Should you attach your photo to your CV?

‘Should I attach my photo to my CV?’ This is a question we often get asked when reviewing CVs, so let’s get an answer!

Traditionally, the experts always said: ‘no you shouldn’t’, but 2016 has been a bad year for experts (See expert predictions for the Brexit referendum or US Presidential Elections). So to help you make up your own mind, let’s weigh-up the pros and cons.


The Pros & Cons

Pro: It’s not like your photo isn’t out there already. Many employers like to view your social media profiles (particularly LinkedIn or Facebook) before selecting for interview. So they could see your photo anyway, even if it’s not on your CV.

Con: Potential discrimination. If you included your photo on your CV, an unscrupulous employer could discriminate on the basis of your gender, ethnicity, age etc. Without a photo, they could still discriminate at the interview, but it’s a little easier to prove.

Pro: If you’ve got it, flaunt it! There are lots of statistics which will tell you that pretty people are more likely to get hired. So perhaps a photo would help if you’ve got the looks, but wouldn’t you rather be hired for your ability?

Con: Equal opportunities. An employer may not progress your application because by shortlisting you, they could leave themselves open to accusations that they’ve discriminated against someone else. You just can’t win!

Pro: Cultural preferences. Outside of the UK there are many countries where including a photo is quite the norm (particularly in Europe). If you’re applying to work outside of the UK, or applying for a role with an international / global company then a photo may be expected. Try to find out before applying.

Con: Potential stalkers! If you’re posting your CV online, anyone could be looking at it. If you do attach a photo, for your own security, perhaps just include your location rather than your full address.

Pro: It might be Ok if you’re creative. In creative industries in the UK, such as media, it is more common to include a photo, particularly if the job requires you to be in-front of a camera. Try to find out what their expectations are, before applying.

Con: Your looks won’t last! Spare a thought for the not-so-beautiful people… Do you want to encourage the practice of hiring people based on looks? A photo might work in your favour now, but if you encourage this sort of thing, you might regret it when the cracks start to show.

Pro: Memory jog. If you’ve met the employer already and made a good impression, a photo may be useful in helping them remember who you are (or you could just mention your meeting in your cover letter).


The final verdict?

The final decision is up to you, but it’s certainly becoming more common to include your photo on a CV. Perhaps you could make some enquiries to find out the preference of the organisation you are applying to. Or try ‘with’ or ‘without’ for different applications and see which gets the best results.

What’s your preference? Tell us about your photo fails or successes by leaving a comment below.


Need some help with your CV?

Take a look at  your MDXWorks portal (Use your MyUniHub ID and password to log in). It’s packed with great resources to help you write a CV, including templates, tools and advice. You may like to start by looking at MDX CV builder

If you’re a current student or recent graduate of Middlesex University, you can send us your up-to-date CV for review: We’ll provide you with friendly and constructive feedback to help you make improvements.

If you found this blog-post helpful, you may also like to read ’10 embarrassing CV mistakes to avoid’. or ‘CV Tips: Mastering the art of ‘tailoring”.

By Matt Lewis, MDXWorks On-Campus / Online, Middlesex University

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