Why References Don’t Belong on a Resume

Remove references from your resume!

Remove references from your resume!

I come across countless resumes that say, “References available upon request,” or even resumes that include a complete list of references. There are several reasons to avoid this for the strongest resume possible.

Job hunting has many parallels to the early stages of dating. You find “applicants” online or from referrals of friends and family and you typically get to know them before you meet their friends and family. Hiring departments have a similar process, where they interview you before they “meet” your professional references.

Additionally, when you’re interviewed for a job, would you ever refuse to provide references? Of course not. Simply applying to for a position implies that you will provide references upon request.

Most importantly, it is a waste of precious real estate on your ticket to your dream job. Job applications are typically completed online these days, which use keyword filters before your resume even gets to a set of human eyes. It would be odd if these keyword filters included words like “references” and “upon request.”

If you make it past the keyword filter, a hiring manager spends an average of 6 seconds on a resume. As they scan your skills and qualifications, you want to use that precious time to wow them with your impressive skills and experience. If a hiring department only allows a few seconds to view each resume before proceeding to interviews, they won’t take the time to call your references before meeting you.

Now, of course, if a job description specifically requests references, be sure to include a separate reference form. Please contact me to order a Reference Form if you would like assistance with this. When listing references, it is important to notify your references so they are prepared and they can touch on key skills of yours that are relevant to your application.

Always use every opportunity to focus on your skills and qualifications for your next job. To find out more ways to improve your resume, cover letter or LinkedIn profile, I would love to work with you! Now go take a few minutes to remove those references from your resume to instantly improve your job hunt!