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Should A Resume Have References

Use References Available Upon Request Sparingly

Should You Include References On Your Resume?

References and relevant experience give potential employers an accurate estimate of how well you operate in a real-life setting. If you have them, dont be shy to show them off.

Also, prospective employers will almost always ask for references, so you can save everyone some time and avoid unnecessary back and forth by indicating the contact info right from the get-go.

However, if you plan on indicating the references available upon request line on your resume to limit the people contacting your references, I suggest going with a different strategy.

Yes, you might not have bad intentions. Unfortunately, carelessly using references available upon request comes off negatively to most hiring specialists, plus you cant really explain the reason behind your choice, right?

A good alternative here is to use emails instead of contact numbers. The former is far less intrusive. This tip best suits individuals who feel uncomfortable about having multiple HR personnel bug their chosen references on background checks and such.

Dr. Talaya Waller

Founder, Waller & Company

When To Put References On A Resume

So, if it is typically not expected to have references included on an initial resume, when is the best time to include references on a resume?

Creating a reference section or page can be necessary depending on a number of situations, including:

  • If the employer has specifically requested for references to be included in the job description
  • If you have progressed further down the hiring process and have been asked to provide references before or after an interview
  • If you are applying to governmental or institutional position, such as a federal job, that will require strong references and a background check

Quick Tip: If you have impressive references, such as a company CEO or another recognizable figure, be sure to make these the most noticeable references and the first ones you list in your reference section.

Overall, the golden rule is to wait to provide references until they are requested.

How Many References Should You Include

How many references you have really depends on your prior experience and the job that you are applying for.

If you have just graduated, and have limited experience, it is perfectly acceptable to have 3 or 4 references.

However, if you have worked for a long time and are applying for an executive role, you should have at least 5, even up to 7 references.

However, read the job posting carefully.

If your potential employer says that they want 4, then provide them with 4.

You do not want to make it look like you are already not following their instructions.

Top Tip: If you provide 7 references, remember that your potential employer may only contact a few people. Ensure that your references are solid as stand-alone references, rather than as a group as you do not know who will be contacted.

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Why Not To Include References Available Upon Request In Your Cv

Whilst including the text references available upon request wont damage your application, there are some important things to consider before adding it in:

1. Lengthens the hiring process While including this phrase can extend more control to you, its important to take into account that this creates more work for the hiring manger who now has to get in touch with you for the full details. If hiring managers are in a rush to hire a new candidate, they may go with applicant who already has all their details ready and available.

2. Its irrelevant – Many people may include references available upon request to highlight that they have references at the ready. However, every hiring manager will expect a candidate to have references. It would be better to remove this unnecessary sentence and maximise the limited space you have available in your CV.

3. Its not a strong way to close your sales pitch You want to set your CV apart from other candidates and finish it on a high point to be remembered. Adding such a phrase isnt going to help you achieve that. Instead, having information that is useful to the hiring manager, such as the contact details of the references who can vouch for the skills and experience you have listed in your resume can be more beneficial.

How To List References On Resume

Resume references

Your resume references arent the deciding factor for whether or not you land your next job position. That being said, there are right and wrong ways for listing your references on a resume.

In the case you want to include references, they should only be on the second page of your resume. Otherwise, as mentioned, completely omit them from your application in the first place.

So, what should the resume references section look like?

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What Should I Put For Additional Information On A Resume

What should I put for additional information on a resume? Types of additional information to include on your resume

  • Certifications and licenses.

Hereof, What should I put for additional skills on a resume?

These are the key skills you should include in your resume:

  • Creativity.
  • Teamwork Skills.
  • Communication.

Similarly What should I put in the additional comments section of an application? How to use the Additional Comments boxes

  • Explain a course choice.
  • Highlight or explain grade trends

How To Ask Someone To Be A Reference For You

Please, please, PLEASE don’t be the person who just writes down a few people’s names and never tells them.

Even if you know they’d be fine with it, they will be totally unprepared to get that call and a flustered reference is a bad reference.

You’re giving them no time to prepare, to get their story straight, to think about how to pitch you. You know who that ends up hurting?


On top of giving you a better shot of landing the role, asking people ahead of time is just the polite thing to do.

It also gives you a chance to verify their contact info, current job title, etc. so you can make sure your potential employer gets in touch with them the first time.

