1. Blog
  2. CV Help
  3. Should you include a photo on your CV?
Written by Paul DruryPaul Drury

Should you include a photo on your CV?

7 min read
Should you Include a Photo on Your CV?
In the UK, it’s best to avoid including a photo on your CV due to anti-discrimination laws and professional conventions. In certain fields, it may be customary, in which case you should use a professional photo. We walk you through how you should and should not use a photo.

As people continue to relocate around the world for jobs, many job seekers may wonder if they should include a photo on their CV, especially in the UK. 

In general, no—the hiring manager has plenty of information on which they base their decision to invite you to an interview, so a photo won’t add much benefit. Plus, if you look like Brad Pitt or Gal Gadot, you might have an incremental advantage, but it is not as significant as you might think. The UK has strict anti-discrimination laws, so including a photo shows a lack of awareness.

While it’s not customary to include a photo on your CV in the UK, there are limited situations where it’s expected. This guide will walk you through the following:

  • Why should you avoid including a photo?
  • When should you incorporate a photo on your CV?
  • Tips for the best CV photograph.

Why should you avoid including a photo?

Use This Resume

There are certain things that should always be on a CV—employment history, education details, and a section outlining your skills. Save for rare exceptions (detailed later), a photo will never be mandatory and is typically best left off. 

Avoid discrimination

Although it’s illegal for companies in the UK to discriminate in the hiring process, it can happen. Your best bet is to do what you can to reduce any bias or discrimination, and one way to do this is by keeping pictures off of your CV. Of course, this won’t mitigate all possibilities of discrimination, but it can at least get you into the interview room.

Show an understanding of conventions

Because it’s not typical to put a picture on your CV, doing so runs the risk of making you look out of touch with current professional norms. 

Maximise space

Your CV should showcase all the ways you’re the company’s next great hire. Placing a photo on your CV takes up excess space that could be better used to detail your work experience, education, and skills

Get around ATS issues

Even if you choose to include a photo, the applicant tracking system storing your CV may not be able to show it. Some systems can’t pick up on image formats and will simply parse the information into a new format. 

When should you include a photo on your CV?

Use This Resume

There are rare professions where it’s customary to include a photo on a CV, like acting or modelling. These fields certainly require more than just a photo, but the headshot is an expected part of the full application. 

  • Modelling. Because modelling work relies on your physical traits, including a headshot on your CV makes sense.
  • Acting. Another profession that puts you in front of the camera is acting, and when your agent floats your CV across a casting director’s desk, it will need a headshot.
  • Some customer facing roles. This is controversial, but some people who work in roles with a lot of influence and customer contact—like estate agents or other sales roles—may choose to include a photo if they think that it would be beneficial.
Expert tip

What if you’re relocating outside of the UK? Consider the CV conventions of your new country.

Don’t include a photo on your CV in these locations: 

UK, Ireland, Canada, US

Consider including a CV photo in the following countries, but research first:

Continental Europe (especially Germany, France, Spain, Portugal and Scandinavia), Middle East, Africa, much of Asia.

Top tips for a great CV photo

If you’re in an industry where it’s conventional to put a picture on your CV, it’s important to do it right in order to make the strongest first impression. Here are some tips:

  • Wear simple but elegant clothing—a suit or smart top will be fine. If you model, choose a headshot that best embodies your aesthetic.
  • Put your best foot forward with a presentable appearance, paying attention to your hair and makeup, if you wear any.
  • Consider whether colour or black and white best fits the impression you want to make.
  • Make sure that the photo is professionally shot; avoid selfies or casual photos.
  • Don’t crop the photo from a bigger picture with a distracting background.
  • The photo should be a recent one that reflects your current look.
  • Consider using the same photo on your LinkedIn profile to present a cohesive brand.
  • Make sure that it doesn’t take up too much space: your career story comes first.

Avoid the temptation of using a social media filter to enhance your photo; your CV should accurately reflect you, and that extends to any photo you may include. You never want a hiring manager to think you’ve lied or exaggerated.

How to write a CV
Related article
How to write a CV

Knowing how to write a CV takes effort, but we help break down the mystery. Take a look at this detailed guide to learn more about how to structure, write, and design a job-winning CV.

Key takeaways

It’s not typical for CVs in the UK to include a photograph, so it’s best to avoid adding a photo to your CV. Adding one puts you at risk of seeming out of touch, plus it takes up space that’s better used to tell your career story. 

If you’re in one of the few professions where a photo is customary—like modelling or acting—make a strong first impression with a photo that’s professional and aligned with your brand.

Build your CV in 15 minutes
Build your CV in 15 minutes
Use professional field-tested CV templates that follow the exact ‘CV rules’ employers look for.
Create My CV
Share this article
Keep reading
Cover Letter14 min read
How to write a cover letter
How to write a cover letter
Career6 min read
How to get an internship
How to get an internship
Career17 min read
50 ways to say goodbye to a colleague
50 ways to say goodbye to a colleague
Cover Letter9 min read
“Dear Sir or Madam”: Top cover letter start alternatives
“Dear Sir or Madam”: Top Cover Letter Start Alternatives
Browse All
This website uses cookies to improve user experience and perform analytics and marketing. By using our website, you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy.
Accept Cookies