I am applying for MS programs in the US, and I'm wondering if I should include my photograph in the CV.

According to this post one should never include photos because of anti-discrimination laws. But my CV would also include links to my linkedin, github and my website, all of which have my photo. Should I not include these links as well?

  • 8
    It’s fine to include professional links - linkedin, github and your website are certainly examples of those kinds of things that are more than okay to include. I wouldn’t refer to these as social links though. And I wouldn’t include actual social links (Facebook etc).
    – Dan Romik
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 9:28
  • Personally, I would leave out any link that has photos of you, or take down the photos temporarily.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 22:16

4 Answers 4


Don't include the photo.

Yes, it's possible to figure out on the internet what you look like. But one would still have to figure it out. By including a photo, you make it impossible not to know how you look.

If in doubt, always follow the customs of the place where you apply.

As per the question, this answer applies mainly to the US.

  • I would omit a photo even in countries where adding a photo the CV is a common practice.
    – Jake
    Commented Aug 31, 2021 at 8:34
  • @Jake for "international" applications this might be safe, as customs in some countries are converging on the US. But that would be a separate question. Commented Aug 31, 2021 at 8:59

In the US, none of those things should be considered in an application. It is your academic record, perhaps a statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation that will be determinative.

I suggest leaving out everything that is irrelevant. Even a link to your linkedIn profile is noise. The other things (personal website...) are fine if they contain relevant things, such as papers and projects you have worked on.

But if someone needs to go to the web for needed information, you are doing yourself no favors.


Basically, the world today is so complex that anything that can be interpreted positively can also be evaluated negatively. After all, each coin has a flipside.

My personal experience is that one's own openness also generates such on the other side and one does not always have to assume negative intentions (discrimination, etc.).

I always attach my photo everywhere and had no negative experiences. Ultimately, what counts is what you do, how you think and what you want (and not how you look like). But of course, that can always look completely different from industry to industry.

Of course, if it is clear from the outset that it will be interpreted negatively to include one's photo (one is assumed to be trying to gain an advantage), then I would refrain from including the photo.

  • 4
    Does your experience include applications to academic institutions in the United States? Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 12:57
  • 2
    No - I am really active only in European/German area, which limits my experience in applying.
    – user145281
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 12:58
  • 4
    I think this might be important to point out, since US applications follow different expectations. Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 13:00
  • thats interesting - absolutely agree in this case.
    – user145281
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 13:03

If you get an invitation for an interview soon, it's likely to be virtual due to COVID, so they will likely find out what you look like soon enough. It also seems to me that there are some European countries that do this, so their applicants also do. I say "seems" due having virtually no US-based applicants who have ever included a head-shot. Thus, I agree with those who say to leave it out of your application. Lots of people in the US will find in strange and maybe off-putting. It gives a further chance for implicit bias, and perhaps even explicit bias that will never be detected. They will get their chance to see you when you give your job talk/virtual interview.

  • 1
    Perhaps the bias could even be rejecting the application because it has links to sites that could be sources of bias, and the institution wants to avoid even the appearance of bias.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 22:15
  • 1
    @jamesqf that seems hypothetically possible but would be considered extreme (even ridiculous) at any institution where I've been involved in application screening/hiring processes. "Off-putting" seems like enough reason not to do it.
    – Ben Bolker
    Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 15:06

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