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Question from a reader: the application photo

January 13, 2012 - Chris Backe
A reader writes in:
Hey,I’m presently looking for my first EFL job in Korea and have a question a about a CV. Everything in my CV is solid, I’m well qualified and have some relevant experience relating to teaching English. However I have heard that a photo is of serious importance to Korean employers in their hiring process. Taking the view that intelligent people could not possibly expect to judge a persons ability from a still image of them, I sent in a photo I took using a phone (very clearly an unprofessional photo). My question is:Do you think my chances of getting hired will be dimmed by a poor photo? Also is it true that the Korean’s do indeed take a photo very seriously. While I am not outright worried about this point, it has been playing in my mind.

I appreciate your help a great deal,

Very best,

[G.C.]
There is a relevant post to check out - http://www.chrisinsouthkorea.com/2010/11/question-from-a-reader-dress-code-and-physical-appearance - which partially answers your question. Read that, then read on :)
Looks do matter in this country – easily more here than in the Western world. While the latter have instituted laws to prevent obvious discrimination, it still happens (pretty or handsome people tend to make a higher salary than fat or ugly ones). The former, having seemingly no laws and very few court cases defining the matter, makes it up as they go. It wasn’t too long ago that the Grand Narrative translated an article about how adding singing and dancing to your hobbies could help women find jobs. If there is a law or a fear of being punished for discriminating, it’s not affecting employers.
To be clear, it happens in other countries. Prada bosses in Japan have removed the ‘old, fat, and ugly‘ from employment in their stores, while a Chinese airline recruits flight attendants that are pretty, can sing, dance, and serve as security officers. Even in the US, a Newsweek survey has shown looks matter more than where you went to school and a sense of humor.. One New York Times opinion piece places the income difference at 10 to 15 percent.
You probably could find a job with a simple photo taken with your phone. You could also throw a baseball with your good arm tied behind your back. Get a good photo taken (whether you do it yourself or ask a friend), and send that on with future applications. Make sure it’s well-lit, in focus, showing a smiling face, etc. It’s not a perfect analogy, but the acid test is if you would upload it to a dating profile. If you wouldn’t, try again.
Readers, what have your employers said about photos? 

Agoda

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