Should References Be Included on Your Resume?

— January 26, 2017

One of the most common mistakes the team at Grammar Chic sees when it comes to resumes is the dreaded “References available upon request” line, or, even worse, actual references listed on the resume. This practice is far outdated, and it’s time to remove this content from your resume and use this valuable real estate for something more impactful.


For one, including references can make you appear older than you are because it’s an outdated trend. It shows that you’re not up-to-date on current resume styles or application practices. Instead, you want to highlight that you’ve kept up with the times and know what employers are looking for.


So why shouldn’t you just slip in the casual “References available upon request” instead? Don’t employers want to know this information is readily available? Here’s why: It’s a given. Employers know that if they ask for references and you’re serious about the job, you’ll provide them. It’s part of the interview and hiring process. Why waste precious space alluding to the obvious?


In terms of actually listing your references as part of your resume? Employers probably aren’t interested when doing an initial scan of your resume. They want to know about you and what you have to offer. Adding references can make your resume appear unnecessarily long and we already know recruiters only spend a few seconds reviewing the first time. If you’re including references because you have a mutual connection, put this information in your cover letter instead. That is a better place to drop names because you can explain the connection in more detail or context than just a name listed as a reference.


What Should You Do with References?


Instead of putting your references on your resume, keep them as a separate document. This allows you to collect contact information for multiple people and then pick and choose when it comes to what names you will provide to a potential employer should they ask. It’s also handy to have this sheet on file for when you need it. Just a few clicks and you can print it out or email it to a hiring manager.


If you’re applying for jobs and move forward in the process with an employer, make sure to let your references know. Give them the opportunity to think about what they want to say about you and have a head’s up to expect a call. A lot of people screen their calls and won’t answer if they don’t know the number. If they know an employer might be calling them to serve as a reference for you, they may be more likely to pick up or listen to their voicemail sooner. You also don’t want them to be caught completely off guard and fumble through their responses. If they had advanced notice, they could feel more confident in giving a strong response that highlights your positive attributes.

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Author: Amanda Clark


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