CV’s: Should I Include a Professional Photo?

Is my photo on my CV going to help me win the interview, or wreck my chances?

Is my photo on my CV going to help me win the interview, or wreck my chances?

After witnessing some debate around the subject of including a professional photo on your CV I decided to do some reading to find out what the current opinion says on the subject and to try and gather some hard evidence to support the various views.

Surely, I thought, things have changed since the original opinion on the subject was first published? Or maybe it hasn’t.

LinkedIn is becoming the talent tool of choice for many recruiters and, given LinkedIn encourage the inclusion of a photo in ones profile – I wondered about the relevance of excluding a photo from ones CV today.

LinkedIn say profiles with a photo are 14 times more likely to attract views than those without – and from my own research I found that most profiles I scanned did include a photo.

A survey in 2012 found that 93% of recruiters look at LinkedIn profiles during the search process.

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When I asked recruiters at what stage in the recruitment process they viewed a LinkedIn profile the answer was, often it’s the first thing they do. Recruiters and hiring managers are increasingly searching for talent via LinkedIn, before going to market and receiving applications and CV’s. They also use LinkedIn during the screening process.

When arguing for or against photo’s being included in a CV – opinions I researched fell into 2 categories:


  1. People will find your photo anyway
  2. It personalizes the application
  3. It potentially sets you apart from the others
  4. People are becoming increasingly visual
  5. It helps protect against identity confusion (same name different person on Facebook or Twitter)


  1. HR are terrified of being sued for discrimination
  2. People will be discriminated against gender and/or race
  3. You’re distracting the reader (19% of a 6 second read of the CV is on the photo – according to one set of research)
  4. It’s subjective content
  5. It takes up valuable space

There were many other opinions for and against but little in the way of research supporting either camp.

What did become evident though was that the ‘For’ or neutral photo group took into account a changed world of social media, ease of accessibility and an increasingly visual society.

So are those who continue to be against inclusion being laggards in a rapidly changing and ever accessible environment?

What I do know is that if you’re on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – or have appeared in some other online media, recruiters and hiring managers will find you and your photo anyway.

So, should candidates include a photo in their CV?

I’d love to see your comments and if possible links to research or personal experience.

For more information about developing a CV, click here

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Contact: Phone: +64 21 666 807, +64 9 5222802 e-mail: Craig McAlpine's Linked In profile: MISSION Working with Job Search Candidates to build their go-to-market strategy, develop powerful marketing collateral such as their CV, LinkedIn profile and social media presence, and ultimately to secure a new role that is not only rewarding but also assists them on their career journey. EXPERTISE Career Coaching - LinkedIn Training - LinkedIn Optimisation - Personal Branding - Job Hunt: Go to Market Strategy and Collateral - CV design and preparation - Interview skills INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE - Professional Services - Information Technology - Banking and Finance - Recruitment

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Posted in Applying For a Role, Curriculum Vitae, CV

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