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CareersAs a rule of thumb, including one’s photograph in a CV is not a requirement. Is it advisable to include it anyway? I, for one, think not.

When recruiters scan CVs, they form a mental picture of the candidate based on what is written – academics, accomplishments, extra-curricular activities, etc. Including a photograph creates a distraction since we all have prejudices (or ‘filters’ as we prefer to call them). We then compare what is written with the image of the candidate and often feel a disconnect.

In the general scheme of things, studio photographs are heavily touched up and create a false image. The contrast between reality and the portrait can be quite misleading and, come interview time, you wonder if you have invited the correct candidate!

Apart from CVs, we now have LinkedIn as a medium to connect professionally (with none of the twaddle that generally goes with social media). Here, however, a picture is needed since you are asking someone to associate with you professionally. But what does one see here?

Going by the many requests one gets each week, the gamut ranges from highly professional to blank spaces (meaning, no picture). In between, there are posers, pranksters and ones who just don’t seem to care. Remember, LinkedIn is a professional platform where potential sellers meet buyers. Putting your best foot (in this case face) forward is critical.

Here are a few tips to help you along:

1. Make sure the studio does not ‘touch up’ the picture to make you look fairer or younger. Even if you are in the marriage market, this is not the time or place.

2. If you wear spectacles, use frames that are not a distraction.

3. Business attire includes a jacket and tie on a plain shirt for men; for women, appropriate business-like attire (without fancy jewellery, etc.).

The bottom-line is this: sooner or later, we will have to present a photograph of ourselves. Why not be professional about it?

– Leon Menezes
The writer is a professor-of-practice at the IBA-Karachi, a senior HR practitioner and an executive coach.