The good news is, it’s super easy to make the ask. All you have to do is write a quick email asking that person to be a reference for you. Heres an example of the exact email template that I used to reach out to people:

Resume References Permission Email Template

Hi ,

Hope you’re having an awesome week!

I’m reaching out because I’m in the final stages of the interview process for a role and I wanted to be prepared with some references.

I really enjoyed the work we did on the and I would be super grateful if you would be up to speak with the hiring manager about the work we did there.

If you’re up for it, let me know! If not, that’s totally fine. Either way, have an awesome rest of the week!


Now hit Send!

Once you fire off a few of these and get responses, youll have a reference list ready to go!

Also Check: Email Resume To Recruiter

Follow The Instructions Listed In The Job Description

My advice for job candidates about whether or not to include references on their resume is to follow the instructions listed in the job description. Some listings have specific, clear instructions about references.

These include the number of references you need to submit, the nature of their relationship with you, and the contact information for each reference. Other listings may not require you to mention your references just yet.

They may require going through a few initial interviews and perhaps a panel interview prior to reaching out to your references. Follow the instructions for every job listing as they differ from listing to listing.

In the meantime, make sure you have solid references and have prepped these references to be aware they may be contacted to speak about what its like to work alongside you.

Nick Drewe

Founder & CEO, Wethrift

Before You Submit Your References

Should I include references on my resume?

Listing your references on the page isn’t your last step in this process. If you haven’t already, ask permission from each of your references. It’s important only to submit the names of people who have agreed to serve as a reference.

Even if all of your references are happy to be on your list, it’s a good idea to provide a heads-up that someone may be reaching out to them to ask about you. This is a great opportunity to share some information about the job you’re applying for, provide some key points from your resume that you’d like them to emphasize, and generally remind them about your skills and accomplishments, especially if it’s been a while since you worked together.

Once you’ve done all that, review the list of references one last time to make sure there are no typos and that all contact information is correct and up to date. Here are some helpful proofreading tips for job seekers.

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Determine Who Should Be A Reference On Your Resume

How do you decide? Well, it depends on the circumstances.

Do you currently have a job? Maybe youre interested in finding a more rewarding position or just seeing whats out there.

In this case, dont list your boss as a reference.

Doing so might put you at risk.

Although potential employers should request permission beforehand, you dont want to take the chance of your employer knowing about your plans.

Are you in between jobs?

Then its fine if you list a previous employer as a reference. Only if youre certain theyll give you a glowing testimonial, though.

Either way, pick referees that put you in the best light possible.

For example, If youre not on good terms with a previous supervisor, pick a coworker that would speak highly of you.

Avoid personal references as their opinions of you are biased. Go for professional references such as your current or former managers, colleagues, professors, and even customers. List the most recent, relevant references.

Normally, the hiring managers arent interested in referees youve worked with 15 years ago.

Take A Pass On The Personal Stuff: Marital Status Religious Preference And Social Security Numbers

This might’ve been the standard in the past, but all of this information is now illegal for your employer to ask you so there’s no need to include it. It will likely only hurt your chances of getting the position more than it would help you, says Catherine Jewell, author of the book New Résumé, New Career.

Another piece of personal information you should never include on your resume is your social security number, Sara Player, client support specialist for, told us. Player isn’t actually sure why people decide to include their social security numbers, but she knows she sees it all too often and it’s unnecessary, not to mention, a little risky.

Recommended Reading: How Many References To Include

How To Write References On A Cv

Important guidelines to follow when writing your CV references:

  • Your references must include the following details about each of your referees: full name, job title, address, telephone number and email address.
  • Ask permission of your referees before you give their details to recruiters. This will also make them aware that they might receive a phone call about you.
  • State the job title of your references. Without it, they could be just your mates or any Tom, Dick and Harry!
  • Do not disclose personal telephone numbers but instead, use your referees work telephone number .
  • Use your most recent employer as a reference, as is common practice. Otherwise, an employer may wonder Why didnt he/she include his/her most recent employer as a reference? What has this person got to hide?
  • As A General Rule You Should Never Put That Phrase Anymore

    8 Amazing Reference On Resume Sample

    Times have changed a lot, and what worked before doesnt necessarily mean it will still work now. Like the time-old phrase References Available Upon Request, which we usually see in resumes. This was even required by some companies before!

