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Should I Include a Photo in my CV?




We often get sent CV’s with photos in, candidates think by including them they are showing a professional appearance, the face behind the words in the CV and that it maybe builds a connection with the Recruiter.

In fact the opposite is often true so every time we receive a CV with a photograph and if our client is UK based we tell them (nicely) to remove it and here’s the reasons why.





I recently set up a poll on LinkedIn and asked the question should you include a photo and the resounding response was a 78% no. It's not just my LinkedIn connections who don't want to see your well practiced selfie pout or smile that you're hoping makes you approachable. A short google search and you will find that up to 88% of recruiters are likely to reject your CV because of it.

There are obvious exceptions - if you are applying for a job as a model for example. Luckily for most of us you don’t need to be the face of the Levi’s ad to work in HR, Project Management, Finance or Operations.

If you include a photo on your CV according to theundercoverrecruiter.com 98% of Recruiters will take you less seriously than if you omitted the photo from your CV. Including your photo really isn’t necessary, unless you like the idea of your CV being passed around the Recruiters office for fun.

If that isn’t enough of a reason to leave the Recruiter guessing what you look like, at least until the interview here’s a few more:

Including your Photo opens up the opportunity for bias.

In the UK the Equality Act governs many aspects of employment including the recruitment process. If you include your photo on your CV you are allowing the Recruiter to rule you out of their selection process purely based on your looks, age, race, gender and more.

The recruitment process can be fraught with unconscious bias, so the person is being biased towards or against you without even knowing they are doing it. By including your photo you are allowing one of the forms of unconscious bias to take over.


One of the forms of unconscious bias is that we look for reasons a person is like us and this impacts how positively we feel about them. So unless you know you look like the Recruiters long lost twin, you’re giving them an opportunity to sift you out without even looking at the contents of your CV.

If you think this is harsh, a recruiter looks at a CV on average for 10-12 seconds before making a decision to shortlist you, by adding a photo that 10 seconds is spent looking at your photo and not at the skills and abilities you've listed in the CV.

Your Photo takes up valuable space.

The space at the top of your CV that your photo takes up could be used for a thousand words, well not quite, but you get what we mean. Rather than include your photo you could create a brief skills section that details up to 12 key skills. This will quickly show the Recruiter how you match the skills they are in dire need of.



If your CV is scanned by an Applicant Tracking System a photo can cause problems

If you post your CV to a jobsite or apply via their website, the chances are your CV will be scanned by an applicant tracking system. This technology scans the text of your CV and if it contains photos, images or shading this won’t get scanned. At best your carefully chosen smile may just get deleted, at worst it could see your CV hitting the auto reject pile because the technology can’t read the image.

If you’ve never heard of an Applicant Tracking System and want to find out more click here to download our free guide. It explains what ATS is, how it works and how to format your CV to give you the best chance of getting that all important interview.

Recruiters will search for you on LinkedIn.

73% of recruiters will take a peak at your LinkedIn profile as part of their recruitment process, this is the appropriate place for your photo. With the above in mind here’s a few tips to ensure your LinkedIn profile picture helps not hinders your job search.

Make sure your photo:

● Only has you in it

● Is of good quality resolution

● Has your face fully visible

● Shows you in a professional light and with a smile

For more helpful hints and tips on how to improve your CV and increase your chances of getting that all important interview, follow us on LinkedIn or sign up to our newsletter to get the a free CV hints and tips document and regular tips direct to your inbox.


*The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Snow Limits Coaching disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.

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