Looking At Phone

References available upon request.

To write or not to write this line?

I have a better question: how much space is this taking up? At least two lines. One line of spacing, and one line of text.

But what does this statement tell me about you as a candidate? Nothing. All it really tells me is that you know at least two living people, and presumably if I call these people, they will say nice things about you.

If you’re ending your resume with this statement, you’re at least on the right track. In this day and Internet age, whatever you do, you should not be putting your references on your resume. Why? Because your goal, as a job seeker, is to share your resume as far and wide afield as you can. You’re probably sending it to multiple hiring managers per day.

The problem is that if you release your references’ contact information every time you send out your resume (never mind whose hands it might land in after you send it out), you are abusing your references. Moreover, you want to control when, by whom, and for what job your references are being contacted. They’re a lot more likely to give a glowing reference (or return a voicemail message altogether) if they’re only being contacted by a select number of hiring managers.

Peak’s foolproof steps for the reference process:

  1. Leave any reference section/statement off of your resume.
  2. When you get contacted by a hiring manager or fill out an application, provide your full reference information. Generally speaking, plan on providing phones and/or email addresses for three references.
  3. Especially if you haven’t touched base with your references lately, get in touch with them as quickly as possible.
  4. Tell your reference they might be getting a call, and provide them with some info about the job you’ve applied for. It helps if your references are up to date on what’s generally going on in your life, including what direction you want your career to go in. Why are you applying for this job?
  5. Thank your reference–repeatedly. Fundamentally, they are doing you a favor. They’ll likely say positive things about you when they speak to the hiring manager, but you want to make sure their comments stay sincerely positive.

But this is old news to me. I know I should treat my references like gold.

Great! But are you still including “References available upon request” on your resume? (Or, as I saw recently on a resume, “Excellent references available upon request.”)

If that’s the case…you’re wasting valuable real estate! Tell me more about your skills and experience instead. These are things I can’t assume when I read your resume.

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Post Series: Resume Breakdown

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