Should Your CV Have a Photo? - The Complete Guide – CV Nation

Should your CV have a photo?

Posted by Phillip Jewell on

The complete guide to whether you should include a picture on your CV or resume

Wondering whether you should add a photo to your CV or resume? This guide provides in-depth analysis of whether photos should be included on CVs.

There is a great deal of confusion regarding CV photos. CVs may or may not require a photo depending on the country in which you are pursuing jobs. As such CV, it’s important to learn about the standard practices of each country before you prepare your CV.


We’ve produced a table that states whether CVs and resumes should have photos on a country by country basis. This table will tell you if your CV should have a photo for job applications in over 30 countries.

Please note, this table is to be used as a guide. Certain professions require photos on CVs and resumes in all countries, which we will cover later in this guide. For example, acting resumes should include a photo whether the candidate is in the UK or the Middle East.

Use this table to learn about the standard practices for photos on CVs in the country in which you are seeking employment. Then use the information in this guide to find out if you’re in a profession that requires a photo on your CV.

You might be wondering if CVs and resumes have different respective rules regarding the inclusion of photos. Photo practices are exactly the same for CVs and resumes. There is no difference.


Country Should you include a photo on your CV?

United Kingdom

No

United States

No

Canada

No

Australia

No

Germany

Yes

Spain

Yes

Italy

Yes

Netherlands

No

Switzerland

Yes

Ireland

No

Belgium

Yes

Austria

Yes

Sweden

Yes

Denmark

Yes

Norway

Yes

Iceland

No

Russia

Optional

Finland

Yes

Cyprus

Yes

Malta

Yes

Greece

Yes

Ukraine

Yes

Japan

Yes

China

Yes

Portugal

Yes

Saudi Arabia

Yes

New Zealand

No

United Arab Emirates

Yes

Africa

Yes

Middle East

Yes


The debate about whether you should include a picture on your CV has been ongoing between career experts for quite some time. We’ve touched on the standard practices of each country in regards to photos on CVs. But some experts claim times are changing and photos should always be included on CVs, even in countries like the UK where they are not traditionally expected.

After all, we are now in the age of multimedia and LinkedIn. Recruiters can now view your photo on social media. Your LinkedIn profile is only a click away. As such, in most cases, candidates’ photos are always in reach, even if they are not included on CVs.

However, while LinkedIn is an important tool for job seekers – and photos are a big part of building your professional brand on the platform – CVs and LinkedIn are not one and the same. They both have different purposes.

LinkedIn is a platform where you can build relationships with company’s key decision-makers. Almost like Facebook, it’s about meeting new people.

Your CV has a completely different purpose. It’s a professional career document. It should highlight your key experiences and accomplishments, without attempting to ‘get to know’ the reader. CVs also shouldn’t paint a picture of your personality. There will be time to draw attention to your personality later in the application process.

When preparing your CV, it’s important to acknowledge this distinction between your CV and your LinkedIn profile. With this distinction in mind, consider whether a photo would have a positive or negative impact on your CV.

In some countries, you will be expected to include a photo. But in others, you will have a choice. So use our information in this guide to come to a decision about adding a photo to your CV based on the country you are looking for employment in.

United Kingdom, United States and Canada

In most cases, CVs for the United Kingdom, United States and Canada should not include a photo. This is largely due to anti-discrimination regulations.

Recruiters and hiring managers are very eager to ensure they don’t make recruitment decisions based on race, age, weight, disability and other sensitive details. If you decide to include a photo on your CV, you are drawing attention to these areas that are so sensitive in recruitment. This could potentially open the door to claims of rejection due to discrimination.

Because of this, some companies in the UK, the United States and Canada instantly reject CVs that are submitted with photos.

It’s also important to note that, we’re assuming, all recruiters are not perfect. You can’t be certain that the person who reads your CV will not adopt some form of prejudice against you. Some recruiters may be unconsciously biased against you after seeing your photo.

Of course, we expect this not to be the case. But we can never be certain.

To avoid running into potential problems, simply leave your photo off your CV. For most professions in the UK, US and Canada, they are not expected or wanted.

In any case, at this stage of the application process, you don’t want recruiters to be forming an opinion on your character and personality, which is what including a photo on your CV leads to. You want to impress them with your experiences, achievements and how you can add value to their company. Adding a picture to your CV isn’t going to help you accomplish this.

There are, of course, exceptions, which we will touch on later in this guide.

Ireland

As a rule of thumb, CVs and resumes for job applications in Ireland should not include a photo. There is some debate about this. Many people in Ireland do include photos on their CVs. But, in our experience, they are usually not necessary.

