Adding a photograph to your CV is a good opportunity to provide a first impression of yourself as a professional and presentable member of staff, and a good way to help a recruiter remember your application. In this blog post we have two quick ways to use photos that may improve your job application success rate.
Firstly, we will look at how to take a great photo to enhance your CV.
Secondly, we will consider how to use additional photos that may improve your application: photos that you can send along with your CV, cover letter and or any references or copies of qualifications/ certificates you are sending.
A quick disclaimer - There is an ongoing debate (particularly in the UK and USA) about whether including a photo on your CV is ethical. In certain areas/ industries, CVs can be rejected outright if they contain a photo due to discrimination requirements. On the other hand, in countries like Australia, a photo can be required along with a job application. For the purposes of this blog, we are assuming that you are applying for a role where including photos on your CV is acceptable and encouraged. In our experience the majority of families, as private employers, will appreciate the chance to visualise how you might fit into their family. If you believe that including a photo may damage your application, don’t do it! It’s worth bearing in mind (as noted on City Cv) that having a link to your LinkedIn profile on your CV is perfectly acceptable.
As noted on technojobs.co.uk/, a CV photo is a great way to make your CV stand out. So, if you do chose to include a photo on your CV, use these tips to make the photo an opportunity for you to show your best side and put your best foot forward for this first step. We recommend preparing and taking a photo specifically for your CV rather than trying to find a Facebook photo you’ve already got that’s suitable for this purpose. Time to commit to being a professional!
1. Dress sensibly
Our general advice on this is to dress as if you are preparing for your first day at work. Presumably not a suit and tie for most childcare positions, but a smart, clean shirt, a polo, a t-shirt or a smart blouse should be fine, ideally in fairly neutral colours. As a general rule try to avoid anything garish, clothes that look worn or have holes in them and any particularly loud slogans or outlandish images. Likewise, try to move hair off your face and keep your hair tidy!
Remind everybody that you will be pleasant to work with and that hiring you will be a pleasant experience by showing your positive side. Try to smile as genuinely as possible (it may help to have a friend tell a joke) and remember to brush your teeth!
3. Frame and positioning
Show your potential employer that you have a bit of common sense by positioning yourself in the centre of a frame and not too close to the camera (think passport photo-style headshot). Try to frame yourself in a setting that is easy on the eyes - preferably inside, against a neutral colour white or cream wall. Avoid busy backgrounds, mirrors, or anything that may confuse the image - we have seen some photos that were obviously taken in nightclubs - no, thank you. Also avoid photos with other people, even if they have been cut out of the original image. And no random cut off arms from a bodiless person draped around your shoulder!
N.B. A common problem for recruiters is the ‘wedding crop’. Candidates often try to use a wedding photo on their CV because they are well dressed - be aware that a close-up of your face with your friends/ cocktail cropped out is not as good as a CV photo taken for that purpose!
Nothing too crazy please - this isn’t a modelling contract!
Remember that this photo isn’t for your Instagram profile! No strange filters; and check the lighting is a good level - photos that are dark and hide your features do you a disservice. Remember you are presenting yourself in the best light here! (pun intended, apologies).
Poor lighting, sunglasses, not facing the camera - a photo like this one is unlikely to do you any favours!
5. Ask for help taking the photo
If in doubt, ask a friend who’s good with photography to help you set up for your photo - take their advice on hair and clothing, and have them take the photo rather than doing it in selfie mode. Of course, it helps to have a friend with a professional camera or at the very least a high-quality phone camera. This is likely to save you time and effort.
Ask a friend for help!
Now, regarding additional photos that can accompany your cover letter:
Additional photos are a great chance to show potential employers your best side, your suitability for the role itself and any other talents you may have - so don’t forget to put them in!
We find that additional photos are particularly beneficial for nannying, governor or governess work. The chance to demonstrate your extra skills helps an employer or recruiter to really visualise them.
Your talents may be sporting, musical, technical or otherwise extra-curricular. If you can provide them, photos playing a sport or game with a child, swimming, riding bikes together, teaching chess, piano, guitar can work wonders for your application. The options are endless - but make sure all photos are relevant and high quality! Up to 5 or 6 photos can be a great complement to your cover letter, more may be overwhelming.
If you’re not sporting or musically talented, Photos with previous charges may also help to demonstrate your confidence and natural apt for working with kids. Have you got photos from a kids’ club you used to run? Working on arts and crafts? Or even working in a school, if that’s something you’ve done? They may help your cause too, so show us your talents!
Again, if you’re in any doubt as to which photos add to your application and which may be detrimental- ask for help. A second opinion from a friend or someone working in the same industry as you may be invaluable.
OK - that’s all for now! We hope this article has been interesting and useful for you. If you’re still unsure about this you can research online - here are some videos that may give you a better idea of how to take a great photo for your CV:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Eq4GMEI0WQ (from katebranch.com)
For something a little more serious - www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrC9eUwPIoo (from michellephan.com)
If you have any tips of your own for using photos to enhance your application - please share them with us below. REMEMBER - YOU MUST ALWAYS ASK PARENTAL OR GUARDIAN PERMISSION BEFORE INCLUDING PHOTOS OF THEM OR THEIR CHILDREN WITH YOUR APPLICATION.
For more tips on how to build a great resume check out Top 10 Resume Tips!
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