Often, the things you don’t include on your resume are just as important as the ones you do.
Case in point: We blogged just a few days ago about the Career Objective, and how it really has no place on a resume.
Today, we’ve got another resume element you’re better off ditching—and that’s your list of references.
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Why References Are Out
Our resume team still sees a lot of resumes that come with reference lists—but in truth these lists are unnecessary, and in some cases, can be harmful.
The main reason why we recommend against reference lists is that they simply aren’t in keeping with modern resume trends. When you include one, it makes you look older, out of touch. Of course, what you want is a resume that does just the opposite.
An alternative to listing resumes is to say that references are available upon request—but we’re not big on this, either. The reason is that this is redundant. Employers know that you’re willing to offer references if they ask for them—if you’re serious about the job, anyway. No job candidate is going to deny a request to provide a few references. There’s just no need to state your willingness on the resume, and doing so wastes invaluable real estate.
The bottom line is that your resume should be about you. That’s what hiring managers care about—and a list of other people’s names isn’t going to tell them much.
Rethinking the Reference List
Does this mean you should delete your reference list altogether?
Not necessarily. We still recommend keeping a reference list. We’d just advise that you make it a separate document—not part of your resume.
Have a file where you have references on hand, so that when a hiring manager does request to see them, you can provide them quickly and easily.
Make sure that, when you hand out a reference sheet, you let your references know; nothing good can come of them being caught off guard by a request from a potential employer, and besides, it’s just good manners to fill them in.