Are Emojis Safe for Work?

Debra Wheatman
Marketing News
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Key Takeaways

​What? Emojis have become a ubiquitous part of our digital communication.

So what? But they still reside in a realm of informality not right for the workplace.

Now what? In professional settings, use traditional characters to say what you mean.


This year new ground was broken when The Oxford Dictionaries declared the “Word of the Year” not a word, but an emoji—part of the now-ubiquitous language of images used in place of words in texts, e-mails and on social media. What does that mean for the future of written communication? There was a steep rise in emoji use over the past year alone. It is clear that the emoji has crossed into the mainstream, but will this make it acceptable to use emojis in other forms of communication? 

As a résumé writer and career strategist, I wonder if résumés will evolve to the point that emojis will be acceptable. After all, one of the primary objectives of a résumé is to communicate in a concise manner, and a picture does paint a thousand words. What shows more passion and enthusiasm for a job than the “smiling” emoji? Emojis might also become a tool for hiring managers to evaluate potential employees, since they can be a very direct way of accepting or rejecting candidates, ranging from the “thumbs up” to the “thumbs down” emoji. And should you decide to reject a job offer, there is always the “walking” emoji.  

On the record, I must advise you that as of today, emoji, emoticons and other graphic characters are not acceptable on résumés. Adopting emojis will give the impression that you are immature and not familiar with current résumé standards. If you are serious about getting a job, skip the emoji.

I admit that times are changing. It is not inconceivable that emojis or something similar will make their way into mainstream business communications, including résumés. I will be on stand-by with my “open hands” emoji waiting for that day.

Author Bio:

Debra Wheatman
Debra Wheatman is president of Careers Done Write, a career development service. She possesses both Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Professional Career Coach designations, and has more than 18 years of corporate human resource experience.​
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