In 2007, Lindsay Mustain was working as a recruiter at Comcast trying to fill a reasonably entry level call center role. The job attracted “quite a lot of level of candidates,” she says, adding that “sometimes you get some really interesting ones.”
As she was rifling through resumes, one particularly caught Mustain’s eye. “I truthfully do not know what he was doing,” says the previous Amazon recruiter and now CEO of talent development company Talent Paradigm in regards to the candidate. It “shocked me.”
The primary two pages of this candidate’s resume were pretty standard, says Mustain, who’s all for a two-page resume normally. “Two pages is the suitable number,” she says, because recruiters will take the time to leaf through them.
The third page of his resume, nevertheless, is what took her by surprise. “The very last page was an image, a full-blown picture of him holding a shotgun.”
The photo looked like an old-school selfie taken with a flip phone, says Mustain. The shotgun was not geared toward the camera, the candidate was simply holding it. Still, she thought, “what would undergo your mind to think that that is a suitable piece?”
“It just blew us away,” she says.
There have been several things unsuitable with this person’s material.
To start with, “unless you are a model or an actual estate agent, I like to recommend you not put a photograph in your resume,” says Mustain.
Beyond that, Mustain says, including a weapon in your photo is incredibly off-putting. “Truthfully with an individual like that,” she says, “I might not need to be related to him because they feel like they seem to be a danger.”
Even when you’re applying for a job through which you would be expected to make use of a firearm, most employers will want proof of coaching on it, not a photograph of you holding it.
Bottom line, including a photograph of yourself in a resume, especially a highly inappropriate one, reflects poorly in your judgment. That person is “unequivocally communicating they do not know about true business standards of what is appropriate behavior,” Mustain says.