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Should A Resume Include References

Why Not To Include References Available Upon Request In Your Cv

Should I include references on my resume?

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 Deal With Professional References

Having said all that, great professional references could be the secret sauce that seals the deal. If you were a speechwriter for President Barack Obama, hopefully that would appear somewhere in your employment history, and possibly in your summary. But if your friend Barack has offered to vouch for you to future employers, think twice before you include his private email and personal cellphone on your public resume.

You could include this info in a separate attachment, or even as part of your cover letter. But does it belong in your public resume? Most experts would say no, and Barack Obama would probably agree.

Don’t Include Your Current Business Contact Info

Amdur writes at

“This is not only dangerous, it’s stupid. Do you really want employers calling you at work? How are you going to handle that? Oh, and by the way, your current employer can monitor your e-mails and phone calls. So if you’re not in the mood to get fired, or potentially charged with theft of services , then leave the business info off.”

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Your Job Search References

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Okay, so youve done all of the hard stuff. You updated your resume, applied to countless jobs, went on so many interviews and now its paid off you have a job offer pending review of your references. But youve planned in advance and already have your references lined up, right? Probably not, but its not too late to start now.

There are a few things you need to think about when making your references list, such as:

  • Do you know if the individual will give you a good reference?
  • Do you have 3-4 people who are willing to do this for you?
  • Do you have all of your references information ?
  • Most important did you ask them if they will provide a reference?

Your references can make or break you. They must be representative of your career and social networks. The general rule of thumb is to avoid relatives, but you should definitely leverage friends of the family. You also should have a fair representation of peers, subordinates, and managers. But wait a minute, there is more to references than just giving a list of names. What happens if the hiring manager runs a reference check on you or if they call people who are not on your list? Read on.

How To Format A Resume References Section

Resume References Template / Creating A Reference List For ...

Learning how to arrange a reference section is just as vital as other sections of your resume or cover letter.

A messy, carelessly formatted reference page will lose your employer’s interest.

So how do you write one thats eye-catching and professional?

First, put your references on a . Add an exclusive reference page, as the last page of your resume.

Keep the same format for your reference sheet as your resume and cover letter, meaning use the same font, margins, and color scheme.

  • Start off at the very top with your name, address, and phone number. You should place this information on that side of the page that fits the look of your cover letter and resume. .
  • Next, write the date. Then start with your employer’s information in this specific order: name, job position, company name, and company address.
  • Finally, follow up with a preferred title/subtitle: name the section References or Professional References.
  • If youve included personal references as well, you could also add Personal References as a subtitle.

    Use the formatting we discussed in the previous section to list your references.

    Ditch the common References available upon request.

    This is a frequent mistake. Employers formerly know this and its an overworked phrase. The general rule of thumb is to keep your resume as brief as possible. Why misuse the space?

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    Read The Application Instructions

    Read the application instructions carefully, as the employer likely mentions references. If not, you don’t need to provide them on your resume or in your cover letter. The application instructions also may have important information about other aspects of your resume and references, like the format your resume should be and how many references the hiring manager may want you to have.

    Its Unfair To Circulate Other Peoples Info Online

    Whenever Ive seen candidates list references on their CV, they usually do so like this:

    As you can see there is some key personal information on that person, sitting on a document that will be distributed online, uploaded to websites and possibly seen by hundreds of people.

    This could potentially leave the individual at risk of receiving unsolicited calls from less scrupulous recruiters.


    Because a small minority of recruiters will look at your CV and see those reference details as a person who could be in a position to hire staff, and view them as a potential new client.

    They will then cold call them to pitch their services to them.

    If you want to maintain good relationships with your previous managers, you probably wouldnt want to put them in a position where they are being cold called off the back of your CV.

    Note: I stress that the vast majority of recruitment consultants do not use this tactic but during my time working in the industry I have seen it happen.

