Idea in short

Not only the contents of your application have to be right. Take advantage of the opportunity to make a personal impression and reinforce your documents with a professional photo. Both your professional skills and the personal impression you make are important to hiring managers. Remember, the first impression counts! The viewer will look at your photo first, before reading your application. A photo that fulfills all these requirements need not be taken by a professional photographer, but it always helps to seek the services of a professional.

With a good application photo, an applicant can make a serious and competent impression before the first encounter with the interviewer. Though it is no longer obligatory to include a picture as part of your application package, it can help put a face behind your name. The interviewer can derive an impression through a picture and correlate your personality with the data from the rest of your application. In order for the photo to prove beneficial, however, some basic errors should be avoided.

Full body pictures

In most professions, it is not important to present your entire physique in a picture. The traditional half-portrait is sufficient.

Wrong clothes

Wear appropriate business clothes while taking your portrait. The clothing should be clean and wrinkle-free. Your clothing should also fit the job you are applying to. A conservative appearance is appropriate in most cases. However, if you work in an industry that demands creativity, then you can get away with a somewhat relaxed attire.

Too much jewelry & makeup

Strong colors, too much contrast and lush jewelry appear obtrusive in portraits; they do not make a serious impression. Make-up should be discreet and natural.

Wrong hair style

Your hair should be combed and business-like. If required, get a hair cut before taking your picture. Women with long hair should also comb their hair before taking a professional photo; open hair often does not look as competent as combed hair.

No eye contact

The eye contact in the photo is important to connect with the viewer.

Closed smile

Whoever smiles with closed lips runs the risk of appearing shy and closed. Depending on the occupation, a serious and determined smile is in order. However, you should not come across as feeling bored.

Restless background

Poorly chosen background designs often look like a sloppy snapshot rather than a professional photo.

Size and format

Standard formats for professional photos are 6×4 and 9×6 cm. The portrait format is well suited for most scenarios. The cross-format can also be selected for other scenarios. As a rule of thumb, the profile photo should not be older than two years.

Summary

  • Current: The application photo must be current, people do want to know what you currently look like and not 15 years ago
  • Groomed appearance: Low-key make-up for women and clean-shaven for men is advisable. A natural smile also comes across well
  • Neat clothes: Dress the same way you would to attend an interview. Select a fashionable low-key outfit that suits your character and the advertised role. Not every outfit will be appropriate for every company
  • Format: The photo size should be at least c. 5x4cm. A portrait photo is ideal; a full-length shot or a very large photo can easily appear arrogant or boastful
  • Quality: The photo should be high quality. Please avoid webcam snapshots with a backdrop of garish 70's wallpaper. And, never attach a wedding, holiday or leisure photo to the application!