Managing your references (1/2)

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Should you put referees on your CV? Well, the short answer is no. Here's the reason. Applying for a job is a process. And the process consists of many steps. First, you read the ad. You apply with your CV and your cover letter. Then you may wish to promote yourself by connecting with the recruiter or employer on LinkedIn. Good choice. After this, you prepare for the phone screening call and you ACE it. So you're invited for an interview. You then do your interview preparation and it's in the interview. And after this, perhaps there is a second interview. Maybe there's also some skill testing and behavioral profiling, and maybe even psychometric profiling. Now it becomes exciting and the offer is on the table subject to reference checking. That's the recruitment process. Sometimes it takes longer. Sometimes it is shorter. But notice, the CV is primarily used at the beginning of the process and reference checks are always at the end.

The simple fact is that the purpose of a CV is to get you into a position of receiving the phone screening call and that's it. So you should only put information on your CV that would enhance your chance of getting that phone screening call, nothing more. Referees on your CV will not enhance your chance of getting that call. Let me illustrate this by saying an employer or recruiter will spend about 30 to 60 seconds on average reading your CV. Time and space are precious. So don't waste space on unnecessary technical details, such as referees. Everyone needs to provide referees at some point. So you're not creating any advantages over other applicants by including them. Let me repeat this. You're not creating any advantages over other applicants by including referees. Better to use the space in your CV and in your cover letter to convince the employer to progress you to the next stage, which is again, the phone screening call.

Oh, one more thing. Let me address this. Some people are stating on their CV "references available upon request". Should you write this? No. You're stating the obvious. The employer will simply assume that they are available upon request. It's a prerequisite for a final offer of employment. Employers will ask you for the details if, and when, they are ready to offer you the position. If they ask you for referees or even want to do reference checks upfront, then you need to decide what to do. However, my advice is: be prepared for the question. What would I say? Well, I'd probably phrase it something like this: "I'll be happy to provide you with relevant referees that you can call, not a problem. You're more than welcome to contact them when we get to the point that you're ready to provide me with an offer of employment, subject to reference checks. I also know that they're busy and they would appreciate the call when you're ready to make that final decision so they can assist you filling in any gaps." So no referees on your CV. I hope you found it valuable and useful. Thank you for your time.


Christian Madsen - Managing Director at 11 Recruitment
Christian Madsen
Managing Director
11 Recruitment

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