To snap or not to snap?

Should you include your photo in a CV, is a question that comes up often. The confusion arises because the practice of putting a picture on a CV varies by country and industry. In some places posting a headshot on job applications is standard practice, in others it’s not.

Everyone wants to make a good first impression with their CV. Some people feel that including their photo in it, is a good way of doing this. But it’s not always advisable.

Photos on CVs are rare. That’s because apart from legal and cultural considerations, they also take up valuable room on a CV, can be distracting and look out of place. Remember that every part of your CV will be scrutinized, including your picture. By having one, you run the risk of a hiring manager taking a dislike to you just because of your looks.

On this page we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of putting your picture on a CV. Additionally, if you do decide to include one, well also give you advice on where to put it and how to take it.

By: Iejaz Uddin – 4 June 2024


Page guide:

  • Should you include a picture in your CV?
  • Photo in your CV for the UK
  • Disadvantages of a photo on a CV
  • Advantages of a photo on your CV
  • Countries not to put a picture on a CV
  • Countries where you can put a photo on your CV
  • How to put a picture in your CV


Should you include a picture in your CV?

There are many arguments both for and against the inclusion of a photo on your CV.

Whilst there are some people who welcome it, there are others who believe a CV should just be about skills and work experience rather than looks.

It’s also worth noting that in the age of social media, a recruiter can quickly find out what you look like though channels like LinkedIn and Facebook. If you have been shortlisted for an interview, the recruiter will almost certainly have searched for you online have got a glimpse of what you look like.

However, there are other countries and circumstances where it is advisable, beneficial and necessary to include one.


Photo in your CV for the UK

In the UK there is no culture or requirement to include a photo on your CV. The only exceptions are if it has been specifically asked for by the recruiter.

The majority of recruiter say that looks do not matter in the world of work, and it will not contribute to their hiring decision.

There is also legislation to stop discrimination against job seekers based on their looks. For this reason, most employers prefer it if a CV does not include the candidate photo. Therefore, as a general rule, when applying for a job in the UK, you should not include a photo of yourself in a CV.


Research the country and industry

If you want to include your photo, but are still not sure, then do a bit of groundwork. To make sure you don’t fall foul of any regulations or upset people, always research the country you’re applying in. Some quick online investigating will reveal if they require, encourage or ban photos.

If you find it’s optional and there is no clear consensus one way or the other, then it’s best to leave it out.


Why do people include them

People who include them want to differentiate themselves from other candidates.


Disadvantages of a photo on a CV

For most jobs your appearance has no relevance on your ability to do it well and no impact on your ability carry out your duties competently. Recruiters are more interested in a candidate’s key skills, qualities, career history and education than their physical appearance.

In many countries and industries there are strict rules regarding discrimination in the workplace.  Employment laws and recruitment best practices are designed to get rid of these practices from the hiring process. Including your photo in a CV could erode them.

  • On a CV space is at a premium and a photo will take up valuable real estate that can be used for other purposes.
  • Images can distract from the content on the page.
  • A company can be accused of bias because of a candidates, age, race, ethnicity, gender or any other feature that is recognisable from a photograph.
  • Some employers will reject CVs that contain photos in order to avoid potential discrimination allegations against them.
  • Automated CV screening software such as Applicant Tracking Systems cannot read pictures. Graphics may confuse them and lead to a rejection of your CV.
  • Hiring managers are human beings, there is a risk they take an immediate dislike to how you look.
  • Recruiters on average only spend 10 seconds scanning you CV, you want them to spend this short time looking at your achievements and not your picture.
  • Some companies use sophisticated automated ATS software to filter out and then reject CVs with photos in them.


Advantages of a photo on your CV

A photo can immediately set you apart from other candidates who have not included one. This can help to personalise your job application and add to the image you want to portray.

  • They are also a requirement for certain roles.


Roles that require a photo on their CV

There are certain roles in the entertainment industry where the job description specifically asks candidates to send in a picture of themselves. For example:

  • Acting
  • Modelling
  • Certain Sales positions


Countries not to put a picture on a CV

You should not send in a photo to any a prospective employer in any of the below countries and geographical areas. If you do, you risk exposing yourself as someone is ignorant of job application etiquette and not familiar with employment law.


United Kingdom

United States


Your photo could be removed

If you do send in a CV with your photo, the person who receives it could remove your photo before passing it on for consideration. This in turn can leave an unsightly looking blank or blacked out space on your CV.


Countries where you can put a photo on your CV

Below is a list of countries where it is acceptable to attach your picture to your CV.




Continental Europe



Latin America

Middle east







South Africa

Southeast Asia







How to put a picture in your CV

If you’re going send in a photo, make sure it’s a good one. Your CV is marketing tool, so you need a sharp picture taken by a professional photographer rather than a selfie on a phone. You’re creating a personal brand so must look good.


What type of picture to include

This is best done through a formal (not casual) landscape, horizontal or upright portrait. Have a flattering photo that is taken in good light and were you wear a plain top, remove any glasses and have a clean-cut hair style. Try to dress to according to the role and company culture. In the picture itself look friendly and approachable by having a slight smile.

Send in a recent colour (not black & white) one that is similar to those on your social media accounts.


Where to put a photo on a CV

Position it next to your name and contact details, in the top right or top left corner of your CV.


Photo size

Reduce its size so that it doesn’t take up too much room but is still large enough to be clearly seen. Crop it from the top of your shoulders to just above your head, this way all the attention is on your face. If you’re unsure of the size, check out other CV photo examples to get an idea of what to do.