Photograph on your CV?

In France it is still very common to include a photograph on your CV. Should you be doing this, and will you harm your chances of being called back if your CV does not have a photograph on it?

My view is that including a photograph on your CV as standard is not a good thing. You want the content of your CV, ie. your professional experience and qualifications, to be the most eye-catching thing on your résumé. However good people’s intentions are, and however much they will deny it, Recruiters and HR Managers will still make Yes or No judgements based on what you look like. People discriminate, whether consciously or not. Make them discriminate in person, at a job interview, when you are able to prove their preconceived judgements to be false.

In today’s world of social media, if a Recruiter or HR Manager is that desperate to see what you look like before deciding to call you in for an interview, they will probably be able to find a picture of you on the internet anyway – your profile pictures on Viadeo, Linkedin and Facebook are often accessible to them if they look. But don’t make it easy for them by putting a photo on your CV. Don’t let them treat your CV like they would a potential date on Tinder.

If a job advertisement specifies that you must include a photograph, do two things. Firstly, ask yourself why. If you are satisfied with your answer and you still want to apply, make sure that the photograph is appropriate for a CV. Have a photograph professionally taken if possible (this is surprisingly cheap – expect to pay less than €10), and make sure that you are wearing clothes that would be appropriate for work. This usually means smart business attire. A head and shoulders shot will suffice, but make sure it doesn’t look like a mug shot or a passport photograph.

The best (or worst) photographs that I have seen on CVs I can still remember vividly: an Accountant that had taken his own picture whilst driving an open-topped sports car on the motorway. An Executive Assistant in a sort of military fancy dress outfit – completely crackers. And then a picture of an extremely scary and intense looking lady that had been photoshopped to make her appear to be a sort of sinister, digital clown version of what she probably actually looked like. It is just possible that all of these people could have been fantastic candidates who were absolutely perfect for my jobs. I never found out, because I didn’t call them back.


David Greaves.


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