Why References Should NOT be on your resume…

As a resume writer, I am frequently asked about whether to include references directly on a resume. The simple answer to this question is “NO – references should NOT be on your resume”.  References should be on a separate page and only provided to an employer when requested.  Even the line “references available upon request” is purely optional and should only be included if you have the space and your resume design requires a direct ending.  Basically, it is a universal assumption in the job search industry that you have references available and therefore neither your references nor the infamous line “references available upon request” are required on a resume. They should only be provided when invited from an employer.

Being a resume strategist, I also have to add that with limited space available on your resume to highlight all your noteworthy and respected skills and accomplishments, it would be a shame to take up valuable space on your resume with references.  This space truly is best used to distinguish yourself from the competition – take the opportunity to discuss in detail how you saved the company thousands of dollars or improved customer service.  Highlight your transferrable skills and your education, but not your references.

When I started to think about this topic for a blog post, I raised the question to some of my colleagues and I was provided with two very unique and informative responses that I have included below:

Canada’s career industry leader and pioneer, Sharon Graham (www.careerprocanada.ca) states; “Why give the recruiter names and contact information of people who might be more qualified than you? For example, what recruiter would not pick up the phone and offer an interview for a Management job to the department manager (reference name) rather than the department supervisor (candidate who sent in a resume)?
Plus, you can’t prepare your references. For example, what if the recruiter decides to call the reference before even contacting you?
It’s a bad idea to refer employers to your references before you have even met them.”

Adrienne Tom (founder of Career Impressions, www.careerimpressions.ca) says; “I remind clients about the value of resume real estate. With there being only limited space to market and sell one’s skills, why waste precious space on references. There is no value adding references to a resume (in fact, as mentioned by Sharon, there can be a direct harm in doing so); the space is best utilized marketing top ‘sale’ points.”

In short, do not include references directly on your resume.  If you do come across a job posting that specifically requests references as part of the job application process, then send or upload a separate page with a list of your references; including name, job title, company, address, phone and email for each reference. And remember to keep your references informed.

When you give out someone’s name and information as a reference, be sure that you have permission to do so.  Let your references know they may expect to be contacted and provide them some information on the job you have applied to.  You want to make sure you get the best reference possible and you don’t want to catch people off guard.  Give them a chance to relate your skills and qualifications to the job prior to them being contacted by a potential hiring manager!

Thank you for reading my blog. If you have any questions or would like assistance in bringing your career to new heights, please contact me at info@skyeisthelimit.ca or visit us at www.skyeisthelimit.ca.  Have a nice day!