Korean CV pictures

The other day I talked about Korean CV pictures with someone and how there is a distinct “CV-picture-look” in Korea. I hadn’t seen enough CV pictures to really think that much about the specifics beforehand, but there really is! Whether or not a picture even belongs in a CV is an entirely different discussion, but since the requirement is there for now, I’m also aware that I need a good CV picture for my Korean CV (my current picture is fine, but it’s also about 5 years old so I probably should have a new one taken). Now to the actual point of confusion: Photoshop is used quite liberally in Korea.

I’m not sure I understand why, though. I understand that people want to look their best, but isn’t the best case scenario is that you get called in for an interview and end up getting the job. Wouldn’t it be awkward if the interviewer or your new boss doesn’t recognise you because you don’t actually look like your picture?

One thing is smoothing out a complexion, which has flared up on picture-day, but the handiwork doesn’t end there for some. Apparently I look different enough in pictures if I just take off my glasses and let down my hair to be able to confuse even my mother in some cases. I cannot imagine what would happen if I decided to unleash someone tech-savvy on my photos. They might end up great, but maybe also not looking like me, which sort of defies the purpose of a CV picture.

What about you? Have you had pictures adjusted? What did you fix and why?


6 thoughts on “Korean CV pictures

  1. Rob Oakley

    LOL – In my Company you can look at your colleagues profile photo in their contact details, so I used to check before a meeting so I would know who people were at the meeting – but they NEVER look like their Photo’s… Also the photo on the ID cards, does not look anything like the person – which always amuses me…But in Korea ~~ this is normal!

    1. koreanlearner Post author

      It’s interesting that it is considered perfectly normal. In my company some people have more accurate ID-pictures than others, but normally there are two possible reasons for people looking different in real life and their photos: 1) they have aged a few decades since the picture was taken on their first day, 2) The care-taker had a bad photography-day and opted for a prison-style photo.
      I’ve been told I’m one of the lucky ones who has a good photo (even if it isn’t the best photo of me). But at least people’s first reaction isn’t “wow, Albanian mafia?”

  2. Rob Oakley

    I had to get some passport photo’s re-done because they had photoshopped them. They would never have been accepted !! – Trying to explain that I didn’t want them to alter the way I looked … was challenging!

    1. koreanlearner Post author

      Hahaha oh no. In my imagination it went down like this: “But it *has* to look like me, it’s for a passport!” “But it’s just an “improved” version. You don’t want “improved”???”.

      Is it standard that pictures are airbrushed before people get the print-outs whether they ask for it or not? Imagine getting photos done professionally for a big event like a wedding and then when you see the pictures your first reaction is “does my nose really look like that?”.

      1. Rob Oakley

        Wow – were you there? That’s pretty much it!
        In my experience the small passport photo’s always get post processing – wedding albums all look like catalogue photoshoots… My daughter is 5 – and beautiful and they airbrushed her – lol.. so i think it is pretty standard!

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