Minnie Iu

Using photos on your CV; do or don’t?  

This week Minnie Iu our Office Manager and Marketing Specialist gives her tips on whether to include or not include a picture on your CV.  

Do employers prefer seeing a portrait?  

It has been a long-debated question whether photos of the applicant should be included in their CV. There is no single black and white rule about whether photos should be included, and employers of different countries may have polar differing opinions on this topic.  

In the eyes of the employer, including a photo provides a more well-rounded image of the candidate prior to arranging for an interview. Furthermore, it may set the applicant’s CV apart from the rest of the candidates and act as a touch of personalization on the profile. For example, the HR department may be more interested in the candidate after seeing a photo with an accommodating smile.  

Why not?  

It is said that an image speaks a thousand words and a profile photo certainly provides a lot of detail. Some may even argue that photos in CVs reveal too much personal information, such as an approximate guess for race, age and nationality. Companies often do not want to risk being accused of discrimination when deciding who is a prospective candidate. As a result, CVs may be not considered in certain cases when a photo is included. On top of this, if it had been decided that a photo is to be added, it should be professional for the best outcome. An unprofessional image may affect how you are being projected to employers even before the actual interview. Some employers may even say that there shouldn’t be a need to see the photo for the job, unless it is in the acting or modelling industry.  

The sciences of a photo… 

A study from Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Neger shows that in Israel where it is far more common to include a photo in a CV, men considered locally attractive were 50% more likely to land a job interview, however women who are considered attractive were actually less likely to get a response than those who were average or even those who didn’t include a photo. Professor Ruffle who had conducted this research states that the penalization may be due to “female jealousy of attractive women in the workplace”.  

How should you decide?  

The biggest key factor to take into account is the country the job takes place in, as well as the origin country of the company.  

DO include photos:  

  • Most European countries (except UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland, Germany)  
  • China  
  • Japan  
  • Korea  

Photos are usually expected from candidates in Asian countries. There are no specific laws to stop companies from requesting photos. In contrary to some Western countries, the applications may not be considered at all in case of no attached profile photo.  

DON’T include photos:  

  • U.S.A.  
  • Canada  
  • United Kingdom  
  • Germany  
  • Australia 

There are strict laws in these countries that limit the employer from requesting any photos from the candidate in case of discrimination against anything from a candidate’s facial features, age or background. To avoid these discrimination claims, the applications with photos may be completely discarded.  

No strict rules?  

If you are applying in a country with no strict general rules about whether there should or should not be a photo included. For example, in Hong Kong which is currently a Special Administrative Region of China, there are still remnants from its time as a past colony of Britain. In this case, it follows neither of the stricter rules about photos from either country.  

Try to assess whether it is suitable to include a photo. The ultimate decision lies with you, however it remains a good idea to keep in mind of the type of company they will be applying to as well as company history. In case the employer asks for a photo in the CV, the candidate should include a professional portrait.  

Tips for a good CV photo for general recruitment agencies  

These are a general rule of thumb when applying to general recruitment agencies. In case of application for a creative position such as a designer or a creative director, these rules would usually not apply as CV’s would better act as a showcase of creative skill sets.  

  • DO NOT include “selfies” or lifestyle photos you have taken of yourself 
  • DO get photos professionally taken at a studio 
  • Include the photo on the top right corner of the CV, the photo should be around the size of a passport photo  
  • Wear a professional outfit instead of casual wear (usually sported in passport photos)  
  • Refrain from taking photos at a Photo Booth because it may cost a lot before the perfect photo can be achieved and there will be no professional to advise you 

For more CV writing tips listen to our podcast from our David Valks Business Manager from our Become Sydney and Brisbane office in Australia  ‘Common Mistakes That Job Seekers Make ’https://www.becomerecruitment.com/blog/2019/01/common-mistakes-that-jobseekers-make