Must I include references on my CV? The million dollar question answered

Once upon a time, references were a must have on your resume, nowadays, people often ask if it is still a must have section. Just in case you don’t know what references are, these are people who know you and can vouch for you as a competent person in the job. The main rules for references is, they have to know you enough to speak positive things about you, that means if they don’t know you, the right thing is you don’t include them. However, the big elephant in the room is, should you include them in the first place?

Yes! First and foremost, you should know that including references in your resume can impress your employers; they are a proof that you are social being and can have someone or some people to vouch for you. Remember to put professional references, not social or friendly ones, they are meant to speak on your behalf regarding your work ethic.

Include them if your employer requests for them; among the job descriptions, your potential employer can ask for referees and at this point, you can include them.

It may also improve your pitch as a potential employee. If you don’t include references, your potential employer will have to ask for them if they are needed, this just might elongate the entire process. Simply putting them there initially shows that you have people to back up your work ethic from the get go.

No! Do not include referees on your resume because they can eat up a lot of space. Some job descriptions require you to submit a certain amount of pages for your CV and adding references may make it longer for no apparent reason, especially if the JD hasn’t requested for them explicitly.

They are not relevant at the beginning of your job application, remember you are looking for a job, including references may not necessarily be important at this stage. However, they will be needed later on and when they are asked for, you can offer them.

Instead, you could include the phrase ‘references available upon request’ to ensure privacy of your referees. Remember, some people may not want to have their contact information all over the place so giving them a chance to remain private is good for you and your contacts.

When you don’t include them, you can have more leverage or chance to actually speak to your references and inform them about a job you have applied for and the possibility of having them as your referees. This way, you provide them with a chance to prepare ahead of time and as well as be in the know. Sometimes, people need to know that they are expected to refer someone; not including them offers you just that.

We have provided you with the pros and cons of having, or not having references on our resume or CV, what would you choose? Would you rather have them, or not? We leave it to you.

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