“References Available Upon Request”

Whenever I see this line on a résumé, I often scratch my head and say to myself “Really?” Well of course a candidate should make references available upon request.

Whenever I see this line on a résumé, I often scratch my head and say to myself “Really?” Well of course a candidate should make references available upon request. So, stating the obvious is a waste of time and adds absolutely no value to the document. I never put this line on a résumé. However, they truly must be available when requested, which means that candidates must do their homework before they are at the point in the process where they are asked to furnish this information.

When you enter job search mode, you will put together your marketing/campaign materials which often includes a résumé, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and a thank you note.  Perhaps you have a brag book of publications, articles, accolades, accomplishments, etc. So how do you present references when you are at that point? Who do you ask to vouch for you and when do you put this information together?

It is always best to be prepared. Just like you never want to get caught unprepared in a networking situation or chance meeting with someone requesting a copy of your résumé, you do not want to have go digging for solid references when you are asked to provide them.

As early as when you graduate from college, it is a good idea to ask professors, employers (even part-time), and advisors to provide letters of recommendation and recommendations on your LinkedIn profile. If you stay in touch, you may be able to use this information for the future. Always try to get recommendations in writing and on official letterhead if possible. Continue this practice of “gathering positive references” throughout your career, as it is always best to ask someone what they think of your work while it is still fresh in their mind.

If you are providing a potential employer with a reference, do not let that reference be taken by surprise.  Contact them and let them know that someone may be calling.  Also, verify that this will be a positive reference for you. Don’t assume that it will be. 

Once you have chosen your referrals, put together a separate referral sheet (Referrals DO NOT belong on a résumé). Have this sheet available in your job-search portfolio and “furnish as requested”.

Michelle A. Riklan is a certified professional résumé writer, career coach, speaker, author, and employment interview consultant. 

Michelle A. Riklan, ACRW, CPRW, CEIC

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