Have you ever heard of ‘plastic surgery for employment’? The newly coined phrase developed because appearance has become a competitive aspect to consider during our serious unemployment crisis. This affects the photos on your resume. Some people even pay up to 200,000won to obtain good resume pictures. In addition, some companies have had job candidates’ abilities assessed using physiognomy in order to determine their employability. So why do companies consider candidates’ looks and why should we put a photo on our resume?
The Saramin portal surveyed 539 human resources directors regarding the evaluation of pictures on resumes. 75.7% of those surveyed said they considered the photo on resumes. About half of those surveyed reported they gave extra points to or passed applicants whose photo were nice, even though their interview performance may not have been good. Women in particular are more likely to be valued on the basis of their looks. Moreover, if applicants did not put their picture on the resume, 47.6% of them were at a
disadvantage while a staggering 30.4% of them were dropped entirely. These numbers are unreasonable as applicants should be evaluated by their performance and career, and not their appearance.
The human resource directors mentioned they need pictures because they have to do background checks verifying names using the photographs of applicants. However, they could also simply use an identification card instead for this process, so this is arguably not a valid reason. According to research by Ju Young-sun (member of the National Assembly), requests for photos on resumes in Korea and Japan are the highest out of all of the OECD countries. In other words, in North America and Europe, they do not normally put photos on resumes. They simply list their career history, academic ability and employment advantages. Big tech enterprises even receive free-form resumes. There are two ways to solve the problem. First, we could standardize the resume. Second is for the government to introduce an institutional framework for a resume. The important thing here is that the government already actively intervenes in the resume reporting system. This is because the Ministry of Employment and Labor has already supplied standardized resumes to companies and government offices. There is no blank space for a photo in their resume format. However, it has still not led to any change in the system. Many companies still request photos of applicants on their resumes. Only 8 out of 289 human resource directors answered they would remove the blank space provided for the photo, according to the Incruit, a job-search site. Job candidates pay an average of 8,000won per photo and there is even a reputable photo studio list that has been developed ranking the best places for people to get resume photos. Moreover, a new section for applicants to ask which photo is better for a resume can be found on job-search online websites.
Do you think this is reasonable? Job candidates should concentrate on their career and improving their skills, not their photos. To erase the space provided for an applicant’s photo on a resume, both people and government have to make an effort to make this change. People have to know what is really important, and companies should show their priorities and values from the start of employment.