Calling Afghanistan

Last night my time, early morning Kabul time, I called two NGOs to which I applied for jobs. At the first NGO, I could barely hear the guy who answered the phone, and I was then put on hold for a while, during which time, to my extreme amusement, carousel music played. Finally, I was told that my application was being reviewed and I’d hear back the first week in April. When I called the second NGO, a very nice guy in HR told me that I’d hear back on my application in a month, maybe two, depending on promotions and resignations within the organization.


A quick question for those of you who know better. Should I put a thumbnail photo of myself on my CV? This is not something people usually do in the US, but I’m aware that it’s common elsewhere. Good idea or bad idea?

(In photos, I either look like a goofy fourteen year old, or about a decade older than I am, there seems to be no middle ground.)


OR, I could go with a photo of myself with a smiley face photo-shopped where my head should be.

9 thoughts on “Calling Afghanistan

  1. I’ve always verged against it, being a Canadian North American because, I think, it clashes with my culturally embeded dreams of equality and a fair selection process. Including my photo seems a crass way to suggest to the panel that I am handsome/mature/well-groomed/white enough to meet their requirements – none of which I think is actually relevant to the conduct of my job.
    But I know very well that in Latin America and Europe it is common. What I don’t know is whether those who don’t append a photo are viewed, in those places, as suspicious or unusual.
    When applying to jobs in Europe, my way of handling this has become to include a brief note at the end suggesting something to the effect of: “Additional references, documentation & information gladly provided upon request”. I’m not sure if this’ll help, but to me that encompases my willingness to provide academic transcripts, character references, photos, health records or whatever else they require that I don’t volunteer on my résumé.
    If you have to put a photo on, err on the side of maturity. As a young-looking 30-year old, I still spend a lot of time convincing people that I am qualified and experienced enough to do things – the last thing I need is to not even make it in the door by having a juvenile-looking photo.

  2. Yeah, I haven’t included it in any applications anywhere since I applied to a job in Europe two years ago. When I was there, people constantly told me that I was more likely to be hired if the hiring manager could connect a “real face” with the application. Not something anyone does in the US, and generally pretty appalling to Americans, but I understood that there was no malign intent behind it. Applying for jobs in Afghanistan got me thinking about it again –that nagging little voice telling me my lack of a photo might cost me a chance with a French or Danish NGO– but, it being Afghanistan I was applying to, I was even more torn on the matter than before.

  3. I don’t think no photo will prejudice your application at all. ACTED would be a good outfit to work for, but they are pretty hard core in terms of their postings.

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