I am currently working on an online portfolio since I'm attempting to job hunt soon. The site contains the basic information such as a list of previous work, a contact page, and a page about me.

On the home page, there is what I would call a "professional" picture of me. But on the 'About Me' page, would it at all be detrimental to include a mildly humorous picture? (as in a picture that may or may not be me posing with an obese cat)

I am hoping that people would view me as a dashingly handsome rapscallion who doesn't discriminate against voracious felines. Or something like that. But is this kind of thing an absolute no-no?

If it matters, I would be interviewing for an IT position in web development

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    I don't think anybody would infer what you hope they infer from such a picture. More than likely, they would infer that you like cats, to the point of it clouding your professional judgement.
    – Kent A.
    Jul 10 '15 at 1:44

There is a lot of risk and minimal gain associated with including a picture which is "funny" like this on your professional CV/about pages.

Keep in mind what is funny to you might not be funny to others. Your sense of humor and what you find utterly brilliant might come across totally different to those reviewing your professional website.

At best, people reviewing it will find you to be somewhat quirky. At worst it'll come across as unprofessional/childish/lame/stupid/silly.

You could have a "personal" page which talks about how you like cats, or whatever, and include it. This would fit better than on your otherwise serious portfolio and online resume.

  • I honestly wouldn't consider adding a separate page to the same site. From my point of view I would keep professional and personal completely separate unless it specifically dealt with the industry you're applying for. For instance, this site: rleonardi.com/interactive-resume I think is brilliant, but only because it showcases skill in a tongue-in-cheek way while simultaneously giving you pertinent information.
    – zfrisch
    Jul 10 '15 at 19:23

Does having a funny picture help you in any way to get the job that you want? Does it make you a better programmer? Does it present you as a person who more people would want to work with or is it something that will cause more people to filter you out than to be enchanted with your quirkiness?

When designing materials to help you get a job, you have to evaluate everything on the basis of whether it helps you get the job you want or not. If humor is a nonnegotiable to you in the workplace, then a funny picture will help weed out any company that doesn't have your sense of humor. It will take you a lot longer to find the postion you want, but when you do, it may be a better fit.

Just be aware that when you do something like this, you will filter out many potential jobs.

If humor is something that you personally enjoy, but it is not necessary in the workplace for you. then don't put the picture in. I have a good sense of humor, but it is not necessary for me to express it at work and I certainly don't want to work anywhere that thinks a sense of humor is more important than technical skills or professional attitude. That doesn't mean that jokes never come up in the workplace or that I don't participate when they do, just that it is never a factor in determining which jobs I am interested in. I am looking first for technically challenging problems to solve, not fun, when it comes to work.

But what I want and what you want are different, so build your brand based on waht you want. Just be aware that it will limit your possibilities - perhaps more than you would want.


"I am hoping that people would view me as a dashingly handsome rapscallion who doesn't discriminate against voracious felines. Or something like that. But is this kind of thing an absolute no-no?"

What does it have to do if anything, with respect to reinforcing your narrative that you are somewhere between being strongly qualified for the position to being uniquely qualified position for which you are a candidate?

You are losing focus, you are distracting anyone who is researching your background to ascertain your suitability to the position being offered. And as @enderland says, there is no guarantee that your humor will be well received. Recruiters don't get evaluated by their managers on how much humor the candidates said recruiters bring in have, unless these recruiters are specifically recruiting for standup comedians.

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