Category Archive CV tips

Should I put a photograph on a CV?

You have carefully crafted the perfect CV and you wonder, should I put a photograph on a CV?

A photo seems like it would add visual interest and they can be found on many CV templates. However, the simple answer is no, you should not put a photo on a CV (with a couple of exceptions).

Why not put a photograph on a CV?

We live in a highly visual age, where photos are widespread and we are regularly exposed to images of people. With this in mind, you took a great headshot. You are smiling, looking confident and you are wearing your sharpest professional attire. You have seen photos on CVs online and it seems like an obvious choice to include one.

As with all aspects of preparing your application documents, it’s vital to think about the reader (i.e., the employer or recruiter). We need to consider how they will interpret your photo and the specific benefit to securing the job.

The simple fact is that recruiters, HR personnel and hiring managers are all human. Despite their very best intentions and awareness of such issues, putting a photograph on a CV can result in unconscious bias on the part of the reader.

This refers to the unconscious or automated process of making decisions, where our brains make rapid judgements influenced by preconceptions associated with factors such as social background, culture, or personal experience.1

Consider a newspaper or other text-rich document, with one photo on the page. Particularly if it is a person, your eye will be immediately drawn to the image. Before the employer has read a word of your CV, your photo may have unintentionally coloured their judgement. This can be the case regardless of your personal appearance, characteristics, or how good the photo is. Instead, your CV should only focus on the skills, qualifications and expertise relevant to the job.

When should you put a photo on a CV?

There are a couple of exceptions to the above. You should put a photo on a CV or application when the selection process specifically requests you to do so. This is the case with a limited number of professions where personal appearance is a facet of the role. The other exception is where you are applying for positions outside of Ireland, where there may be a convention of including a photograph on a CV. Check with local recruiters if in doubt.

If you are required to put a photo on your CV, follow these key tips:

  • Wear professional attire and ensure you are well groomed.
  • Show head / shoulders or upper body only (unless otherwise specified).
  • Smile and face the camera directly.
  • Ensure a neutral or professional background.
  • Crop the photo neatly, ensure it is clear, and the size fits cleanly into your CV design.
  • Do not use photos that partially or fully include other people or anything distracting (i.e., no personal type photos with alcohol visible, holiday snaps etc.)

For more information or to have your CV reviewed by a professional CV writer, contact The CV Agency at or call us in Dublin on +35314991466


Is it worth using a professional CV writer?

Using the services of a professional CV writer has become increasingly common in the employment market, which gives a competitive advantage to those with a professional CV and cover letter. It means their CV has been designed and written by an expert CV writer who understands how employers and recruitment agencies review CVs and how they reject poor applications. It is well worth investing in professional CV, as a professional CV writer’s insight can be critical in winning an invitation to interview.

Employing a professional CV writer to make an effective CV and cover letter is suitable for candidates at all stages of their career journey and throughout every employment sector. It is a particularly suitable option for candidates in these situations:

Who should use a CV writing service?

1. No existing CV

It can be daunting to find yourself in a situation where you suddenly need a CV for a role and have no experience in terms of what is required to sell yourself. In this situation, a professional CV writer can eliminate the risk of submitting a poorly prepared CV by writing the ideal CV for you.

2. An out-of-date CV

One of the most common reasons people make contact with a professional CV writer is to help them improve an out-of-date or outmoded CV or cover letter. A CV may lack the most recent experience and skills, be missing a contemporary presentation, or be focused on areas that are no longer relevant to a person’s career level or aspirations.

3. Refinement

Minor details can have a big impact when an employer is reviewing a CV. Many candidates with existing CVs use a professional CV writer to make precise refinements, where the CV writer can bring their wealth of expertise in producing top-class CVs to give an existing CV a competitive edge.

4. Graduates / Early Career

Employing a professional CV writer can be especially useful for graduates at the beginning of their career journey. When considering an internship, graduate programme, or travelling abroad for work, a specialist writer can play a crucial role in supporting a graduate in their early career.

5. New to the Irish employment market

CVs prepared outside of the Irish market may not be suitable for use when applying for jobs in Ireland. A local, professional CV writer can be extremely beneficial in supporting candidates to localise their CV and cover letter and help them avoid key mistakes.

For further information or advice about your CV contact The CV Agency on or 01 499 1466, or click here to order a CV, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile.

Christmas Job Hunting

A common misconception among those on the hunt for a new job is that recruiters and employers are not hiring in November and December and it is best to leave the job search until the New Year. While there is no denying that things do shut down Christmas week itself, the run up to Christmas can in fact be a very busy period for jobs and Christmas job hunting is recommended.

Companies are planning for the year ahead and many will wish to have someone new lined up for a January start date. With a common notice period of one month, this means getting the recruitment process completed pre-Christmas.

With a lot of candidates switched off, there is a big advantage for candidates who are Christmas job hunting and still active and alert to opportunities. Employers are often in good spirits, more available, and reflecting on their business needs as the year comes to an end. Christmas is an ideal opportunity to be proactive, make new connections or reignite old ones that could be useful for your job search.

