Craig Wilson
Craig Wilson

Articles From the Team

Why is a photo on your CV seen as creepy? - Should you include a photo on your CV

A recent article from the online news site Quartz picked up on the topic of photos attached to your resumé (CV). With the fabulous headline, ‘your social media profile makes you human. Why is it creepy on resumés?’, the article seeks to highlight some of the potential pitfalls (and benefits) of including a photo on your CV.

The article highlights that ‘LinkedIn profiles with photos get 21 times more views, and yield nine times more connection requests, than those without’ however CVs ‘with photos attached get a raised eyebrow from hiring managers’.

The writer goes on to quote a hiring manager at a New York-based consulting firm who is quoted as saying, “I’m actually less likely to talk to someone [with a photo on their resumé], because it says something about their judgement’. Why is this?

The writer states that ‘much of the disconnect stems from expectations: Photos are standard on LinkedIn, and they’re generally not on a resumé, so the presence of one sends a message’. The relative lack of space (real estate) on your CV, certainly compared to your LinkedIn profile, raises questions about why you feel the hiring manager needs to see your picture, and why you are prioritising a photo over valuable information about your experience.

When you consider that hiring managers usually spend less than two minutes reviewing a CV, any “time spent looking at a photo is time not spent reading about [your] qualifications” and experience. So, not only does it take up valuable space and raise questions about your priorities, it arguably uses up some of the time allotted to reading and digesting the content of your CV. In an ultra competitive jobs market, can you afford to be at a disadvantage?

Whether the inclusion of a photo is a definite disadvantage worldwide is hard to quantify, particularly as it is common to include a photo in some parts of the world or within certain industries, however in the UK legal profession I would argue it is not the norm and it is generally viewed negatively and with suspicion.

In addition to how a photo is viewed, you should consider that CV photos can result in a conscious / unconscious bias in the hiring process. Hiring managers are liable to be heavily influenced by your photo – positively or negatively - based on their own stereotypes and ideals of what constitutes the perfect applicant. With gender, sexual orientation and racial equality often front and centre for HR departments, and with anonymous and gender neutral application processes beginning to materialise, having a photo on your CV potentially removes the level playing field – the facts only - and opens your application up to bias.

Although the above implies it is a definite negative to add a photo to your CV, hiring mangers can easily take a look at your LinkedIn profile photo (if you have one) should they wish to know more about you. Not including a photo on your CV creates room for more information, ensures the hiring manager is focused on your skills and experience when considering your CV, and it stops the hiring manager questioning your judgement and priorities.

If your would like to read the original Quartz article, please follow this link:

For more information contact Craig Wilson at BCL Legal.

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