Should I Include References On My Resume?

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Are you considering including references on your resume? If so we can help you decide if it’s a smart step for you to take. You may decide to include them thinking that it  will show the hiring manager that you are confident in your qualifications, and what those references will say about you. However, including references on a resume is an outdated practice in the current job market. There are many reasons why you shouldn’t include them, and a few select times when you should. We’ll discuss both in today’s blog, so read on below to find out the reasons for both approaches.

When You Shouldn’t Include References

While the thought process behind including references may be sound, the simple truth is the practice is no longer accepted. It’s also typically more beneficial for you to leave them out. If they are included, you will have no idea when a company may contact your references. By leaving them out of your resume, it keeps you informed. Now if the company requests them, you in turn can give your references notice that they will likely be contacted. It gives you more control in the process, and encourages the company to contact you if they wish to reach them. So typically it’s best not to include them, unless you are in a unique situation. We’ll discuss those situations further on in the blog.

Another reason not to include your references is because it frees up more valuable space on your resume. This will give you more breathing room and space to work with to beef up your qualifications. On the off chance that your qualifications are all set, you could also consider adding a skills section. This adds a lot to a resume, specifically in a technical field. If you want to read more about building a skills section in your resume, check out our old blog here.

Lastly, it’s important to stress that even if you opted not to include your references, they should all still be prepared beforehand. Let them know you’re utilizing them as a point of contact, and perhaps explain the type of position you are applying for. It’s a great way to help them understand what qualifications they should speak to and highlight. Next we’ll explain the few times you should include your references.

When You Should Include References

We typically suggest never including references on your resume. However, there are a few rare times in which it could benefit you instead of hurt you. The first example is fairly straightforward: include references if they are requested. If a company asks for references when you first apply, you should send them in as a separate document or page with your resume. They still won’t be included on your resume, but you are sending them in early in the process instead of later on. Not many companies have this built into their first application, but some do.

On the other hand, if you are the unique situation of using someone at their company as a reference, they should be included. A reference from the company significantly increase your likelihood of getting hired. Just make sure you include them in an appropriate matter. They will likely vouch for you, so putting them on your resume is a smart move. It could boost your chances if the hiring manager sees a respected coworker as a reference.

Speaking of vouching for someone, the other time you should include references is if your resume has testimonials. If you have quotes from previous employers and co-workers, their name, number, and e-mail should all be included. If you have someone who gave you a glowing review and are using that, you should give the company the opportunity to reach out to them.

Smart Referencing

Those are the 3 situations in which you should include references. We went over the multitude of reasons why you generally shouldn’t include them on your resume. Including them is an outdated practice that could hurt your chances. You also shouldn’t bother putting ‘References available upon request’ either. All recruiters, interviewers, and hiring managers are more than familiar with how the hiring process works. They know at which point references are furnished, so there is no need for you to inform them on your resume. Do you have any further questions regarding references you want answered? Let us know! We’d be happy to answer questions in the comments. If your question is complex enough to warrant a longer answer, we may even write up a completely new post!

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