Include a photo or not?

What are the pros and cons of using a photo of yourself in your CV? Does it have an added value for recruiters or not?


“Is it really necessary?” That’s the first question you should ask yourself when you think about attaching a photo to your CV. While some job offers demand it explicitly, others leave it up to you.

A StepStone survey revealed that about 45% of recruiters don’t think there’s any need for a photo on a CV. If you do choose to send one however – to make your CV stand out, for example – here are our five golden rules to help you choose the right picture.

Don’t use a holiday or other informal photo

A photo of you on the beach in your best swimming costume will perhaps make the recruiter smile, but is not really the best way to make a good impression. Remember that you are trying to find a job, and your future employer is looking for someone professional. It’s better to use a passport-style photo, taken against a neutral background.

Prefer a neutral photo

The impact of including a photo on your CV can be huge, even if it is only an ID picture. The person who sees it will automatically form an opinion of you. Your hair, clothes, jewellery and even your glasses can unintentionally reveal information about your personality, and at best can give a false impression. You should therefore opt for a neutral picture, avoiding extravagant or eccentric clothing and jewellery.

Look professional

Your photo must show the recruiter that you are professional, the same way you would at the face-to-face interview. Make sure you look the same on the picture and at the interview. If you’re going to wear a suit at the interview, use a photo of you in a suit, or at least a smart shirt.

Dare to smile

A neutral photo and professional look do not mean you have to seem boring and overly serious. It’s recommended that you smile at the interview, and the same applies to your CV picture. The logic is simple: with a spontaneous smile, you show your best side. You’ll look much nicer and the recruiter will see in you someone warm and human.

Do not forget your profile pictures on the internet

Remember that employers often browse the internet to find additional info about candidates. So pay careful attention to the photos you put on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter – and especially on LinkedIn, which is seen primarily as a tool for professional networking. If you post a photo on your profile, follow the same rules as for the photo on your CV. Remember too that some recruiters will take a look at your Facebook profile, even if you use this platform only for private purposes. You may want to check the privacy settings of your account … and watch out for silly pictures!

We hope the above tips will help you choose the right photo. In any case, photo or not, it’s the content of your CV that prevails.