Should you have referees in your resumé?

My short answer to this is “no”.Do you have referees in your resumé?

Why?  There are several good reasons:

  • The appropriate referees for a particular situation will vary according to the position you are applying for and this will evolve over time.  It is best to put “references available on request” in the resumé and then provide them when the agency or prospective employer asks.  In my experience this will never reduce your chance of being short listed.  Rather, employers will appreciate the professional way you treat your referees.
  • If the referee information is not current, it can damage your credibility.  Provide the information as late as possible in the process, giving you time to confirm the referee is still willing to take a call, will give a positive reference, and that you have the correct contact details.  This also gives you an opportunity to brief the referee on the position you are applying for so their reference can be as relevant as possible.
  • Agencies may use the referee information you provide as a prospect list to generate business.  Reduce this risk by providing the information only after you have been short listed.


Always remember willing and influential referees are a very valuable asset to you.  Try to protect them from nuisance calls so they will be happy for you to use them again.

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