In the US, over 80% of recruiters will not consider your job application when the resume includes a picture of yourself. In many parts of Europe, however, hiring managers prefer to see a picture on a CV. Where does that leave you - confused? Below you can find our recommendation for using photos on your CV in:

When it comes to profile photo on a CV, there might be subtle differences, depending on the countries’ cultural norms. Thus, it is important that you do your research of the country standards before submitting your resume. Here, we can offer you some useful tips for cultural norms in different countries around the world regarding the picture issue.

Employment law vs. recruitment norm

But first of all, we need to have a quick look at the difference between recruitment norms and employment legislation. Legislations are laws which are enacted by the government. On the other hand, norms are informal guidelines or accepted standards about what is considered normal (correct or incorrect) social behaviour in a particular group. In most of the developed countries, nobody can be legally asked to include a picture in their CV. The norms, however, are often not as clear cut. Here, we focus on the cultural norms to follow when attaching a picture to your CV.

CV picture in Continental Europe?

When it comes to applying in Europe, it is generally a good idea to include a professional picture in your CV, with some exceptions. In Scandinavia, nordic recruiters will always advise you to attach a picture in the CV. As we go down on the Europe map to Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland, country norms are not very different. Recruiters suggest applicants to always attach a photo to the top right corner of the CV.

In Southern Europe, in countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece it is also common to include a professional picture to your CV. For example, in Spain, if you do not add a photo to your CV, it is possible that one will be required.  If you submit your CV in Italy, a photo is not necessarily requested, but if you do decide to attach one, then it should be a formal passport photo on a neutral background. In Greece, there are no strict rules for CVs. A CV photo is not required but will be appreciated.

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CV picture in the United Kingdom?

The exception to the European norm is the UK, where it is not recommended to attach a picture to your CV. Recruiters advise applicants to remove any CV photo and only focus on presenting achievements and experiences relevant to the job. However, it always depends on the recruiter and the job role itself. For instance, if you are applying for a sales position in the UK, recruiters may be very happy to see a picture of a potential candidate. It has much more influence on the job role, as it shows the applicant’s individual presentation. However,  in general, when applying for the UK it is not advisable to include a picture in your CV.

Our recommendation: 

CV picture in the United States?

In the USA, it is not common to have a picture in your CV - in fact, you will often hear that including a picture on your CV can cost you the job interview. Employers in the US assume that photos give information that should not contribute to the hiring decision - such as appearance, race, gender, and other categories protected by labour laws. Therefore, they tend to avoid resumes that have a picture of the applicant attached to it. If you decide to include one, it implies that you don’t understand the U.S. hiring norms. Therefore, we advise you to stay on the safe side and not include a picture in a CV, when applying for the US.

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CV picture in the Middle East & Asia?

Unlike in America, most Asian cultures will prefer to see a professional looking photo in a CV. That is because they want to relate to you when assessing your experience and achievements. Hence, we recommend you to add a picture to your CV when you are applying in an Asian country.

Research shows that a CV picture is also preferred in Dubai. Since there are no strict anti-discrimination laws in employment, the picture actually tells the employers many things they might want to know about a potential employee. For example, the appearance and even the ethnic group you belong to.     

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CV picture in Australia?

In Australia, it is not required to include a picture in your resume. However, if you do include one, you should make sure that it is in line with the position you apply for. For example, you should be dressed more officially for management positions (including a jacket). If you are in the creative industry, you should consider a more artistic style photograph. It is interesting to note that if you are applying for a technical expert position, you should consider a picture with a shirt and tie (no jacket) or modest clothing, so it looks like you are ready to start working. No matter what position you apply for, the CV picture should always be attractive and clear and you should make sure you are smiling.

Our recommendation:

In summary, it’s always a good idea to read up on the cultural norms when you decide whether to put a picture on your CV. This way, you can avoid a common pitfall when it comes to applying for a job in a foreign country.