Perfect application photos

Application photos: tips for the perfect application photos

A picture is worth a thousand words: even though they really are not a must anymore, you should take the opportunity to make an impression with your application pictures. There are a few things to take into account for the perfect application photo: from choosing the photographer and the size of the pictures to where you put it in your application. The following tips will help you out.

Take the opportunity to provide an application picture

Application pictures are not obligatory in Switzerland. But does that mean you should leave them out as an applicant? Definitely not: a perfect application photo is more important than ever. It adds a human touch to a rather matter-of-fact document and distinguishes you from other applicants who haven’t included an application picture or have included a bad one. Because that's the very first thing the human resources manager looks at.

To make sure your first impression is really convincing, you should follow a few rules:

You only get professional application photos from professional photographers. In the age of digital photography and free photo editing software, good application pictures might not seem like an art anymore. But this is deceptive. A professional application photographer doesn’t just push the button at the right moment, they will also give you tips on your position, choose the right crop and put powder on shiny spots on your face. You’re best choosing a photographer who specialises in application photos – and make sure you see some sample work beforehand.

Dress for success

Just like in an interview: dress for the job you are applying for. On the application photos, take the chance to already show that you fit the company and will represent it perfectly in public. You'll usually find information on the company dress code on your desired company’s website. You will also be able to see how employees at the company dress at their trade fair stand. If you are applying for a job in finance, the clothes on your application photos should be more conservative and reserved: you can’t go wrong with an outfit or a suit in dark colours.

But be careful: even if you want to make a good impression, you shouldn’t dress in something you wouldn’t normally wear. If you don’t feel comfortable, it will come across in the application pictures.

Look and hairstyle

You can practice the right look for the application photo with a mirror or test photographs at home. You should look open and self-confident, directly into the camera. Don’t be afraid to be insistent with the photographer and only say you are satisfied when you have the perfect application photo.

Going to the hairdresser right before the photo shoot is not recommended. Very few people feel comfortable with a new haircut, and this will show in the application pictures. Your hair should not cover your face. Women with longer hair are better off pushing it back behind their shoulders. Men should avoid too much hair gel.

You should also avoid accessories that distract too much from you. For women, the following applies: please only wear subtle makeup and not much jewellery for the perfect application photo. For people who tend to blush, black and white photography is best.

The perfect frame for the perfect application photo

Both the way the picture is framed and your body posture are very important for the effect the application photos will have. You should be on the photographer’s eye level and look straight ahead. Ideally, your body should be slightly turned to the side. Make sure that your shoulders don’t take up too much room in the picture.

Where to put the picture

Traditionally, application photos appear on the upper right-hand corner of your CV. Make sure that for pictures with a slightly turned upper body, you’re not turning away from the centre of the page. The standard size of an application photo is approx. 6 x 4.5 centimetres.

Alternatively, you can add a cover sheet to your application and insert one of the application photos in a slightly larger format. If you’re feeling experimental, you can also try a landscape shot.

Although you don't have to update your application photos every month, you should make sure they're not older than a year.