Having references when applying for a job can be extremely beneficial in increasing your chances of being considered. They are a way to provide the hiring manager or recruiter with people who can share more information about the type of person or employee you are. However, including references on your resume isn’t always the best idea. But how do you know when to include references, and when to leave them out?

When They’re Requested

One instance when you should provide your references upfront is if the company you are applying to requests them. However, instead of including them on your resume, simply include them on a separate document – and submit them together. This way they have the contact information they are looking for, but the references don’t take up room on your resume.

When You’re Being Referred

If you’re being referred by an employee who works at a company you are applying to, this is another time you should include your references. If there is a designated section on an application to write a referral, or a note section to share more information, you can simply add this reference there. Or include them in your cover letter if you choose to submit one. A reference from the company significantly increases your likelihood of getting hired. Just make sure you include them in an appropriate matter.

When Not to Include References

One of the easiest rules of thumb when it comes to listing your references on your resume is that if the job posting doesn’t request them, leave them out. A resume should be a list of your experiences, skills, education and any other important information that the hiring manager or recruiter would like to know about you as a candidate. Leaving your references off your resume frees up space. When you are leaving your references out, you do not need to add “References available upon request”. Because references are often asked for later or included somewhere in the application, this is typically not necessary.

How to Obtain References

Regardless of whether you are including your references in your application, they should still be prepared beforehand. Ask your references if they feel comfortable with you utilizing them as a point of contact and explain the type of position you are applying for. This way if they are contacted, they are prepared as well.