If you are applying for a job in the UK, USA or Europe you should not usually include a photograph of yourself in your CV in the majority of cases.
However, there are some exceptional circumstances, countries and professions where it could benefit you to add your photo to your CV.
In this guide, I will examine all the variables involved in CV photos, so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not you should add a photograph to your own CV.
Are photos needed on a CV?
In my opinion as somebody who has worked in recruitment for many years, I don’t believe that photographs are necessary in a CV for the following two reasons:
1. Employers should not be judging your appearance
Most recruiters do not care what you look like. And that’s not a bad thing. They just want to know if you are suitable for the job you have applied to, and usually your appearance will not affect that.
Hiring decisions should be made purely on a candidate’s ability to perform the job they are applying for – your looks should not be a factor in whether or not you get a job. If you have the right skills and knowledge to carry out a job, your appearance will not change that – I believe this is the reason why the vast majority of employers and recruiters do not expect to see a photo on CVs.
2. Photos waste space on your CV
As a photograph will not add any value to your application, adding it your CV will simply waste precious space on the document. Ideally you should keep your CV length to around 2 pages, so if you have a large photo of yourself taking up a lot of room – you are losing space that could have been better used to write about things that recruiters want to know about, like your skills, experience, qualifications and achievements.
Which countries do not need to see a photo on your CV?
Often, the decision to include a photo in your CV or not will come down to the country or region you are applying in. If you are applying overseas, it’s always best to research their CV/resume customs before you start applying.
Generally speaking, the following countries would not expect you to include a photo of yourself in your CV.
In the UK photographs are not commonly used in CVs and employers will not normally expect or request them. If applying for jobs in the UK its best not to include a photo on your CV.
CV photo customs vary across Europe, with some countries favouring them and others not. It’s best to research the exact country you are applying to, but if in doubt, don’t include a photo.
If you are applying in US or Canada, most employers will not want to see your photograph on your CV or resume.
Australia & New Zealand
In Australia and New Zealand there is a growing trend for job seekers including a photo in their CVs, but it is not a requirement from employers, so you do not need to. Again, it’s best to research into the region you are applying and maybe even asking recruiters.
Which countries prefer to see a photo on your CV?
In the following countries, you could actually benefit from adding your photo to your CV.
In some middle-eastern countries such as Dubai and Saudi Arabia it is very common for CVs to include a photo of the job seeker. Whilst this might not be a strict requirement, it certainly seems to be expected of in some countries, so it would be best include a photo when applying to jobs in the Middle East.
Similar to the Middle-East, photographs on CVs are very popular amongst Asian job seekers, so it may be worth including one when applying here. Speak to recruiters in your chosen country before making the decision.
Which industries like to see photographs on your CV?
If you are applying to jobs in banking, HR or finance, then it’s unlikely that a photograph of yourself will have any effect on your success. But there are some industries where looks are important, and therefore adding a photograph to your CV is almost essential.
- Acting – In the world of stage and screen, casting directors will often request people who have a certain “look”. They might want masculine looking actor, or an actress with piercing blue eyes.
- Modelling – Landing a modelling job is entirely based on a persons look and physique, so it’s vital to have a photo on your CV in this field.
How to include a photo on your CV?
If you find yourself applying to a profession or country that require you to have a photograph of yourself on your CV, use the following tips to ensure it makes the right impression and take up minimal space on the document.
Where to put a photograph on your CV
To make the most of the limited space available on your CV, tuck your photo into the top left or right corner (above your profile) and squeeze it down to a size that allows you to be seen clearly, but doesn’t take up too much room.
Ideally you should list your name and contact details to the side of the photo, to make the most of the space created by inserting it.
What kind of photo to put on your CV (tips)
If you want your photo to make a good impression on recruiters, do the following when taking or choosing the picture:
- Wear work-related clothing – Dress as you would if you were going to work, this will give a professional and suitable appearance
- Include your head and shoulders – To get a good shot of your entire face (+ some of your clothing)
- Look at the camera – Look towards the camera to build a connection with the viewer
What photos to avoid putting in your CV?
To avoid looking unprofessional and putting recruiters off, avoid the following;
- Don’t cover your face – You want recruiters to see who you are, so don’t cover your face with hair, sunglasses or anything else
- Don’t use a random photo from Facebook – Your CV is a professional document, so don’t include a photo of yourself from a night out at the bar with your friends cropped out – it will not create the right impression.
- Don’t take a selfie – Selfies look slightly awkward and won’t allow you to strike a relaxed professional pose – get s friend or family member to take the photo.
Why do some people want to include photos on CVs?
Whilst the majority of employers will not expect to see a photograph on a CV, there are some reasonable arguments for candidates wanting to add a photo to theirs.
- Connect with people – If a recruiter sees a photograph of you on your CV, it could help them to see more of the “person behind the CV” and start to build more a personal connection with you – similar to having a profile picture on a social platform like LinkedIn.
- Build a personal brand – For somebody using their CV for more business-focused reasons, having a photograph on their CV can help them become more recognisable in their field – this doesn’t apply to most job seekers though.
- Demonstrate a professional appearance – Having a photograph on your CV could be used as means of showing employers that you look smart and professional, which is arguably quite important in many jobs. For example, if you worked in a traditional industry like banking, you could pose in a suit and tie to show that you have the right attire for the job.
Should you include a photo in your CV?
In most cases you do not need to include a photo on your CV because they simply add no value to an application and they waste space. However, if you are in a country or industry where a photo is required, then make sure it looks professional and takes up minimal space.