The job application process can be a tricky one to navigate, especially when it comes to crafting the perfect resume.
One question that often arises is whether or not to include the phrase “references available upon request.”
While this may seem like a no-brainer, there are actually some potential downsides to including this statement on your resume.
In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of including “references available upon request,” and provide some tips on how to handle references in a way that best serves your job search.
Should You Put “References Available Upon Request” On a Resume?
When it comes to including “references available upon request” on a resume, the consensus among career experts is clear: don’t do it. Many experts consider this phrase to be a pointless addition, with one describing it as a “waste of space” that adds no value.
Here are some reasons why you may want to avoid adding “References Available Upon Request” on a resume:
- It’s considered unnecessary: Hiring managers typically assume that applicants will provide references if and when they are requested. Including this phrase on a resume is therefore viewed as redundant and may not add any value to your application.
- It takes up space: In today’s job market, resumes are expected to be concise and to the point. Including unnecessary phrases like “References Available Upon Request” can take up valuable space that could be used to showcase your skills, experience, and achievements.
- It may appear unprofessional: Including this phrase on a resume may make you seem inexperienced or unaware of the job search process. It can also suggest that you haven’t taken the time to tailor your resume for each individual job application.
- It’s just not required: Unless specifically asked to provide references in a job posting or during an interview, you don’t need to include this statement on your resume. By leaving it off, you can save space and avoid stating the obvious.
“References Available Upon Request” – What Does It Actually Mean?
“References Available Upon Request” is a statement that indicates you have references available to vouch for you, but it is not a necessary or particularly useful addition to a resume.
Essentially, this statement is a way of signaling to employers that you have professional and personal contacts who are willing to speak positively about you and your work. It can be seen as a way of providing reassurance to employers that you have a strong track record and are a credible candidate.
“References Available Upon Request” vs List of References
“References Available Upon Request” is a statement that is sometimes included on a resume or cover letter. It means that you have references who are willing to vouch for you if and when a potential employer requests them. This statement is generally considered unnecessary because employers assume that you have references available and will ask for them if needed.
A “List of References,” on the other hand, is an actual list of people who can serve as references. This list typically includes the names, job titles, and contact information of several individuals who have worked with you in the past and can speak to your skills and experience. This list is usually submitted after an interview or upon request from the employer.
In general, it’s better to provide a list of references rather than including the statement “References Available Upon Request” on your resume or cover letter. A list of references provides more detailed information about your professional contacts, and can help you stand out as a serious candidate.
Where Do You Put “References Available Upon Request” On a Resume?
If you choose to include the phrase “References Available Upon Request” on your resume, it’s generally recommended to place it at the end of your document. This ensures that it doesn’t take up too much valuable space that could be used to highlight your skills and experience.
Here are some tips for where to place “References Available Upon Request” on your resume:
- Put it at the bottom: The most common place to put this phrase is at the very end of your resume, below your education and work experience sections. This ensures that it doesn’t take up space that could be used to showcase your qualifications.
- Keep it short: If you choose to include the phrase, make sure to keep it short and sweet. One line is sufficient – you don’t need to provide any additional information or context.
- Be consistent: If you include the phrase on your resume, make sure to use the same wording and formatting throughout your application materials. This can help to create a professional and cohesive impression.
How to List References on a Separate Page?
If you are asked to provide a list of references for a job application, it’s important to present the information in a clear and organized manner. Here’s how to list references on a separate page:
Create a new document: Start by creating a new document that is separate from your resume and cover letter. This can be a Word document or a Google Doc.
Use a professional format: When listing your references, use a professional format that includes the person’s name, job title, company name, email address, and phone number. You can also include a brief description of your relationship with the person (e.g., former supervisor, colleague, etc.).
Include a header: At the top of the page, include a header that includes your name and contact information, as well as the phrase “References” or “List of References.”
Provide enough references: Provide at least three references, and ensure that they are relevant to the job you are applying for. If possible, include references from different stages of your career (e.g., a former supervisor, a coworker, and a client).
Format the page: Make sure that the page is formatted in a professional manner, with clear headings and consistent spacing. You can use bullet points or numbered lists to make the information easier to read.
Check for accuracy: Double-check all of the information on the page to ensure that it is accurate and up-to-date. You don’t want to provide incorrect contact information for your references.
Example of References on a Resume/Separate Page
It’s generally not recommended to include references directly on your resume. Instead, it’s better to provide a separate list of references when requested by a potential employer.
Here’s an example of what a reference list might look like:
Senior Manager, ABC Company
Former Supervisor, XYZ Corporation
Colleague, DEF Industries
Be sure to ask for permission before including someone as a reference, and provide them with information about the job you’re applying for so they can tailor their comments accordingly. Keep your reference list updated and ensure that the contact information is accurate.
Bonus Content: Other Phrases to Leave Off Your Resume
Avoid using common phrases on your resume, such as
- “hard worker,”
- and “out-of-the-box.”
These phrases lack creativity and originality, and are often overused by job applicants. Instead, try to use more interesting adjectives to describe yourself, such as “committed,” “determined,” “diligent,” or “passionate.”
Also, avoid using idioms and buzzwords that may not translate well to application materials. Instead, focus on using professional and polished language that showcases your unique skills and experiences. Using original and creative language can help your resume stand out to hiring managers.
What Can I Say Instead of “References Available Upon Request”?
Instead of using the overused phrase “References Available Upon Request” on your resume, you could simply omit it altogether, include a separate list of references, use a more proactive statement that highlights your willingness to provide references, or customize your statement for each job application to highlight specific relevant references or relationships.
What Should I Do If I Don’t Have Any References?
If you don’t have any references, you can start building your professional network, consider non-traditional references, offer alternative contact information, or be honest with potential employers about your situation. It’s important to focus on building your skills and experience over time and establishing relationships with people who can vouch for your abilities.
Do I Have to Give References If the Employer Requests Them
If a potential employer requests references from you, it’s generally expected that you will provide them. Providing references is a standard part of the job application process, and employers often use them to verify your skills and experience, and to gauge your fit for the job.
It’s important to make sure that the references you provide are relevant to the job you are applying for, and that they can speak positively about your abilities. You should also make sure to ask for permission from your references before sharing their contact information with potential employers.
Overall, providing references is an important part of the job application process, and it’s important to be prepared to provide them if requested.
Can I Add References Without Asking for Permission?
No, you should never add references to your resume or job application without first asking for permission from the individuals you plan to list. It’s important to respect people’s privacy and professional reputations, and adding someone as a reference without their knowledge or consent can damage your relationship with them.
When asking for permission to use someone as a reference, be sure to explain the position you’re applying for, and provide a copy of your resume or cover letter so they can get a sense of your qualifications. It’s also a good idea to ask them what kind of information they are comfortable sharing, and to provide them with information about the job you’re applying for so they can tailor their comments accordingly.