Should you put referees on your CV?

This article is recommended for individuals near the beginning of their careers

Christian Madsen

Written by Christian Madsen

Managing Director of 11 Recruitment


Applying for a job is a process

Having worked in recruitment for many years, I've noticed that job-seekers are often confused as to whether they should put their referees' contact details on their CV.

In my opinion, the answer is no.

The recruitment process is a journey that generally involves the following steps:

  • It starts with you reading the job ad and applying for the position.
  • To improve your chances, you might then reach out to and connect with the recruiter or employer on LinkedIn.
  • Then - if you pass the initial screening - you'll be invited for a phone call, followed by an in-person interview.
  • Depending on the company, there may be additional assessments likes skills testing or behavioural profiling.
  • Finally - if all goes well - you may receive a job offer, which is typically subject to reference checks.

Throughout this process, your CV serves as your first impression. Its main purpose is to secure the initial screening call, and including referees doesn't contribute to achieving that goal.

Applying for a job is a process | Managing your references pt. 1

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The risks of including your referees

In addition to your referees serving no purpose on your CV, there are a number of risks associated with including them.


Privacy concerns

Referees might prefer to keep their contact information private. Not everyone is comfortable with their email addresses or phone numbers being shared widely.

Unexpected contact

If you include referees' contact details on your CV, there's a possibility that potential employers or recruiters might contact them without notifying you first. This can catch your referees off guard and may lead to a less-than-optimal recommendation.

Maintaining control

By not including referees' contact details on your CV, you retain control over when and how your referees are contacted. This allows you to inform them beforehand and gives you an opportunity to prepare them for a potential reference call.

Space considerations

CVs often have limited space, especially if you are trying to keep it to a reasonable length. Including referees' contact details can take up valuable space that could be used to highlight your skills, achievements, and work experience.

Additionally, recruiters and employers usually spend a very short time, around 30-60 seconds, scanning each CV. Therefore, you don't want to clutter it with unnecessary details.

Customisation for each application

You may want to tailor your referees based on the specific job you're applying for. Not all referees may be equally relevant for every position, and omitting their contact details allows you to provide the most appropriate references for each application.


Referees available upon request

As a final piece of advice, it's also not worth including the statement "referees available upon request" on your CV.

This statement is generally considered unnecessary and outdated. There are a few reasons why it should be omitted.


Assumed practice

It is generally understood that if an employer wants references, they will ask for them. Including the statement is seen as redundant because it doesn't provide any additional information and is considered a standard practice.

Space conservation

CVs and resumes often have limited space, and it's important to use that space wisely to highlight relevant skills, experiences, and accomplishments. Including a statement about referees can be seen as taking up valuable space that could be used for more pertinent information.

Professionalism

A CV is expected to be professional and concise. Including a statement about referees might be perceived as unnecessary or even amateurish. It's more effective to focus on presenting a well-organized document that showcases your qualifications.

Privacy & permission

Before providing someone's contact information as a reference, it's essential to obtain their permission. Including a blanket statement may imply that you haven't sought consent from your referees, which could be seen as a lack of professionalism.

Digital applications

In the age of digital applications, most employers prefer to receive references through a separate process, often later in the hiring process. They may have a specific form, questionnaire, or preferred method for collecting reference information.


Instead of including a statement about referees, consider preparing a separate document with a list of references that you can provide upon request. This way, you can tailor the reference list to the specific job you're applying for and ensure that your references are prepared to speak about your qualifications for that particular role.

References available upon request | Managing your references pt. 1


Christian Madsen

What are your thoughts?

I'd love to have a conversation with you about this topic - please leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or opinions πŸ™‚

Christian Madsen

Managing Director of 11 Recruitment

  • Oluwafemi Tayo Adebiyi says:

    Thanks for your insights, I did not include referees in my resume

    • Christian Madsen says:

      Hi Oluwafemi, thanks for leaving a comment – I’m glad to hear you found the article valuable!

      If you’re interested in learning more on this topic, I encourage you to read my other article (if you haven’t done so already): https://11recruitment.com.au/blog/how-to-ask-someone-to-be-a-referee/

      In it, I talk about the information you should provide your referees with before giving their contact details to a potential employer.

      Good luck in your job hunt πŸ™‚

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