You have carefully crafted the perfect CV and you wonder, should I put a photo on my 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 your CV (with a couple of exceptions).
Why not put a photo 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, including a photo 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 include a photo on a CV?
There are a couple of exceptions to the above. You should put a photo on your 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 photo on your CV. Check with local recruiters if in doubt.
If you are required to put a photo on your CV, follow these key tips:
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 often be tricky to give lengthy consideration to a CV if you have a stack of applications in your inbox.
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 make a great 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:
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:
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 email@example.com or 01 499 1466, or click here to order a CV, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile.
The length of your CV is important as many recruiters and employers will spend a very short amount of time considering your application. You need to get your message across in a succinct way, while providing sufficient detail to highlight your key experience, qualifications and attributes.
Keeping your CV short and sweet can be challenging for experienced professionals. However, a CV consisting of reams of pages is off-putting for employers, so try and stay focused on your most relevant experience. Conversely, a CV that is too short may lack detail and fail to properly showcase all you have to offer. Aim for two or three pages at most.