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Written by Susan ShorSusan Shor

When to add a photo to your CV

4 min read
When to attach a photo to your CV
Most of the time, job applications won’t require you to include a photo on your CV. There are, however, times you might need to! CVapp.ie is here to help you figure out whether it’s best to avoid or include a photo in your CV with our helpful guide.

If you don't know whether to attach a photo to your CV, it's usually a great idea to skip it. Why? Well, most of the time, employers don’t actually need to know what you look like.  They’re looking for a candidate with the right professional profile for the job role, which means that unless you’re applying for roles in industries such as modeling or acting, where physical appearance is important, it's usually best to avoid attaching photos to your CV. If you’ve linked professional websites such as LinkedIn, your photos will be visible to employers. While this is usually perfectly fine, as many employers ask for LinkedIn details, it’s important that any websites linked on your CV only show you in professional settings. Never include links to websites or social media that show you in unprofessional settings: it’ll only decrease your chances of employers reaching out to you. 

Why it’s best to only include photos when it’s absolutely necessary

Ultimately, it’s always best to let your experience do the talking. That’s why including a photo rarely increases your chances of getting hired: some employers may even find including a photo completely unnecessary. Additionally, there have been issues in the past with employers choosing candidates based on their own personal biases. Discrimination is never acceptable, and while most companies have anti-discrimination policies, we recommend doing your research on your employer and reading staff reviews about the company you’re applying to. You wouldn’t want to land the job just to discover you’re unhappy working there! Finally, Applicant Tracking Software, otherwise known as the ATS, can often omit your CV photo from being displayed at all. ATS is software or algorithms used by employers to shortlist the most qualified candidates. If you want to find out more on how to beat the ATS and get your CV noticed by employers, check out the CVapp.ie guides on our website! 

So when can I attach a photo to my CV?

There are times when attaching a photo to your CV is perfectly acceptable and sometimes expected. If you’re interacting with customers on a daily basis, e.g., if you’re applying for positions in customer service, sales, or other public-facing roles, including a photo can sometimes be beneficial. There are times when attaching a photo to your CV is perfectly acceptable and sometimes expected. For instance, if you're applying for positions that involve direct interaction with customers on a regular basis, such as customer service or sales roles, including a photo can sometimes be beneficial.

It’s always helpful to do some preliminary research before you start working on your CV. If you're applying for a job overseas, it's important to understand the cultural norms and expectations. In some places, recruiters may anticipate seeing a photo on your CV, whereas in other countries, it might be considered unnecessary. If you choose to include a photo, ensure it is recent, professionally taken, and unaltered. Headshots are typically preferred, so it's best to leave the selfies in your camera roll!

If you do include a photo, we have a ton of samples and examples on the CVapp.ie website! 

We’ve helped professionals all around the world secure their dream job roles, so trust us: we know a thing or two about how to best optimise your CV! 

In Ireland and the United Kingdom, most CVs don’t include photos, unless you’re applying for roles in public-facing industries, of course! It’s still important to know what employers expect, especially if you’re applying for a role overseas in countries that do expect photos, e.g., in Europe, Asia, or the Middle East. Don’t forget – research goes a long way: you can also reach out to recruiters in the areas you’re applying for and ask them about their expectations!

  • Take photos dressed in professional attire
  • Hire a professional photographer to take some great headshots of you
  • Ensure that your background is neutral-toned
  • Use a LinkedIn style photo – if you already have a professional LinkedIn photo, chances are you can go ahead and use it for your CV!
  • Upload a selfie. While selfies might help you show off your best angles, iPhones usually  usually aren’t the best at taking professional photos
  • Submit photos that are heavily filtered or feature excessive makeup or dramatic hairstyles. Simple and professional is always best!
  • Pull a funny face! Facial expressions should be neutral and mature – a little smile won’t hurt, but you should definitely avoid dramatic facial expressions
  • Submit a photo that takes up too much space on your CV
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