Read on for our guide on getting those first impressions of your international teaching CV just right! 

Should you put a picture on your resume?

A common question getting thrown around the international teaching community is whether you should include a picture on your CV.  While those in the UK and US might find it unusual to place a photograph on their international teaching application it is commonplace in other countries. We have taken out the confusion for you. It’s absolutely not essential, but a friendly, professional, smiling face is always lovely to see. 

When you are setting up your Teacher Horizons profile page you may wish to complete it by adding a professional profile photo. Our candidates’ profiles are only accessible to schools who have been screened by us and are eligible to use our Teacher Horizons recruitment services.

We have written other blogs on writing an international CV but one part which is sometimes overlooked is getting that first impression just right. This includes the photo – if it is something you choose to include. As we all know, first impressions are incredibly important. 

If you do decide to include a photo on your CV or your Teacher Horizons profile, then we want you to get it just right, and in doing so, give yourself the very best chance at getting an interview with your dream international school. That’s why we have pulled expertise from our team to give you some advice. Through our combined experience in recruitment, teaching, and international senior leadership, our team has a uniquely trained eye for this kind of thing. 

What kind of photo should I use on my resume? Do’s and Don’ts for your International CV Photos from our Experts! 

Our Operations Manager gives the pro tip of including an up to date photo! “We sometimes have issues with candidates having really old pictures so they look a lot younger than they are and this can be deceiving for schools”

Maggie2IMG_0448DON’T: Use a selfie 

Everyone loves a good selfie, we all know that. According to data from Samsung, selfies make up almost one-third of all photos taken by people aged 18-24! But it’s important to remember that this profile is on Teacher Horizons, not Facebook. Schools want to see a professional picture, not half of your arm and your face at an odd angle.

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 14.28.59Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 14.28.59 DO: Ensure the rotation is correct on your international school CV picture

When you upload to your Teacher Horizons profile from a smartphone, we often find it rotates your picture sideways for some strange reason. Having a sideway picture definitely doesn’t give the impression you are tech savvy! Try to upload from your computer, or alternatively, the next chance you get, log in on a computer and check it’s upright. To rotate the picture is easy enough, just download it and rotate it, then re-upload. If you are struggling to do this, email our tech team at and they will sort it for you.

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DON’T: Use a photo with babies or animals on your international CV Picture

Animals are cute, but schools will not be impressed by a picture of you and your cat or dog. This isn’t Tinder! Secondly, it is important to schools that you can build good relationships with your students, but don’t use a picture of you and your class, to get this across. Posting photos of students online is actually illegal without the permission of the parents, so do be careful!

WIN_20170816_08_10_00_Pro (2)WIN_20170816_08_08_49_Pro (2)DO: Wear something smart 

If you went to an interview, what would you wear? Whatever it is, put that on for your picture. We suggest men wear a shirt and tie (jacket optional) and women wear a smart top or shirt. Feel free to wear pyjamas on your bottom half… no one will ever know!


 DON’T: Be really far away 

Take a head and shoulders shot. That way you are close up to the camera and schools don’t have to squint to see you. We suggest a similar shot to a passport photo, but smart, and smiling. You’re allowed to show teeth!

2017-07-31 11.13.57JBS Headshot photoDO: Check your background and lighting

Make sure you don’t have a window or bright light behind you, it makes you look like a silhouette. Similarly, if the light is right above you, it can make you look weary and tired. Test out the lighting in a few different places and use the best shot. In terms of background, a blank wall is good, but don’t feel limited to it, we also think a school or classroom background can be strong. Either way though, make it minimal, as you don’t want to detract from your lovely self!


DON’T: Be at a social event

The profile picture should be is a formal picture taken for the purpose of highlighting professionality. We find that lots of teachers put up shots of themselves at a wedding, since they are dressed smartly, but often that comes with a glass of champagne or surrounding family members. We would recommend taking that 5 minutes to delve into your cupboard and find similarly smart clothes, then ask someone to take another shot of just you.

DO: Ensure it is a clear, non-pixelated shot 

This goes along with the social events issue. If you use a photo already taken, you often have to crop out that glass of wine, or the other people nearby. This changes the resolution of the shot and can make it blurred or funny shaped. Save yourself the hassle of Photoshop, and just take a new one!

Ryan1imageDON’T: Take a picture of a picture for your international teaching CV

Speaking of passport photos, we often see people taking photos of the photo page of their passport. This just looks a little odd, and is often bad quality. It also may come across as a bit lazy, so upload a proper one.


 DO: Smile

Schools do love to see your personality shine through, so put on your best smile. Maybe imagine you got the job, use that face and that feeling, then 1,2,3 click!

Teacher Horizons has a wealth of information for teachers looking for international school jobs, from Skype interview tips to International CV advice

Not a member yet? Join Teacher Horizons for free and find your next dream job.

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Teacher Horizons Blog Manager and Recruitment Adviser.
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