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    Words Phrases And Formatting

    Do not label your resume with the word “resume.” One look at your resume, and the employer should know what type of document it is. Also, don’t use “resume” as the filename when you save the file. Use your name, so the hiring manager will know whose resume it is at a glance. For example, JaneDolanResume.docx or JaneDolanResume.pdf.

    Some people make the mistake of dating their resumes. The employer does not need to know when you wrote your resume the dates you include regarding past education and employment are the only dates you need to have.

    The rule of thumb for what not to include is, When in doubt, leave it out.

    Avoid saying what you did not do or have not yet accomplished focus instead on what you have done or are in the process of achieving. For example, if you are still in college, do not say “not yet graduated,” but instead list the year you will graduate. If you didn’t graduate, list the dates you attended.

    Instead of saying that you have “limited experience” in administrative work, provide examples of your previous experience.

    You may hear that you should give an objective statement that states what you are seeking in a job. This is outdated advice: instead, write a career summary, profile or branding statement highlighting what you can offer the employer.

    When To Put References On A Resume

    Should You Include References On Your 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.

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    Do References Actually Get Checked

    Yes, if you got to the interview stage its likely that your referees will be contacted. I recommend that you fully expect your referees to be checked.

    Whats more, the savvier employers will treat the reference check as an opportunity to conduct a mini-interview of your referees, probing for your weaknesses and fleshing out any concerns they may have about your application.

    How Many References Should You Include In Your Resume

    Though there really isnt a written rule anywhere about how many references you should include, the most fitting number would be three to five.

    Based on your career level though, there is a general division of two groups:

    Regular and/or first-time job seekers, should usually provide 3 to 4.

    Whereas people applying for senior roles should include a longer list: about 5 to 7 references.

    In that case, its sufficient to list one reference for all the different points in your professional record.

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    When Should You Include References On A Resume

    You should never include references on a resume or a cover letter. Your professional references should be a separate template.

    The only time you should include a reference page with your resume is if the listing specifically asks for one. You will find that most jobs donât however, always double-check the instructions as to what the employer wants you to submit. Usually if an employer is asking for references on a job application, you should submit the information as a separate document.

    Start With Your Personal Details

    Resume references sample 2010

    Provide your personal information.

    Start your reference list with your name, phone number, and email address, just as it appears on your resume and cover letter.

    Add a simple line under your contact information to clearly separate it from the rest of the information on the page.

    Below your personal information, add a title such as “references” or “professional references.”

    Select your most relevant references.

    Most employers, if they ask for references, will limit you to three, so you will need to carefully and wisely select the most relevant references. This should include people who can discuss your talents that are specific to the job you are applying for. Therefore, consider:

    • Whether the reference works in the same industry as the one you are applying for.
    • Which reference can best highlight your skills applicable to the job you are applying for.
    • Which references are not suitable to give you a reference for the particular job you are applying for.

    Arrange your references to your advantage.

    List those references that are most likely to give you a great recommendation at the top. If you are adding references for different fields of work, you can sub-divide your references into different sections to make it easier for the recruiter to read.

    The best way to list your references would be to use the following format:

    Do not list your reference’s personal address to protect their privacy, and because hiring companies no longer contact references by mail.

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    Alternative Ideas For Utilising References

    If youve gathered some great references, you will want to show them off. But if youre not including them on your CV, what is the best way to get them seen by recruiters? Here are a couple of suggestions:

    1. Reference list – Create a reference list in a separate, professional document. This way, once you are asked by a potential employer for references, you can send them across quickly in a clear, easy to understand document. Dont forget to ask permission of anyone you plan to include first.

    2. Use LinkedIn – Dont forget to ensure your LinkedIn profile is as up-to-date as possible and ask for endorsements and recommendations. As the world’s largest professional network, you can guarantee that a hiring manager will review your profile, so while not adding references on your CV at the application stage may be the correct etiquette to follow, having an active LinkedIn profile full of testimonials is the most up-to-date way to showcase your work experience.

