Should I Include a Photo on my German CV? Tips & Advice

Should I Include a Photo on my German CV? Tips & Advice

The simple answer is: YES!

There was some discussion about introducing anonymous CVs or resumes without names or photos like in the United States in order to avoid discrimination. But this debate is over for the moment. Putting your photo on your CV in Germany is very important. All the candidates do it! But you should also have a professional picture!

As you will see, it's not just a matter of quickly putting a photo on your CV, there are also some rules to know so that your picture becomes an asset for your resume!

Why should you put a photo on your CV? What does it bring?

If you are unsure about it (and still need to be convinced), here are a few reasons to convince you to include your photo in your resume:

  • Everyone has their photo on their resume in Germany and Austria. Not having it on your resume could work against you.
  • A photo makes a resume more personal and memorable. Indeed, a photo remains in memory and makes a greater impression than simple lines of text. When a recruiter opens your CV a second or third time, he or she will remember you immediately by seeing your photo.
  • A photo in which you appear smiling and friendly can give the recruiter a favorable impression and slightly influence his or her judgment later in your favor (this is a psychological bias).
  • A photo can also give the recruiter an idea of your style and personality and indicate whether you correspond to the expectations and culture of the company (see below our tips for making your photo an asset).

Of course, a photo is not legally mandatory but it is strongly recommended to add one.

Tips for making your photo an asset to your CV (size, format and requirements)

While almost all candidates include a photo on their CV, it is very rare to see a very good quality photo on a CV (especially on CVs made by non-German people). Photos are often poorly framed, badly exposed, zoomed in too much or not enough, pixelated... So having an impeccable photo can help you stand out from the crowd and stand out from other applicants.

Here are our tips to make sure your photo is perfect:

  • Make sure the photo reflects your personality and matches the expectations of the company you are applying to (2 things that in theory should more or less coincide). If you are applying to an investment bank, don't choose a casual photo of yourself in a t-shirt, but rather in a suit and tie with a perfect hairstyle. On the other hand, if you are applying for a creative position, don't look stuck in a suit on your photo but emphasize your originality. Do you get the idea? This advice also gives the answer to a lot of other questions (that we have been sent, it's true) like "On my resume photo, should I choose one with or without a beard? With or without a tie? With or without glasses? With or without a smile? etc.
  • Go for a professional photo (taken by a photographer or possibly a friend with a good quality camera). It makes a much better impression! All Germans do that!
  • Make yourself look good: smile and look friendly (this is not a passport photo)
  • Choose a neutral, plain background (white, light or dark grey) and avoid having objects in the background.
  • Make sure that the lighting and exposure are perfect to avoid that some parts of your face are shaded (which happens in full sun).
  • Framing is also very important: a good rule of thumb is to frame the photo from the shoulders to the top of the head.
  • Take a three-quarter pose and not a frontal one (which is very photo booth-like) while looking at the lens.
  • Shoot at or just below eye level and tilt your chin down very slightly.

If you use a professional photographer, ask him or her not to show too much and not to make the photo look too staged or too "I'm a model" (which is often the case in German resumes). Ideally, the photo should look natural and spontaneous while being of good quality.

How to put a photo on your resume in Word?

Nothing could be simpler: click on Insert > Images then select your photo. Then, so that it appears in the right place, choose from the layout options: by default "aligned with the text".

Sometimes the easiest way is to choose "behind the text" or "in front of the text" to place the photo where you want it, avoiding that it automatically realigns itself according to the text (which is sometimes a bit annoying...).

Jerome Feys

Jerome Feys

Job in Berlin's Founder

As a recruitment expert and founder of Job in Berlin, I have corrected over 1,000 resumes. Since 2015, I've been sharing my expertise and delivering tips on resume and cover letter writing, as well as techniques for a successful job interview.

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