Solely In Black and White: Resumeology 101: Class 5 Picture Perfect

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Resumeology 101: Class 5 Picture Perfect

I think this may be the last post on the topic of resumes as part of the resumeology series. I think we have covered everything. If I have l neglected anything in this course please let me know. Just as a reminder: there may or may not be a surprise final. ;-) 

So let us now conclude with the final topic, pictures. 

Pictures are a peculiar thing. Maybe I should start off a post like this with the idiom “a picture is worth a thousand words” (hey that’s like two or three posts! No small feat :-) ) but that would be a simplistic approach to a very complex situation. Furthermore, we like our resumes short so a thousand words might be a bit verbose. But this topic is nonetheless one of necessity since obviously there is a growing demand for a (girl's) picture on a resume. 

While I (by I, I mean the research team) have never requested a picture, I can say with certainty that a picture does provide answers to questions that would be somewhat inappropriate to ask. Will I go out with a girl without a picture? Sure. Back in the old days, when I was naïve and believed everything I was told by the shadchan, I had gotten mislead to put it mildly. In that situation seeing a picture would have been a very useful activity. You know what the odd thing is? I have yet to meet a girl who looked better in her picture than on a date. Okay, maybe there was one, but that was a fluke. :-/ 

Before I go further, you must understand something. I have seen a lot of shidduch resume pictures. I know how hard it is to get a really good picture. I can see how hard it is to find that picture in which one has the perfect smile in the perfect dress with the perfect lighting etc... I get it. I think most people do. I think most people aren’t that vain that they will hold a middling picture against you. Even so, if your prospective date were to value your picture and looks so decidedly important, i.e. the boy is looking for a girl who is superbly gorgeous, then why would you want to go out with him if he is going to dump within 15 seconds? IMHO most normal people use a picture to assuage their worries and answer the questions they don’t feel comfortable asking. And no, normal people don’t sort resumes by pictures, unless the only thing that’s important to them is looks. 

The first realization I have come to is this. The picture really isn’t even for the boys, since we will see a girl's looks in person and make a decision. It’s more for our mothers. They want to know what a girl looks like. They want to analyze her face/smile/”look” and whatever else females seems to do and read into these things. They want to know about their potential daughter-in-law's appearance. Is that really so wrong? Think about it this way. A girl’s parents get to meet the guy early on in the process while the boy’s parents don’t (at least in my circles). Wouldn’t it be fair to at least allow a boy’s parents to see a picture early on in lieu of that? 

The second realization I have had with the picture is that looks aren’t something you can cover up. While people have creative ways of hiding their skeletons (closets, graves, trunks, and urns) you can’t hide the way you look. A few inquires to a non-biased or loyal source will reveal to some extent what one looks like, imperfections and all. And once someone goes that route, there is no going back. For example: If one were to make inquiries into a specific girl and the feedback received contained disparaging remarks about how said girl looked, to which they then requested a picture from the shadchan, only to be told that the girl refuses to sent a picture, what message does that send? To me, that sounds like somebody has something to hide.


  1. Depending on the circle, the picture isn't always for the parents. In my circles, definitely not.

  2. If, as you say, the picture is for the mother, not the boy, then I certainly feel no obligation to send it. The reason being: the guy is the one that's gotta like my looks and he may have different taste or see things differently than his mother. What if she sees a picture of me and decides for some reason that she doesn't like my smile? Say...I look too shy, and therefore she says no or tries to dissuade her son from going out with me, when in fact I'm not a shy person at all. A picture can give a wrong impression, no doubt about it. I'd rather be given a fair chance and a picture just doesn't cut it. I'd sooner meet a mother if she requests than give a picture if we're talking about being fair...and if I may say so myself, I'm not bad looking at all and have nothing to hide. I just would rather someone decide based on a whole picture, including my personality and mannerisms, rather than a one-dimensional picture of my face.

  3. I don't like the whole idea of mothers looking at the pictures, I think it's weird. I think the only reason to have a picture, is so that the guy can make sure that there's nothing about her that would for sure keep him from being attracted to her.

    Halfshared: I agree pictures can be deceiving and they don't really show much about you. But in my case (where I have to travel for dates), what am I supposed to do? Agree to a date without having any idea of what the girl looks like? (I usually do and it hasn't worked out too well so far). I'm guessing most girls won't agree to send a video, so the picture is pretty much the only option, unless you have a better idea?

  4. @tnspr569:
    Then who does your reaserch?

    You’re right, that why it’s not obligatory. I can’t answer for anyone else, but the way it works for me is like this. My mother will get a resume and a picture and look it over. If there is anything that right off the bat raises a question she’ll tell me about it. If she doesn’t like the picture, she’ll tell me to check it out and ask me my opinion. So even though she may get to see it first the final decisions are still up to me. Off hand, I don’t think I have ever said no to a girl based on her picture, but I can’t say that as a definitive rule.

