References Resume

References Don’t Belong On A Resume


Good references are important to any job search – but you need to know when and how to offer them.

Related: Why Your References Should Be Ready Before Starting Your Job Search

In the United States, references don’t belong on a resume. First, you want to protect the privacy of your references; resumes go out to the world. Second, you want time to alert your references to the call or e-mail they may receive. If your references are listed on your resume, you lose control.

Employers assume you can give them references if they ask. So, your resume should not include the phrase, “References available upon request.” It’s not necessary and it takes up valuable space on a resume better used to show your accomplishments.

That said, as part of your preparation, create a list of references to have ready when needed. The list should include each reference’s name, title, company name, address, phone number(s), and e-mail.

In addition to professional references, you may need a few personal references. Contact all your references to make sure they are willing to speak well of you and to alert them to your job search. Your references need to know they will be receiving a legitimate request for information by a company you’re interested in.

You can ask a company not to contact your most recent employer. Companies realize you may want to keep your job search confidential until you have a definite offer. Besides, current employers are often limited in the information they are allowed to share.

Make sure you have some references who will gladly speak well of you! One of the most damaging references you can get is, “I’d rather not say.”

Related Posts

10 Steps To Preparing Top-Notch References
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15 Tips For Sprucing Up Your Resume In 30 Minutes Or Less


Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Robin Schlinger

Robin Schlinger is the founder of Robin’s Resumes which provides excellent services to those who value the best in resumes and career marketing documentation.


  1. And another reason why NOT to include references ON your resume: the space taken could be used more wisely to sell your skills, interests, and experiences with the potential employer.

  2. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of the first reason why we should NOT include our references on our resumes: to protect the privacy of that person. I have a more selfish reason why I would not do so – although I had considered putting references on my resume. Why should I give out MY references’ name and our relationship UNTIL I have some sense that the job could be mine? If a potential employer has an interest in me, then he or she can contact me for my references.

    Thanks for helping me see that problem.

  3. Everyone has an opinion and Robin’s is a poor one. With hundreds to thousands of resumes for each job opening, you want to put in your next employers hands every tool you have, including wonderful professional and personal references. If one has a title or position with prestige, so much the better. The bottom line: don’t make it more difficult for someone to hire you than it already is! Give them at least three names, addresses, emails, and telephone numbers of folks you can count on and get the ball rolling!

  4. Great tips! I’ve always found it good to just check with potential references before you do put them on your resume. It’s nice to give them a heads up and to make sure that they will praise you if they are called.

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