Unless specifically asked to include a photo on your CV, don’t include one to avoid negatively impacting your application.

If you’re pursuing jobs in Ireland, it would be beneficial to prepare two CVs. One with a photo and one without a photo. This way, you can submit your CVs in line with the requirements of each company with which you apply for employment.

Continental Europe

Recruiters in continental Europe - countries such as Spain, France, Portugal, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway - generally expect to see photos on your CV.

While CV photo practices in some of these countries are more relaxed, others always expect to see a professional photo of candidates on CVs.

For example, in Germany, photos on CVs are always expected. They are the norm, so you could be putting yourself at a disadvantage by not including one on your CV.

On the other hand, recruitment practices in Belgium are less clear when it comes to photos on CVs. We’ve known some recruiters in Belgium to request photos on CVs and some to specifically state that they do now want to see them. Despite this, most recruiters in Belgium do expect to see photos on CVs, in our experience.

For applications in all continental European countries, include a photo on your CV unless specifically asked not to. These countries include Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and France.

Netherlands

Photos are not necessary on CVs in the Netherlands. If you’re applying for jobs in Hollands, don’t add a photo to your CV unless you have been asked to.

Dutch CVs should be concise and polished, no more than two pages in length. You should use to-the-point writing. Don’t exaggerate your achievements. Be straight forward and write short, succinct sentences.

Scandinavia

In Denmark, Sweden and Norway it is completely normal to include a photo on your CV. When preparing your CV for jobs in these countries, you should add a professional, formal headshot.

In Iceland, photos on CVs are less common, but you can feel free to add a professional photo if you like. For job applications in Iceland, we recommend checking the individual recruitment requirements for each application. If a photo is not requested, don’t include one.

Australia

CVs in Australia should not include photos. While some job seekers in Australia do include photos on their CVs, and certain recruiters in the country do request photos, it is not a common practice. It’s advisable not to include photos on your CV in Australia unless specifically asked to.

As noted by Karalyn Brown – founder of the Interview IQ blog and former recruiter in Australia – including a photo on your CV can lead to discrimination.

She states: “When you put your photo on your resume you are inviting a recruiter with their own set of prejudices, to consider how you look, along with what you may have achieved”.

Middle East

CVs for job applications in the Middle East should include a photo, along with your personal information. Recruiters in the Middle East generally want to know much more about candidates than recruiters in Europe.

Along with your professional photo, details such as marital status, gender, date of birth and visa status should all be added to your CV.


Exceptions to the rule

There are some exceptions to these rules. In some cases, whether you should include a photo on your CV depends on your profession and the type of job you are applying for. Here are some professions that are exceptions to the rule:

Modelling – As a model, your photo represents your professional brand. You’re not going to get far with a modelling job application if the reader doesn’t know what you look like. So ensure to include a professional photo on your modelling CV.

Acting – As with modelling, an actor’s appearance is key. It represents who you are and speaks about what you can do as an actor. All acting CVs and resumes should include a photo.

Flight Attendant – Photos are standard on flight attendant or cabin crew CVs. Whatever country you are in, ensure to include a photo on your CV if you’re pursuing work as a flight attendant.

While this guide points out the standard practices for CV photos, many of these countries don’t have specific rules on whether or not you should add a photo to your CV. For example, in Russia, you can choose to go with or without a photo. It’s entirely up to you.

When applying for jobs in countries that don’t have clearly defined practices for photos on CVs, it’s always best to approach the issue on an individual application basis. Check the application instructions for each job you apply for. If a photo is requested, ensure to include one. If not, then err on the side of caution and remove your photo from your CV.


Where should a photo be placed on your CV?

If you do include a photo on your CV, position it in the top left corner. Ensure it is of adequate dimensions, not too small or too large. Around 3 inches by three inches are good dimensions to aim for.


What type of photo should you use on your CV?

Always use professional headshots. Wear professional attire that is relevant to the role you are applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a job as a business manager, wear a professional business suit. If you’re applying for a job as a flight attendant, it would be a good idea to wear your uniform.

Don’t use selfies on your CV. Selfies look unprofessional and could negatively impact your job applications. If you’re serious about preparing an effective CV, you may want to consider hiring a professional photographer to capture the perfect headshot.


Conclusion

There is no simple answer to the question of whether your CV should have a photo. It depends on the country you are applying for jobs in. If you’re in the UK, the US or Canada, you should avoid photos, but in continental Europe it’s usually standard to add a photo to your CV.

If you would like further help or would like our CV writers to help you prepare a professional CV, feel free to get in touch with us.


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