RESUMES: Do Not Include References in Your Resume

By:  John Holmgren

There is good reason for not including references in your resume


Surely you want the organization with whom you are applying for employment to know that important people think highly of you?  Don’t you?

NO!  At least not initially.

Your references are precious.  They have agreed to say positive things about you (assuming they are not your relatives!).

Be careful how you use them.

Bring them into play only when it is important –  when their word could be the difference between you getting the job or not.

You would think that your resume would go directly to the person that has authority to hire you: The Hiring Manager!  That is a false assumption.

In many organizations, your resume will be first screened by a Human Resource person.

In the interest of thoroughness, that person may check your references (because you are a likely candidate) before forwarding your paper for further consideration.

In this tough economy, you will be sending out many resumes.  There is much competition for good positions.

Since you are a good candidate, your references will be getting regular calls about your capabilities.  Answering reference questions takes time, and there is never enough of that.

About the third time your reference gets a call he / she well lose patience.  You will lose, unknown to you, a good reference.

Offering references are appropriate in the second or third contact with a potential employer.  You will get the sense that the time is right, or the employer will request them.

Hold off until then.


18 thoughts on “RESUMES: Do Not Include References in Your Resume

  1. girls gone wild

    Very nice template here! I was quite impressed with your writing skills as well. A question for you.. is this a wordpress theme? It looks pretty nice to say the least!

    1. John Post author

      Absolutely Good Luck! Although, thorough preparation beats luck. Know the company and arrive with several questions to ask.

      Also, be prepared for some off-the-wall questions from your interviewer, like: what is your weakest feature; where do you want to be in 5 years; tell me the most important attribute you like about our organization.


    1. John Post author

      Hi Heidi. My standard answer is, yes you can. However, I require that you identify me as the author of the article. It’s called attribution. John

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