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Cv’s, Resumes: mug shot or not, that is the question

Many of my students at the business school where ply my language teaching trade are going through the traumatic ‘looking for an internship’ phase at the moment and one of my charges raised quite an interesting question. He asked ‘Should I include a photo with my CV?’. I’m afraid I was unable to answer this question directly, aside from replying with a decidedly non-committal , ‘It depends’.

In today’s world, it appears that more and more companies here in Italy do actually want a mug shot included with job applications. However, it is very difficult to know which companies want one and which do not. Sometimes you include a photo and do not get invited to interview, other times you send no photo and don’t get an interview.

The trouble seems to be that nobody knows which companies are photo-friendly and which are photo-allergic, so to speak. Net result – confused job seekers, and both candidates and companies losing out in the search for the perfect job/employee, simply because the CV/photo policy is not at all clear. Indeed, some departments in an organisation may require a photo, while other departments may not, which further confusticates what is already a confused issue.

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Personally, I’d prefer to see a ‘no photo at all on a CV’ policy, because I think that a photo may subjectively and unfairly bias those seeking potential employees. After all, just because someone does not look like Brad Pitt or Cate Blanchett should not prejudice their chances of getting work. I do accept that ‘pretty people’ are a priority in some work environments, but if this is the case, then the aesthetic worth of a candidate can be judged as soon as they walk into the interview room.

I don’t think it will be long before potential interviewees discover the joys of Photoshop and start touching up their photos to make them look more appealing. In which case, the value of photos forming part of job applications will diminish and interviewers will need to resort to actually inviting someone to interview (or should that now be ‘audition’!) so they can judge a candidates’ aesthetic value.

Looks as though those who look like Shrek better start thinking about setting up their own businesses, or resign themselves to life long unemployment. What an odd state of affairs.

Oh, and the photo of my good self on the About page of this blog has been edited a wee bit, coz I hate photos of myself and I do not think I am at all photogenic. Luckily, I work for myself!

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