There’s a huge debate between career experts right now over whether or not you should put a photo on your CV – after all, in this social media age, everyone has photos of themselves easily accessible online.
Some say it’s a straight out no-no – that if you do include a photo on your CV, you come across as “naïve and unprofessional” because unless you’re a model or an actor, what you look like shouldn’t matter.
And of course, there are laws in place here in the UK which mean it’s illegal to consider age, race or gender when it comes to hiring people. So most recruiters prefer no photo to avoid the possibility of any discrimination claims.
However, other experts say ignore the advice, and that in our multimedia age, there’s no reason why not – that in our hypervisual times, our face can be our calling card.
They believe that not including a photo is at odds with the importance of LinkedIn nowadays, which I reckon is vital for progressing your career, whichever sector you work in. If you don’t have a good headshot of yourself on there, no one will take you seriously.
And many countries around the world demand that a photo is included on your CV, particularly in Asia and the Far East.
But there’s more to it than that. A recent study by Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev found that men deemed to be good looking were more likely to get an interview if they included a photo with their CV – but good looking women less so.
The study involved sending more than 5,000 CVs in pairs to just over 2,600 jobs being advertised. In each pair, one CV was sent without a picture, while the second identical resume contained a picture of either an attractive male or female, or an average-looking male or female.
The CVs of “attractive” males received an almost 20% response rate, nearly 50% higher than the 13.7% response rate for “plain” males and more than twice the 9.2% response rate where there was no picture.
However, with the women, “attractive” women where shunned more often than women who were as plain or unattractive, or even women who had no picture on their resume.
The researchers concluded, rather depressingly, that the results were down to more women than men working in HR recruitment. After they did further research, they discovered that 96% of the company recruiters were women, typically in their 20s and single – and they didn’t like any competition.
The report wrapped up saying: “The evidence points to female jealousy of attractive women in the workplace as a primary reason for their penalization in recruitment.” Grim!
I think that it might be a little more subtle than unsisterly behaviour, however. Rather than overt jealously, I think it’s more to do with the insecurity many women feel in the workplace and the unconscious bias that we all suffer from.
I think it’s more to do with our unconscious stereotyping of women in the workplace – that we are often secretly thinking, and without even realising, that surely, if she’s attractive, she can’t be great in a job too?
A study published a few years back suggested that was indeed the case when ‘attractive’ women applied for managerial roles.
Men are still celebrated for having it all – women less so, particularly when it comes to having brains and beauty.
In conclusion, unless you’re applying for a job overseas, no matter how great that selfie you took is, it’s best to be on the safe side and leave your picture off your CV – particularly if you’re an attractive woman…