    But now that were shifting to a one-page resume, theres just no more space left for that.

    As a general rule, you should never put that phrase anymore. People expect that you have references and companies will ask for them when the time comes. Putting it in your resume just makes it look old and redundant. You dont want to give out that impression.

    Its even worse if you put your references in your resume.

    Its a good idea to compile a list of resume references from prior employers who can attest to your qualifications and expertise. However, because you want to know when your references will be contacted, you shouldnt put the list on your resume .

    Your references arent going to like having their contact information on every resume you send out to hundreds of employers.

    If you leave your references off your resume, the recruiting manager will have to contact you to let you know they want to contact them. That way, youll have enough time to alert your references, telling them to expect a call and providing any additional information youd like them to provide about your experience.

    Also, if you just recently graduated, you might want to let your potential employer know that you do have references available when needed.

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    You Absolutely Should Not Put References Available Upon Request On Your Resume

    Why? It takes up valuable resume real estate for something that doesnt convey value to those reading it. If the employer wants references, theyll ask.

    Theres one big exception to this rule: If youre running low on things to fill a page and youve done everything you can with formatting to fill the space, you can use this resume trope to fill a little dead space.

    Just remember, however, that it is just thatdead space.

    Luis Rolon

    HR Partner, Resume-Now

    Who Can Be My References On Resume

    To make your resume stand out, you must choose your resume references wisely.

    Check your resume references for any abrupt references before you send it!

    The references on resume must be applicable to the job you are applying for. Professional resume references are considered the best for a resume.

    This list of references should not be of family relations. Personal references are generally not recommended.

    It shows that you could not find enough professional references. The recruiter might think that your industry background is weak.

    The best references to add are working professionals. They must be related to the industry to which you are applying. But they should be unrelated to you .

    It is very impressive if you have a diverse list of references.

    Quick Tip: You can use LinkedIn as a resource to verify the job titles! The employer will also get a fair idea of the job profiles. Your sincerity and genuineness will also shine!

    Recommended Reading: How To Include Linkedin On Resume

    How Many References Should I Have

    Three is the minimum number of references to include on your job application. The employer may be able to form a thorough impression of you as a candidate after listening to diverse perspectives. However, the number of references required may depend on the role and the company. For example, if you’re applying for a senior position for a government agency, the employer may require you to list six or seven references with your application. Contemplate individuals in your professional network who know you well as an employee and list at least three you can contact for your job search.

    Related:Types of References and How To Get Them

    Do You Really Need References

    Should You Include References on Your Resume? | Resume Tips

    There are some situations that don’t always require references:

    • Jobs you were referred to

    • Certain entry-level positions

    • Companies with limited hiring resources

    When you get recommended for a job by someone at the company, you sometimes bypass the reference requirement: someone has already vouched for you. Here is how to ask for a job referral, including templates to use for emails and LinkedIn messages.

    Some companies hiring for entry-level jobs understand that entry-level candidates may not have any useful references. Sometimes you can identify these jobs by looking for a “no references required” note on the job description. Other times, you just won’t be asked for references at any point. In either case, it’s still a good idea to have a professional reference page available, just in case.

    Finally, some companies simply don’t have the capacity to check references. This might be a startup, or a small business that has one person for hiring, HR, operations, and accounting.

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    When Should I Include References On My Cv

    1. When requested by the employer

    Some employers may request your cover letter, CV, references and/or recommendation letters as part of the first stages of the job application process .

    If this is the case, you must provide your references to the employer, either through their job application form or by including it on your CV. Most employers, however, will not ask for this information until the later stages of the selection process.

    2. To impress the recruiter

    Your reference may be a respectable and well-known person who would impress the reader an MP, dean of a university, director of a famous company or a person who has received an honorary award .

    3. To make things easy for the recruiter

    Including your referees on your CV makes life easier for some employers who may want to speak to your references before the interview stage.

    By providing this information beforehand, they can instantly check you out at any stage of the selection process. Remember, recruiters are under no obligation only to contact your referees after the job interview stage.

    4. To gives your CV more credibility

    Psychologically-speaking, adding references gives your CV a little more weight and credibility because it demonstrates that you are confident of your own track-record and that you have people who will vouch for your suitability for the job whenever required.

    It also gives the impression that you have nothing to hide .

    5. To fill up blank space


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