    Proceed with caution if you do decide to use references available upon request. Ultimately, you want to make every word in your CV count and ensure you have relevant and up-to-date references available when required.

    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

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    Who To Ask For A Reference

    Short answer, anyone respectable who can vouch for your ability and character. As a rule of thumb, try to obtain 34 professional references and 12 personal references.

    Professional references attest your professional ability. Ask your past superiors and partners to put in a good word for you. It goes without saying that you should never ask for a reference someone less experienced than you.

    Personal references can vouch for your character. It can be any esteemed person from your personal life: past teachers, non-profit leaders, instructors, etc. Just make sure you dont include anyone from your family.

    But before you even start to contact them, remember that you have to know your references well and be sure that they can give a good feedback.

    Think about the people you worked forand worked with. Which of them could speak well of your qualifications, accomplishments and character?

    Should References Be Listed On A Separate Page

    Should You Include References on Your Resume? | Resume Tips

    Yes, references should be listed on a separate page. Create a resume references page and add it as the last page of your resume, which allows you to include important contact information about your references. It is better to follow this format than to write references available upon request at the end of your resume since employers assume youll provide references if asked.

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    Get Recommendations On Linkedin

    Whilst this is not strictly a CV tip, its a great alternative to adding references to your CV.

    During my time working in recruitment, every recruiter I worked with used extensively and the vast majority still do.

    In fact, a recent survey carried out by Jobvite found that 87% of all recruiters used LinkedIn to find or screen candidates.

    This means that there is a very strong chance that recruiters will look you up on LinkedIn if you apply for one of their roles.

    So, what are looking for?

    • They are making sure that your public profile matches up with the details on your CV
    • They are looking for social proof of your claims in the form of recommendations

    Writing something impressive about yourself is great, but its much more powerful if somebody else writes something impressive about you especially if that person is a senior figure in your industry. So, getting plenty of recommendations on your LinkedIn profile gives it a serious boost.

    Reach out to as many of your ex-managers or stakeholders as possible and ask them for a recommendation.

    Send them a simple message on LinkedIn like this one.

    Hi Steve

    Hope youre well and still enjoying your time at Company X

    I was wondering if you might do me a huge favour and leave me a gleaming LinkedIn recommendation for the time we worked together?

    It would be greatly appreciated and Id be happy to return the favour or perhaps get you a coffee some time soon

    Kind regards


    Professional CV templatesCover letters

    Who To Ask For References

    As you are creating your list of potential references to contact, there are a number of different types of people you can consider including.

    It is important to keep in consideration how a reference can relate back to the job you are applying for, and whether their testimony of your work ethic and skills will be relevant enough for the desired position.

    Here are some common examples of who to include as references:

    • Former employer or manager
    • Coworker, colleague, or team member
    • College professor
    • Internship supervisor
    • Community member
    • Business partners

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    How To Ask For References

    Youve got your wish list. What to do now?

    Of course, sometimes you dont have a choice. If sending your prospective reference an email is the only option, be sure to briefly remind them of who you are. Describe the projects you worked on together and explain where youre heading with your career.

    Also, send them a copy of your resume as an attachment. This will help them recall the times when you were working with them and remind them of your achievements and personality.

    Give your potential references enough details about the jobs youre applying for. Be specific in what skills and qualities youd like to emphasize. Furthermore, you can even send them the job description. This will help them talk to the employer and endorse your key qualifications.

    When it comes to formulating your request, try to be a bit diplomatic. Allow people to refuse gracefully. Here are a few ideas on how to frame your question:

    • Would you feel comfortable being my reference in my upcoming job search?
    • Would you find some time in the next few weeks to meet and talk about being my reference during my job hunt?

    If you get a positive reply, youre almost finished. Take a moment to get your references current titles and contact information right. Also, ask how theyd prefer to be contacted by the recruiter usually either by phone or email.

    Heres an example of e-mail request that you can use.

    Subject: Larry Brown Reference Request

    Dear Mr. Clark,

    Best regards,


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