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  • Writer's pictureSandra Hallberg

How to take a great photo for your CV

Whether to have a photo of yourself on your CV is rather a controversial topic in the recruitment world. Some people think a photo is insignificant because your appearance shouldn’t matter. Of course, this makes sense. However, a photo will make your CV more personal and will help a recruiter remember you, both before and after the interview. Ultimately, it’s a choice. If you have a picture on your CV, here are our top suggestions for doing it well.

1. Use a good camera.

A newer mobile phone will take a great picture. If you your phone doesn’t have a good camera, think of people you know that might help. Some phones even have a portrait function, which blurs the background for a professional look.

2. Ask for help! Ask a friend to help you, it’s easier than setting up a tripod and better than a selfie. Maybe you can photograph each other?

3. Think about the background. Take the photo outdoors or in a work-related environment. Are you looking for a job within the industrial sector? Then consider a more industrial background. If you’re looking for an office job, choose an office-like environment. Of course, a neutral background like a wall or landscape will also do the job.

4. Google CV photos to get some inspiration and ideas.

5. Lighting is really important! Usually, natural daylight is best.

6. Consider the angle. Take the picture straight on from the front or slightly from the side - think school photography style. I often see pictures on CV’s that look like they should be on Tinder or Instagram. Your photo must be professional. Ask yourself ‘would I dress like this/do this at work?’ If the answer is no, it’s probably not appropriate. Be careful of the ‘bird’ and ‘frog’ perspectives. You may come across as superior (bird) or inferior (frog). Stay on the safe side and shoot at eye level.

7. Smile and look friendly. Nobody wants to hire a brat! It is more important that you look friendly than good-looking. I once heard a recruiter say that she only hired people who smiled and showed their teeth because it was a sign of openness. Who knows if that is true, but it’s an interesting idea and a smile will always give a good impression.

8. Think about your outfit. If you’re looking for a job in a more formal sector, wear a jacket, shirt or blouse. Try to tailor your outfit to the job. For jobs in offices, wear office-wear. For jobs in healthcare, simpler clothing (like a nice T-shirt) will do the job, as you’re likely to wear a uniform. What would you wear on your first day on the job? That’s a good start.

Make it fun and try different things! Bring a few different outfits, try a few different backgrounds and poses. Let the photo express you are!


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