CV Breakdown: Profile Picture - Part 1 - Should You Add a Profile Picture to Your CV

CV Breakdown: Profile Picture - Part 1 - Should You Add a Profile Picture to Your CV


Ah, the age old question, to pose or not to pose? While some elements of compiling a CV are crystal clear, there's never really been a comprehensive answer on whether to include a photo or not and there are a lot of good reasons for this.

Embedded cultural norms could be a factor in play, for example, in many mainland European countries it's standard to include a photo on all applications, whilst in the UK and US it's not something we see very frequently.

The sides both for and against a picture each have their vocal advocates but the decision will ultimately be up to you, you'll have to weigh up the pros and cons and go on a case by case basis.

That's why we've listed some of the arguments for and against adding a photo to your CV and we'll cover exactly how to take that perfect picture in part two of this short series.

Arguments for yes

It could be a cultural convention to attach a picture when applying for a job, do some research depending on which country you're applying in to see if one is needed.

A good picture could make your application more memorable, by putting a face to the name a recruiter may be able to more easily reference you should you go to the next stage of the application process.

It could be useful depending on the type of job, and We're not just talking about your aspiring model career here. As CVs evolve candidates are updating them in more interesting ways to stand out, particularly in creative industries like design and photography.

Whether you decide to use a picture on your CV or not, you're definitely going to need one for your LinkedIn profile, portfolio or other online platform where your work is displayed. Adding the picture to the CV can tie things together and give you a consistent professional brand.

Arguments for no

Pictures tend to invoke an immediate response in the viewer meaning a photo could backfire if a recruiter takes a disliking to your appearance. It can be impossible to judge how someone is going to react to a photo and adds an extra risk you didn't need.

Adding a picture may also unintentionally fall foul of discimination laws. This is particularly true in the United States where it is prohibited for employers to ask for pictures at the application stage. This means if you add one you might get an auto-rejection as employers play it safe to avoid any accusations of discriminating on race, gender or other identifying feature seen in a picture.

A picture also doesn't help an employer assess whether you have the skills for the job and can take up very valuable space in a CV where additional skills or experience could have been added.

High quality pictures can create large file sizes or cause application portals or email filtering systems to reject it. The job application portal may also convert files into plain text and pictures can cause issues here.


Although attitudes are slowly changing in relation to inclusion of pictures on CVs, as it currently stands our advice is to err on the side of caution on placing pictures directly on your CV. It's best to only add a picture when specifically asked for one or in countries where a picture is the cultural norm.

As an alternative, in the contact details section of your CV you should always link to your professional social media accounts such as LinkedIn. It's highly likely an employer was going to run a google search on you anyway so you might as well direct them to a clean profile with a high quality picture!

In part two of this short series we'll tell you exactly how you can take the perfect professional picture for just such an occasion.

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