Photographs on a CV

47649What does a photograph of yourself on a CV tell a prospective employer about you? It can say one of two things; firstly you want to be judged on your appearance and not on your qualifications or employment history. Secondly, it gives the employer the impression that you’re vain and rely on your physical attributes to get you a job rather than other important factors like your skills and achievements.

On the contrary, rejecting someone purely on the basis of their appearance is harsh and sometimes unfair but unfortunately that’s the reality of the recruitment process. We’re humans after all and as a consequence can be extremely judgmental. We can form opinions and views about people within a matter of seconds based on the way they look. This can often lead to prejudice and discrimination. We often do this without even realizing that we’re doing it.

Who is to say employers are any different, they already have a mental image of who they want to fill a certain role. If that person’s face doesn’t fit the job, then there’s every chance that their CV will go straight in the bin.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom, there are certain exceptions to this rule and I would only include a photo on a CV for one of two reasons:

  • You’re applying for a job where the employer has specifically requested that you include a photograph.
  • You’re applying for a job in a profession/occupation that normally requires you to provide a photograph i.e. modelling or acting.

If this is the case and you’ve been asked explicitly to provide a photo then try to follow the guidelines below:

  • One of the main reasons why you shouldn’t include a photograph on a CV is because they don’t photocopy to well. If you do include one, make sure it’s not recycled or a mug shot of you on holiday with a pair of Ray Ban’s on.
  • The quality and size of your photograph is important so make sure it’s taken by a professional. Passport size photographs are fine as long as they meet the minimum size and quality criteria.

A picture paints a thousand words – dress appropriately and make sure you look presentable. Look positive and smile. Remember, having a smile on your face as opposed to a grin tells the employer that you’re approachable and friendly – someone oozing confidence.