    I don’t think most girls would agree with you on the idea of the pre-date parental meeting. Meeting someone in real life is so much more awkward. Furthermore, actual interpersonal interactions can also be over analyzed, possible more so than a picture. I forgot which blog I saw it on, but the blogger in question lamented, rightfully so, about the Pre-date date. Do you really want all that added pressure?

    @Bored Jewish Guy:
    Even without a picture you can and should find out what a girl looks like. You just need to find someone who you can ask and I am not referring to the people on her resume.

  5. I agree with halfshared- as awkward as it might be, I rather meet the mother than send a picture

  6. BJG, I've never actually had a situation where a guy traveled in to meet me. I can understand why you'd want a picture (note: you're asking for it, not your mother), and I'm sure I'd agree in that situation. Even if not, I probably wouldn't make a big deal about sending a picture, if requested. I wouldn't send though without a specific request.

    SiBW, You get a picture with every resume? That's interesting...I've been asked for a picture maybe twice in my dating career.
    As for a pre-date parental meeting, look, I don't want it either. I've had to do it on one occasion, not because it's the norm in my circles, but because there was a story behind it (her son was still in Israel and she wanted to make sure I'm "worth" flying her son home). It was only to my advantage and I didn't have a problem with it. We just shmoozed for half an hour and that was it. Also, it was only the mother, not a whole scrutinizing, parental committee.

  7. I have no problem sending my picture as long as the guy sends his too. Guys aren't the only one looking for attraction; girls want hotness too (gasp!!). How did this topic come up anyway.....:-)

  8. @halfshared:
    Not every, but a lot. Alright, but would you want to do that before every single date?

    @ (not) The Girl Next Door:
    That sounds so vain. ;-) Btw, I have no problem sending a picture either! In fact I have. Twice. I don’t know why people make such a big deal about it, but it seems that it isn’t an accepted practice yet. Dunno, I think someone made a comment… :-P

  9. Who's talking about doing it before every date? I only did it once and not instead of a picture. I didn't enjoy doing it but nothing happened to me either... G-d help me if I had to do that before every date. I was just saying that in theory, I'd want to be given a fair chance (and I think that would include seeing the whole picture), but in practice, I've always obliged when asked to send a picture. I would never make a big deal about it.

    Oh, I would so love if guys giving out their pictures would become the norm. (How hypocritical of me?!)

  10. Hey, I'll admit I'm vain. It's definitely not my strong point. Or maybe I'm not vain at all; everyone else just says it's okay when it isn't. Cheers to you BJG. I have friends who have apologized for their hubbies looks. I really don't want to be one of those. At the end of the day I'm not going to base my decision to marry a guy soley on looks, not happening. However, I do think it's something significant. Glad to hear you don't ;-) And to quote you, "Back in the old days, when I was naïve and believed everything I was told by the shadchan, I had gotten mislead to put it mildly"-wow you must have started dating when you were eighteen....

  11. SiBW: You can't always tell from other peoples descriptions, I really don't want to have to analyze what someone means when they say that a girl "looks nice, dresses well and is definitely not fat"

    Halfshared: I still don't ask for pictures, b/c if I did and a girl sent her picture, it would be even harder for me to say no. That's why I prefer that the girl sends a picture with her resume, or has a picture (or better yet, lots of pictures) on facebook.

    (not) The Girl Next Door: "Cheers" to me? for what?

  12. For actually verbally (well we'll count it as that) admitting that you care what the girl looks like.

  13. (not) The Girl Next Door: oh, well, that's not so hard for me to do, I've never been the type to deny that I want my wife to be drop dead gorgeous, but I don't think I'm shallow :) but that's kind of expected from a guy, girls on the other hand are expected to say that they're attracted to smart, funny guys with good middos, not "hotness" lol, but at least you admit it.

  14. SiBW, haven't we discussed this already?? I do my own research, or ask my friends to do so. My parents are pretty hands-off when it comes to this, unless I ask them to get involved. I wouldn't have started dating if I didn't feel I was capable of deciding who to date.

    As far as pictures go, the pictures are for me, and usually they're provided by the shadchan (or facebook). If friends are doing research, they might be tasked with it. Either way, my parents really don't come into play at this stage of the game.

  15. BJG, that's very considerate of you.

    (SiBW, sorry for the slight hijacking of this thread.)

  16. I am married now. (I am a female). But when I was in shidduchim, I knew there were people who asked for a picture. I personally did not like the idea, but I figured if this will get me married, then big deal. I have nothing to hide. So when I made up my resume, I included a picture on the top corner-not so big, but big enough to clearly see my face. I didn't even like the picture, but I didn't have anything better. And you know what? People liked my picture and gave "yes's" because of it. I know that for a fact, because when I was redd to different boys, they didn't necessarily get my resume. They would be given basic info and that's it. Then when my friends were called about me, they would describe what I looked like and told them if they want, they can send my resume that has a picture. And they always said yes after that!


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