fact interviews at her firm InterviewFit.

On today’s episode, Jenny shares her tips on how to build your personal brand, and how to prepare for a successful Skype interview. She also helps us to understand the concept of a ‘personal statement,’ and gives us tips for how to relocate from the U.S. to Europe for work.

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

To learn more about Jenny and her company InterviewFit, check out her website at

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send your questions to You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching. Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave me a review!


The Importance of Honesty

Business woman handshaking with an other person

Recent events have brought this very basic idea back to the surface. Honesty should be a critical part of each of our professional and personal brands. Building and maintaining trusting relationships is such an important piece of a successful career.

News coverage from the Olympics was dominated by the actions of a few swimmers. And, those actions have nothing to do with the years they’ve each spent training in the swimming pool. Many of the news reports are conflicting. What really happened or how bad things were is unclear. But, what is clear is that the swimmers were not completely honest when they spoke to officials, their families, and the media. Regardless of how bad their actions were, their characters are now being scrutinized in detail. Their lives will be forever changed, both personally and financially, by something that may have seemed inconsequential in the moment.

In a similar regard, we can often be on autopilot at work. We’re trying to make it through the day. We have more on our plates than we can possibly manage and we’re working to check everything off the list. At times, honesty, ethics, and doing the right thing can take a back seat to getting things done quickly.

In fact, a 2002 University of Massachusetts study performed by Robert Feldman found that sixty percent of people lie at least once during a ten minute conversation. It said that “most people lie in everyday conversation when they are trying to appear likable and competent.”

Although the number seems high, this reasoning makes sense. Someone may initially tell a small lie to make themselves look better. But, if caught, a lie can truly impact how we see that person going forward. We may question everything that person has told us before, and whether or not they will tell the truth in the future.

In an interview, telling a lie can cost you the job. If there’s something inaccurate on your resume or in other information you’ve shared along the way and it’s discovered, you won’t receive a job offer. If you’re fortunate enough to make it through the hiring process and then the lie is discovered, it could be grounds for termination.

With this said, accidents do happen. There are times when we’re trying our best to be honest and something we’ve communicated is inaccurate. When this happens, the best answer is to be straightforward with the truth. Dancing around the issue only sets you up to look like you were being dishonest all along. Apologize to anyone who may have been hurt, take corrective steps, and try to move on quickly.

It’s better to build a reputation as someone who’s a little too honest than someone who isn’t quite honest enough. Honesty will allow you to grow professional relationships that will last for years to come.

Warren Buffet said it best. “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

Where does my religion fit into the interview?


A reader contacted me today with an important question for consideration. She asked when it was appropriate to wear clothing, jewelry, or other items associated with her religion to an interview or to work. Her concern was about being judged in the office for her religious affiliation.

As you can imagine, this is a very tricky and personal question. I will share my thoughts with you, but at the end of the day, it’s a very individual choice.

I often think of a job interview much like a dinner party. At a dinner party, you meet many new people who may have different viewpoints than you. Conversations tend to be high level, centered on pleasant topics, such as the weather. Etiquette experts say that the potentially taboo topics to avoid include politics, religion, and money. These hold true in an interview as well.

Unfortunately, when it comes to getting hired, studies show that managers aren’t free of biases. Those biases can influence who’s landing the job offer. Details as minor as hair and makeup can influence the interviewer’s impression of a candidate. Even a candidate’s height can make a difference.

Religion however is more personal, and much more important, than hair, makeup, or height. It can be a large part of one’s identity. In today’s climate, sharing your religious viewpoints with others can cause them to judge you, either positively or negatively. When they judge you negatively, it can potentially hurt your chances of getting hired.

A great organization to share your religious views with is one whose perspective aligns well to yours. For example, some private universities, non-profits, and corporations have a foundation that is based on specific beliefs.

A vast majority of organizations however are not based upon these views. Their employees are made up of people from around the U.S. and the world, who have a host of different affiliations. When interviewing at an organization like this, it’s important to be aware of the choice you decide to make.

If you want to minimize the likelihood that someone may unfairly judge you, think of all of the places you may send out cues to others about your views. Check the volunteer opportunities on your resume. Look at the organizations you follow on LinkedIn. Check your Facebook privacy settings. And, consider the pieces of your interview outfit that may signal an interviewer.

As I mentioned in the beginning of the column, this is a personal choice. I’m not here to influence you in one direction or another, or to discourage you from holding true to your beliefs. But, it is wise to consider the positive and negative implications of your decision – and to make it consciously based upon what you feel most comfortable with.

After you’ve landed a job, you have a new choice to make – whether or not you want to share your views with your new coworkers. While it’s important to be yourself, remember that your story is one to be earned over time through trust.

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

“What should I wear?”

One of the questions I’m asked over and over again is, “What should I wear?” What should I wear to an interview? What should I wear to work? When should I dress up or down?

The answer to this question can be tricky. When I started my career in engineering, I wore a golf shirt, khaki pants, and steel-toed boots. As a project manager, I wore business casual most days. As a member of corporate management, I often wore a suit.

In a way, what you wear to work is as much a costume as anything else. It’s what you put on to be taken seriously each day. It’s what allows you to fit into your environment.

On one hand, you want to be yourself. On the other, your number one goal at work isn’t to make friends. It’s to get things done.

And, unfortunately, people judge you for what you wear. So, what should you wear?

When it comes to interviews, a good rule of thumb is to find someone on the inside to quietly ask in advance. If you’re interviewing at a corporation or traditional business, a suit is often the correct choice. Stick with neutral colors in your suit, your shoes, and your makeup.

But, if you’re interviewing at an advertising agency or a start-up, the full suit look could really turn folks off. Consider something slightly less formal, and with creative accents. Add a little more color than you would at a corporation to show creativity is part of your brand.

When it comes to day to day wear, it’s often best to take hints from those around you. In a creative environment, you will want your style to look more up to date. Similar to when you were interviewing, you’ll want to add in more color, more creativity, and more of your personal brand.

But, if you work at a corporate, beware. It may seem fun to stand out initiatlly. You may be known as the one with the interesting hair, crazy shoes, or big tattoos. But, it’s likely in a corporate environment that’s all you’ll ever be. That person with the unusual look. It’s less likely you’ll be considered for promotions or management roles if you don’t fit into the corporate culture.

It’s sad, but true.

Now, I’m not trying to tell you not to be yourself. If you have no career aspirations of moving up, by all means, wear what you feel the most at home in.

But, if you plan to move ahead, you need to consider your wardrobe carefully. Selecting the wrong “personal brand” for your environment can sideline you in a way you never expect, and may never know for sure. It’s rare that someone will be truly honest with you if your style is causing you to be overlooked.

Again, I’m not encouraging you to not be yourself. But, consider your environment and think of your goals. Remember you’re at work to make a living, not to make friends. Friends are a great bonus, but you also need to stay focused on your goals. And, sometimes, especially in corporate, part of reaching that goal is being able to fit in along the way.

If you do have a strong personal identity that clashes with your work, remember that you can always wear your favorite clothes at home, outside of the office.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland