QUESTION: How do I handle references on a resume?
I would suggest never putting references on your resume. Instead, have a separate sheet that has aligned branding elements as your resume (similar font, graphic element, layout, etc). It’s another opportunity to show your cohesive branding. You will want to present these electronically or on paper when asked during the interview process.
It is no longer necessary to write “references available upon request” on a resume. Reference checking has become a standard part of the hiring process. It’s understood. Instead, include a page of “raves” about your work within the packet you leave behind after your interview. You may also consider including within the body of your resume quotes from supervisors, co-workers, or clients.
I don’t recommend references being on your resume in 99.9% of cases. The resume is a tool you use when you’re simply trying to get an interview, so they shouldn’t need references until after the interview. A very small percentage of jobs DO require references when you apply (usually government jobs), and in those cases it’s my preference to have the references on a separate sheet.
Reference names and contact information should not appear on your resume. Nor the phrase “references upon request.” Create a separate reference sheet to supply upon the request of a prospective employer. Include the same format elements and contact information header at the top of the page to keep it on-brand with the career documents you already submitted for application.
“References Available Upon Request” on a resume is last century style. Including a reference page with your resume can annoy references, by receiving too many calls. Have 8-10 references ready, wait until asked during the interview process, then only share the best 4 for that job, then prime the 4 about the call they might receive. You can also guide people to your LinkedIn recommendations.
With few exceptions, do not include references in your updated resume. Not only does it take up valuable space, including references or the outdated “references available upon request” can make you appear more “mature” than you are. I recommend listing your references in a separate document that matches your resume and have an electronic and printed version available upon request.
Leave all references to references off your resume. Instead, prepare a separate “References” page. Use the space to provide 3-5 references’ contact information and a brief statement regarding your professional connection. Use similar formatting techniques to maintain a consistent look. You can incorporate an impactful quote from a reference on your resume that describes exceptional performance.
Since every bit of real estate is valuable in your resume, don’t waste space with a list of references and contact info. And don’t include that ubiquitous “References available upon request.” References can be supplied easily within an application. Also, prepare a list of references using the same formatting as in your resume, and bring along copies (of both the resume and list) to an interview.
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