You can list hundreds of CV blunders to avoid however there is one mistake that considered to be the biggest.
Commonly considered to be one of the biggest mistakes you can make when writing your CV, including a photo can end your chances at a new job before you get a chance to really shine. But why is it such a faux pax and is there any situation that it becomes acceptable to include a photo on your curriculum vitae? This articles looks at some of the key points so you can make your own mind up.
Let’s face it, unless you are a model or movie star, the chances are that you aren’t remotely good looking enough that including a picture of yourself on your CV could be considered to be a good thing. Even if you are a Brad Pitt look-a-like, are your looks really what you want to promote as one of your key plus points?
When applying for jobs you shouldn’t be highlighting irrelevant points about yourself. Nobody cares if you can touch your nose with your tongue or down a pint in 2.3 seconds – these are things your potential employer can live without knowing right away (and to be fair, even the office party isn’t the best place to introduce these things to your co-workers, let alone your first interview…). So how relevant is a photo? Sure, it might make your CV stand out from the others being looked at, but there are times when this isn’t necessarily a good thing!
Remember, recruiters have a sense of humour too – they like to have a laugh just like the rest of us. What do you think is going to happen if you are the only person to submit a CV with a photo on it? Think about it!
Don’t waste prime real estate on your CV!
A photo takes up valuable space on your CV, so why waste it with irrelevant information when you could use that space more effectively to promote your key skills (which will ultimately be what lands you the job – not your big grin!). If you go down the route of including a photo then you are doing yourself a disservice – you may as well not include your key skills or work history!
There are times when it’s OK
Sometimes including a photo with your CV is not only acceptable, but a prerequisite for success. Some key examples;
- Modelling or acting jobs.
- Possibly other jobs where appearance is important.
- Any time your employer asks for a photo with the application.
- Extended recruitment processes where the employer may be selecting a group of candidates from a large selection of potentials.
In these cases it’s OK to include a photo with your CV, but you should think carefully about which photo you use. If you work in a profession where it’s common to include a headshot for job applications, then you probably already know about this and most likely use the services of a professional photographer.
For those of us who only rarely are asked for photos, then here are some tips;
Your photo should be business professional – i.e. the same image as you would present at an interview.
It should be a head / shoulder shot (not full body). Similar to a passport photo.
Your recruiter doesn’t want to see your holiday snaps, or photos from a night out with your mates!
Good luck with your applications!