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This content is taken from the The University of Glasgow's online course, Net That Job: How to Write a CV Online. Join the course to learn more.
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Let’s now look at the main parts of a CV, starting with the photograph.


First impressions count. A recruiter is likely to spend seconds, not minutes deciding on whether to proceed or not with your application, so using a picture is a risk, but if you get it right, it can be well worth it. Ultimately, this is a decision you have to make for yourself.

When you choose a photograph for your CV, you need to consider what impression you would like to create, whether it is appropriate for the position you are applying for and how to showcase your best qualities. Therefore, you need to make sure it meets the following criteria:

  • Dress appropriately. Outfit is very important when making a first impression, so make sure you look professional and presentable.
  • Your expression and posture matter. This takes practice. Make sure you smile, but do not grin.
  • The profile picture should be of you only. Do not add any special effects, logos, text or other images. Avoid heavily photoshopping. It looks unprofessional and creates distraction. Your photo should look natural.
  • Choose a good quality photo. No matter how much you like your latest holiday photos, save them for your Facebook profile. They will not showcase the side of you that the employers would like to see.
  • Always be aware of the background.
  • Make sure the picture is appropriate to the job for which you are applying.

Now try the first impressions activity (which is available in the downloads section below) and use the comments area to share your thoughts on which photographs you have chosen giving reasons for your choices. We expect this activity to generate a lot of different opinions and there are no strictly right or wrong answers. Try to think about the photographs in terms of being appropriate or inappropriate for a job application. Some of them are lovely photographs, but would they work in an application? Do remember, finally, that our choices are about generating discussion among learners rather than providing you with definitively right or wrong answers!

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This article is from the free online course:

Net That Job: How to Write a CV Online

The University of Glasgow