We always recommend not having a photo at all for CVs and job applications because there is a lot of room for choosing the wrong photo. But we realise that some companies in Malaysia require this as part of their application process. So if you absolutely have to submit a photo, here are some important guidelines:

1) Show your face clearly

Look facing the camera, don’t pose and try to look overly “glamourous”. Simple is good, clear view of your face, almost like a passport photo.

2) Look friendly

You’re allowed to smile in your job application photo, its not for your passport or IC. Don’t overdo it though, if your smile is too big you might come across as not being professional. We recommend a good soft smile, and make sure they can see your eyes clearly, as it creates comfort and the feeling of friendliness.

3) No accessories

No hats, sunglasses, bling bling etc. Keep it simple.

4) Dress professionally

For men, we recommend a clean professional looking collared shirt, you don’t need a suit and tie. For the ladies, please no bare shoulders, although not all jobs and employers may think like this but you may come across as unprofessional to some. Stick to a simple shirt or blouse.

5) Clean background

Have a simple white background, if we can see your kitchen or sofa behind it, it’s really not that great.

6) Use a good camera

Avoid using a smart phone, unless it’s got a really good camera and you’re good at editing the photo later to make it look sharper and more professional. Use a decent camera.

7) Bright lighting

No one likes dark photos, again comes across as too casual, and gives the impression you didn’t make enough effort and may not be that serious.

8) No selfies please!!!

I’ve seen selfies on CVs, it’s really really not cool, get someone to snap the photo for you, and if you can’t find anyone, go out more and make more friends.



Posted by Derek Toh

Derek is the founder and CEO of WOBB.CO. He was part of the pioneer batch for the Stanford-MaGIC Entrepreneurship Program, and is also a mentor for McKinsey & Company's Youth Leadership Academy. Derek is on a mission to revolutionise work culture in Asia. He cares about initiatives that improve education and the talent market. Derek is also a big fan of superhero movies, and has been told that he drinks too much coffee during the day.