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359. No Pictures in Job Résumés!

By Lee, Yu-jeang 기자2015.08.25 15:06:50

Most Korean job résumés require pictures of candidates. This is why candidates often go to photo studio which is specialized in taking pictures for job résumés even though it costs high. Packaged service of a photo studio, including make-up, hair styling and Photoshop service, cost 100,000 won to 200,000 won. Nowadays, some people say ‘being good looking is a specification in job market.’ Even the word ‘plastic surgery for employment’ has appeared. Gradually, this custom, requiring pictures of candidates in job resumes, is becoming a public problem of discriminating.

Résumés In Korea

Pictures of candidates are affecting employee selection according to a survey conducted by job finding website called Saramin (www.saramin.co.kr). 75.7% of human resources officers said they evaluate pictures of candidates in job résumés. 45.6% answered they have passed or gain additional points to some applicants because they liked their pictures, and 90.2% of them said résumés should require pictures of candidates. Even 16.4% of them said they estimate pictures of applicants because they think the way people look is one of the critical factors of competition. Other job searching website called JobKorea (www.jobkorea.co.kr) has conducted a similar survey. 34.3% of human resource employees claimed the first thing they look when they are examining résumés is the picture of candidates.

Lookism in Foreign Countries in Job Market

Lookism in job market exists in foreign countries. Lookism is discrimination based on appearance. According to Newsweek, human resources staffs in the USA considered appearance of candidates as more important than academic background of candidates. In addition, 64% of staffs said lookism should be permitted when they want to hire employees who are going to be faces of the companies. According to an experiment conducted by researchers from the UK and Australia, employees working in human resources gave lower scores to overweight women than skinny women. However, this phenomenon is criticized in countries where this survey and experiment are conducted.  

 

(Sample résumé outline for a college student, Wikipedia)

Resumes in Foreign Countries

It is known that firms in some countries in northern America and Europe do not require pictures of applicants. Tyler Rasch, the American representative in discussion TV program called Nonsummit, said he was astonished at Korean enterprises when he submitted his résumé for internship, because they demanded pictures in his résumés. According to Rasch, if companies request pictures of candidates in the United States, they could be accused. He said good appearance is surely a specification in job market in Korea because if applicants attach their pictures on résumés, the standard of evaluation will naturally be their appearance, since corporate recruiters should consider thousands of résumés in short period of time in the application review process.

Attempts to Get Rid of Lookism in résumés in Korea

Many organizations have been trying to eliminate lookism factors in résumés. In 2007, Ministry of Employment and Labor in Korea made standard résumé which does not require picture, sex and the name of schools candidates attended. 17 affiliated organizations of Seoul government are using a standard résumé. LG cooperation has not demanded pictures in résumés since 2014. Asiana Airlines is not requiring pictures of candidates for the first firm among airlines in Korea. In addition, Posco got rid of academic titles and pictures of applicants in résumés and did blind job interviews.

There have been many attempts to get rid of the discrimination based on appearance. However, most of the companies are not using standard résumés. Even Busan Job Fair hosted by government agency required pictures of candidates. If government imposes stricter sanctions against companies, and if companies actively choose résumés not requiring pictures and information about physical features of candidates, discrimination based on the appearance in job résumés will decrease. Furthermore, it could reduce discrimination related to lookism in the job market. Even if it reduces just a little bit of discrimination, it would be meaningful. In addition, the article two of Korean constitution guarantees equality of all. In order to make Koreans have same opportunity to find a job, it is important to eliminate the pictures of candidates in résumés. 

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