Should you include a headshot on your CV or not? CV tips.

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Is it a good idea to include a headshot on your resume when applying for a job?

When applying for a new job there’s a great number of things that you have to consider as part of the application process. How you present yourself on your CV is inevitably one of them.

You want to make a good first impression on the hiring manager that will review your application, and you want to show how professional, friendly, creative or powerful you look. It all of course depends on the industry you are applying in, but the question remains the same… should you include a photograph on your resume or not?

 

1. Cultural differences

It is important to be aware of the cultural practices in the country that you are applying for a new job in. In countries like the US, UK and Ireland it is uncommon to have your photo on a job application – unless you are applying in a very specific industry such as acting jobs. This is because in these countries employment laws forbid an employer from discriminating against a candidate based on their physical features such as appearance and age, and a photo on a CV would allow for subconscious biases to arise, even if the people reviewing the CVs have been trained and instructed against this type of behaviour.

Contrastingly, in mainland European countries like France, Germany and Switzerland, it is a common cultural practice to include a headshot on a CV, and choosing to not include one on yours could raise questions for the employer if they expect it.

 

2. Eliminating bias

It’s unavoidable that including a photo on a CV will lead to the person reviewing it forming an opinion on you based on the photograph, which could end up impacting on how they assess the rest of the CV. If you want your experience and skills to be what you are assessed on for your suitability for the role, and not to be judged on the quality of your photograph, don’t include one on your application! Otherwise you risk having your application influenced by superficial biases related to your appearance, when instead your talent and motivation should be doing the talking.

If you want to help break the bias when it comes to applying for a job, here are some tips for you! If you’re a candidate, don’t include a photo on your CV, try the classic format, and be careful of the language that you use on it. Women in particular are sometimes guilty of using emotional language – make sure you use a balance of language that is gender neutral, colourful, and emphasising facts!

If you’re a hiring manager and you want to help break the bias, you could try asking your HR department to only send you blind CVs, to remember to be open-minded about the candidates you are interviewing, and remember to catch yourself if you find that you are forming a judgement about a candidate! Finally, make sure you focus on the experience of the candidate rather than other factors like their age.

 

Learn more: If you want to gain more useful tips on making your CV the best it can be, you can download our super helpful CV template for QA/RA professionals, packed full of expert tips to improve your chances of landing your dream MedTech job!

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