I think I have only seen one CV where a photograph of the CV owner was included. I personally wouldn't want to put my photograph in my CV, but I was wondering, in what situations would including a photo if oneself within the CV be appropriate?

  • 12
    I think it is country-dependant. For example, in South Korea, it is quite a norm to put a picture on top of your CV.
    – Taladris
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 5:56
  • 14
    It's expected in most of the world outside the US.
    – aeismail
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 10:53
  • 3
    There are even academic papers that have photos! Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 13:42
  • 3
    TIL CVs outside the US have pictures. Pretty cool!
    – Compass
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 13:45
  • 3
    To add what @Taladris said, in the UK I believe it is illegal for the employer to require it, so universities recommend not including it, but without forbidding.
    – Davidmh
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 23:39

4 Answers 4


In the United States, you should never include a photo in an academic CV. It comes across as somewhat inappropriate, like you are deliberately drawing attention to your appearance and hoping it will influence the decision. (I know that's not actually the intent, but many people's gut reaction upon seeing the photo will be "Why is the applicant showing me this? Do they think I should know what they look like before making a decision? How is that supposed to be relevant?") If you are from a country in which photos are often included, then that will be understood as a reasonable explanation, but it will stand out as foreign. If you aren't from such a country, then it will look bad.

  • 15
    It's basically against US equal-employment laws to consider photographs.
    – aeismail
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 10:54
  • However, I want to disagree with the point about not including photographs where they're normally included. If you're coming from a tradition where it's not done, I think people will accept that. I also think it's not such a big deal to omit a photo as one gets higher up in academic circles.
    – aeismail
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 10:55
  • 8
    I'd be interested in knowing how many people link their LinkedIn profile (or similar networks)(with a photo) in their CV, how many employers/recruiters/whatever, check the profile and find appropriate that there is a link to that and a photo there.
    – Trylks
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 10:56
  • @aeismail, that is an interesting and strong statement (somewhat meaninglessly weakened by basically). Is it or is it not? Or is it genuinely legally ambiguous and to be tested by the courts? Is it state dependent or federal?
    – Kvothe
    Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 15:18
  • Another purpose (perhaps still inappropriate) is to remind the person reviewing the CV that this is someone they have previously interacted with. Some people remember faces better than names.
    – Kvothe
    Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 15:19

If you apply for a job or for grad school in Germany, a photo will be more than appropriate (unless there are other rules or specific forms for the position or school). Indeed it is quite the norm to have a photo on your CV for job applications in Germany (both inside and outside academia). However, if you have a CV attached to, e.g., a grant proposal, then a photo would look strange.


First, there is no clear cut right or wrong here and the short answer as I see it is that there is no question of appropriateness, but maybe of impact.

I see quite a few CVs at different stages in academia and the majority lack photos but a fair number carry them. From my perspective, I would say that persons in or aiming for academic education are the ones that to a larger extent add photos to their CVs. People applying for higher academic jobs, after their PhDs, do it less. The latter is likely due to the fact that when applying for such a job it is the merits (publications, teaching experience etc.) and the experience in research which receives all focus. An image is irrelevant.

So why will (mainly) younger persons add photographs? I agree that tradition (e.g. in different countries) plays a role. I can also imagine that it may seem like a good way to present themselves amongst a more anonymous mass. Whether or not this is successful, I am not certain. But, it is true that these applications stick out and are noticed and for good reasons. As social beings we are used to see faces and communicate with persons so an image may have an effect. Unfortunately, due to irrelevant reasons but hopefully in very few instances, some people may also let the picture influence their views of applicants that overshadow the official selection criteria but that is another story.

To add to the picture, most people have personal web pages of a facebook page with images of oneself and other things related to life and activities. A link to such pages (e.g. through a QR patch) could be more efficient to relate personal traits and interests than a photograph in a CV. This does not mean that all will take the time to see the pages.

So for any academic use, I do not see an image as important. Use of a link to social media incl. web pages may suffice, if one thinks there is something valuable to see there. So the appropriateness is not an issue as I see it but the positive effect, if any, may decrease with time since important assessment criteria are progressively filled with information.

  • 4
    +1 for the question "Why?" The explanation for why to put a photo which I've picked up at some point is that it's to help interviewers with a visual memory to link you to the CV when they're reviewing the candidates after the interviews. So if you're expecting an in-person interview and to be one of many candidates, there may be a benefit, and that would correlate with the decreased frequency higher up the ladder, where there are likely to be fewer candidates. Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 14:02

My rule of thumb is to put a photo on a CV when there is a chance it will help you. Have you spoken on a conference and you want to be easily recognised by someone who could have seen you there? Have you talked to someone important, who happens to see a lot of people, and you want your CV to better remind them of you? Is the photo required officially or by local culture*? Then yes, put your (smiling) face on the CV .

On the other hand, if there is a strict anti-discrimination policy in place at the particular institution, that discourages photos on CVs, then you better avoid sending yours with a photo.

* As @Dirk mentions, it is appropriate to attach a photo to your CV if the recipient is in Germany (my current employer is a German company and I can say the photos are very useful very often), in the neighbouring Czech Republic, however, a CV with a photo is rarely seen and not really required.

  • 1
    This. When you are fighting for a job, the appropriate action is any action that will help you. But to add to your example. The only study I am aware of found that pictures on CVs help you when you are a hansom man or an ugly woman. So if you have a choice, that probably should be a consideration, or at least guide you in which picture you include.
    – Jonathon
    Commented Jan 1, 2016 at 6:55

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .