With the jobs market as competitive as it is at the moment, it might be tempting to think that you can stand out from the other candidates by including a picture of yourself on your CV. Especially if you are a mega babe in the manner of, say, a Ryan Gosling. Or a Javier Bardem. Or an intriguing combination of the two for that matter.

Opinion in the GoThinkBig offices is totally divided – with some taking the view that no harm can be done by showing a future employer what you look like and rest of us adamant that a CV should never have a photo on it. Ever. Under any circumstances.

So clearly we need some definitive answers before we risk starting World War Three in our offices – and who better to give them to us than a CV writing expert? Jeremy I’Anson is a professional careers coach and the author of You’re Hired! Total Job Search. Here’s what he had to say:  

“In the UK the convention is NOT to attach a photograph to a CV. The main reason for this is discrimination legislation because a photograph may influence the recruiter’s hiring decision based on looks, age or ethnicity.

“However, in other parts of the worlds (like in continental Europe) it is much more common and some industries will see more photos on CVs than others. In PR, advertising and other jobs in the media, people might assume that your ‘look’ is an important factor of the job – but if you insist on having a photo on your CV it’s important to choose the right style of photo.

“For most of the professions the formal portrait is going to be only real option. For other industries a less formal photo will be acceptable but in most cases the photo should be a head and shoulders shot rather than full length. But remember that a lot of recruiters actually remove photos from CVs before passing them on to their clients, so you might be wasting your time.

“Be warned – I remember receiving a CV from a candidate based in Geneva in Switzerland who had attached a professional fashion photo of herself. This was rather surprising as she was applying for a very senior role as a Project Director with one of my clients in the airline industry. I nearly put her CV to one side because I immediately assumed she wouldn’t be suitable for the job, but when I looked at her CV more closely I realised she’d be great for the job. I removed her photo and, sure enough, she got it!

“Without wishing to sound too sceptical, I would say that rather than agonising over which photo to include in the CV, your time would be better spent concentrating on the actual content. If you want my advice – leave it off completely. You don’t want to wonder if you got the job for your looks or your talent.”

If you’re looking for more advice on making your CV stand out, check out these features: