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    Wednesday
    Nov232011

    Timeless Job Application Wisdom

    Right now, I'm reading Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich." This book, first published in 1937, has been included on bestseller lists for 50+ years, and is frequently referred to as "the original self-help book." The way I see it, if something has been this popular for this long, it's got to be onto something, right?

    Right. So, I just came across the section where Mr. Hill talks about what to include in your job application materials. While much of his advice is very sound and still relevant, one particular thing jumped out as horribly out of date: including a photograph with your application materials. Photograph on a job application!

    When I read that, my first thought was, it's a good idea - faces are more personal than resumes, and since nobody does this anymore, your application would immediately stand out. 

    My next thought was, "I wonder why we've stopped including pictures with resume materials?" The immediate answer that came to my mind: employment discrimination litigation. I bet we stopped submitting photographs when employers started getting sued for discrimination!

    But then, even if I'm right and this trend did in fact go away because of litigation, what has social media done? Nowadays, job applicants are encouraged to create and maintain "an online presence" - because potential employers will screen it before interviewing or hiring. All of us are "google-able" - and many people probably check out people’s photographs before ever meeting them in person, or inviting them to a first in-person interview.

    So, putting it all together, maybe Mr. Hill's advice is, as usual, sound, and we are already including our pictures with our application materials. Except, we are using a different medium, one that Mr. Hill couldn't imagine during his time. So, maybe, it's actually a good idea to attach an actual picture to your resume, sparing potential employers the trouble of going to look for it online, and making your application stand out from thousands of your competitors? What do you think?

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