Christmas is a perfect time to get your CV, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile in order. Contact the CV Agency on or 01 499 1466 for professional assistance or see our services.

The Graduate CV: 3 Top Tips

A graduate CV is very similar to other types of CVs in its fundamental requirements. Like all CVs, they should be carefully designed, well written and concise, with a good layout and a clear message.

Unfortunately, after countless hours labouring over essays, projects, and exams, many graduates fall at the final hurdle when it comes to writing their CV. The result of this is that otherwise excellent graduates do not get the opportunity they deserve.

Here are thee top tips from our senior CV writer about writing a graduate CV:

1. Enthusiasm

It is absolutely essential to show a potential employer you are enthusiastic about joining them. Make it clear in your CV and cover letter that you are passionate, motivated, and eager to be a part of their team. Even a candidate with no work experience can impress an employer if they are fully engaged and hungry to succeed.

2. Detail

The devil is in the detail when it comes to a graduate CV. Many graduates will simply include the most basic details, while omitting crucial facts that will give them the edge when it comes to getting called for interview. Be sure to include relevant experience from any internships, part-time work, courses, and extracurricular activities.

3. Focus

While you may be considering different career choices when you graduate, employers want to see that you are fully committed to working with them and 100% focused on that career. Your graduate CV should be clearly focused on the job you are targeting and avoid any statements which may give rise to doubt about your aspirations.

Not sure if your graduate CV is strong enough? Send your CV to and we will review it for free.

How to Write a Great CV

One of the most challenging aspects of filling a job vacancy is dealing with a high volume of CVs. It can be difficult to decide who to interview if there are a number of equally good candidates. It can also be tricky to give lengthy consideration to a CV if you have a stack of applications in your inbox. So, the question is, how to write a CV that cuts through the competition?

In the case of employers, particularly if it is a small company where there is no specialist HR or recruitment function, the individual hiring for the role may have limited time to spend on the task. Recruitment consultants see a very high volume of CVs every day and are adept at making a judgement within seconds. They will often be looking for negatives to rule out candidates and make their decision easier.

How do you write a CV that will grab attention in seconds and avoid a quick rejection? One of the best pieces of advice for any candidate writing a CV or cover letter is to put yourself into the shoes of the person who will be reading it and make it an easy choice for them to call you for interview.

Ask yourself questions such as:

  • Does my experience, qualifications, and skills match the requirements in the job specification?
  • Are there spelling mistakes or unexplained gaps that make it easy for them to reject my CV?
  • Is my CV clear and easy to read?
  • Is the layout logical, starting with my most recent position?
  • Have I explained what I actually did in previous roles?
  • Have I highlighted my key skills and achievements?
  • Does my CV show the reader who I am or is it bland and generic?

Whether you are a school-leaver or a seasoned professional, a great CV is one that is clear, concise, sells your skills and achievements, and shows an employer what you have to offer.

Keep it simple and to the point and make sure to include the following:

  • Basic contact information
  • A profile
  • Education and qualifications
  • Work experience
  • Key skills

A CV is a marketing document and as such it needs to be confident and targeted. We are often our own hardest critics and it can feel a little awkward promoting yourself. However, you can be certain that other candidates will be telling the employer how great they are, so make sure your CV sells you.

For further information or advice about your CV contact The CV Agency on or 01 499 1466, or click here to order a CV, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile.

The Top 5 Reasons a CV is Rejected

Here are some of the key reasons a CV is rejected:

Spelling mistakes

Spelling mistakes in a CV are a red flag to any employer or recruiter. They show poor attention to detail and a lack of care and consideration. Even with spelling and grammar checking enabled on a word processor, taking a few extra minutes to read through your CV to make sure it is correct can be invaluable.

Poor layout

It is an unfortunate truth that many recruiters spend mere seconds looking at a CV. If it is not well laid out and to the point an otherwise good candidate can be overlooked. Not structuring a CV in a way that is easy to read and understand quickly, using confusing dates, or not putting information in reverse chronological order are common mistakes.

Too little or too much information

Your CV should have sufficient detail to highlight your skills, experience, and education in a concise way. If a CV is too short it may lack detail about what you actually did in your previous roles or what your achievements were. Conversely, an excessively long CV is equally off-putting and challenging for an employer to digest and compare to other applicants.

Vague or generic statements

Specifics are absolutely critical when writing a CV. Give actual examples of your skills and achievements and exact details of what you did. Generic statements not evidenced by experience or education will result in a CV that does not stand out and is easily disregarded by an employer. It is one of the key reasons a CV is rejected.

Unexplained gaps in your history

There is nothing inherently negative about having a gap in employment or education. The main thing an employer or recruiter wants to see is that the period of time can be accounted for in some way (for example, taking a career break to travel or raise a family). Employers like to have the full picture before calling a candidate for interview and leaving a lengthy gap in your work history will raise questions about what you were doing during that period of time.

For further information or advice about your CV contact The CV Agency on or 01 499 1466