Should you include a CV photo? Here’s everything you need to know.

Should I include a photo of myself on my CV?

I’m applying for a position in the UK. Is it professional to include my photo in my CV? — Emily G.

Answer:

While it was once standard practice to include a CV picture, employers in the UK no longer expect candidates to include this information with job applications. The only exceptions to this rule would be professionals who are pursuing acting or modeling roles. In fact, thanks to anti-discrimination laws in the UK, some companies outside of the entertainment industry automatically disregard CVs that contain photos to avoid potential discrimination allegations.

The United Kingdom is not alone in adopting this practice. If you are applying for a job in any of the following geographic areas, you should not include a photo of yourself with your CV:

  • Africa

  • Israel

  • India

  • Australia

  • Canada

  • Mexico

  • United States

However, there are other places across the globe where employers still expect candidates to include a CV photo, including:

  • Member countries in the European Union (EU)

  • Latin America (e.g. Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Argentina), with the exception of Mexico

  • Southeast Asia (e.g. Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam)

  • Middle East, especially in the UAE, where the photo is considered to be a crucial part of a job application

If you are applying for a job in a country where a CV picture is still considered a standard part of the job application, follow the same guidelines you would when selecting a photo for your LinkedIn profile. When deciding which CV image to use, keep the following attributes in mind:

  • Professional grade: The selfie you took during last weekend’s pub crawl is not suitable for your CV. Opt for a professional-looking photo that will complement your application, rather than damage it. If you’re short on funds, or simply not interested in investing in a professional headshot, ask a mate who owns a decent camera to take a picture of you in a well-lit area and with a simple backdrop that won’t compete with your face for attention.

  • Relevant: Select a current photo of yourself ‒ and only yourself. Employers won’t look kindly on family photos or other group shots, or pictures that are a decade old. Your picture should reflect what you look like now.

  • Appropriate: Your attire in the photo should reflect the industry you’re pursuing. When selecting your wardrobe, think about what you would wear to an interview. If in doubt, dress more conservatively than you would for a regular day at the office.

  • Cropped: Your photo should be a headshot, rather than a full-length body shot. Aim for your face to take up approximately 60 per cent of the frame. Crop the image from just below the top of your shoulders to just above your head so that the emphasis is placed on your face.

Has it been a while since you last updated your CV? Make sure your application will pass muster with today’s employers by requesting a free CV evaluation.

Amanda Augustine is a certified professional career coach (CPCC) and resume writer (CPRW) and the resident career expert for Talent Inc.’s suite of brands: TopResume, TopCV and TopInterview. On a regular basis, she answers user questions like the one above. Have a question? Have a look at our career advice or ask a question on our Quora page.

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