Applying in Germany: find the perfect photo for your resume!

Pictures are a worth a thousand words- and while there’s no rocket science in this statement and before you yawn away thinking it’s a cliche, the reality is that it is true. But what does an image truly convey? The subjectivity of this thought is far more critical when put in the context of a job application. Because the perception of a candidate can be severely altered because of an image and then you’re left wondering if you should have paid a little more attention.

Find the perfect photo for your resume

Applying in Germany is special in that respect as you are expected to send in your job applications and CVs with a photograph attached to it.

In many other cultures for instance in the US or UK you are not expected to have photos on your resume. However when applying in Germany, find the perfect photo for your resume- here are our tips!

Images influence how your information is perceived

Whether the HR managers or headhunters make a background check of your profile references, or glance your profile, the first thing that will be noticed invariably is visuals and thus your CV picture. So, it is important to create the right first impression because it does make a difference to their perception.

A Study from the University of Duisburg-Essen on profile pictures in social business networks like LinkedIn has assessed this perception. Based on the picture people tend to make several assumptions. In an online experiment the subjective assessment by research subjects followed the usual stereotypes in general.

This was mainly on the basis of gender, degree of attractiveness, facial expressions, and clothing. Their assessments oft resorted to stereotyped results.

What does this mean for you as a candidate? What sort of an application photo should you ensure you have to make the right impression on the headhunters?

Tips and tricks to find the perfect photo for your resume

Basically an application photo can stand all by itself. At times the profile picture can symbolize the candidate. By not just showing the face but at the same time revealing how much time, effort, consideration and professionalism is behind it.

It can be taken even to another level by some who can conclude how much the candidate may desire the job- based on his or her preparation in this matter. Is the headhunter seeing a low effort careless photo ticking just the check boxes, may make the situation rather clear about your personality. We can argue that this may not seem fair, but we are already aware that according to research appearances can make a significant difference, so why not take care and put our best foot forward?

Even if your photographs are professionally taken, here are some tips on  how to find the prefect photo for your resume:

  • It’s always good when you can choose from several portraits. Check various positions and angles before deciding.
  • Try to find a photographer – who needs to have the eye for it – to see what suits you the best. Do you smile naturally? Do you look friendly without a smile? What appears most authentic? There is no obligation to smile, if that’s not natural!
  • Choose the countenance that fits the desired position but is not fake. A forced serious look, for instance, does not stand for every manager.
  • Colored or black and white photos may be your personal preference. Sometimes, black and white may be taken as conservative and colored photos may lend more warmth, but it is purely perception based and you need to get some inputs from others if you are not sure. Usually, it is not advisable to use color filters from Instagram- leave those for your social networking challenges!
  • Know the folk wisdom: No suits may be modern, but also tricky when talking about a high flying banking career. Decide based on your industry and check with someone who was in the same industry or functional area before!
  • Do not rely on a selfie to find the perfect photo for your resume: BIG no-go!

The bottom line is: it may be an effort to find the perfect photo for your resume, but the first impression and the positive influence it can have on shaping your ‘first assessment’ can be critical.

It is also true that you will not secure a great position from a headhunter or an executive recruiter purely on the merit of a professional photograph. However, it is all about creating a lasting impression and a potential employment opportunity may still have the impact of the photo you choose. So, why take a chance?

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