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Resume Help/Should I give the names of referees in my CV?



I'm creating a new CV for my job search.

Should I give the names of referees in my CV, or just write 'available upon request'? This CV is meant to be looked at by the company for which I will apply next week.


ANSWER: Hi Liam,

When you refer to "names of referees" I am going to assume you are asking about references.  The answer to your question is that you NEVER put "available on request" in your CV.  The reason is very simple: there is no reason to do that.  None.  What you are saying when you put "available on request" is this:  "I have references but I'm not going to tell you who they are unless you make the extra effort to ask me for their names."  That's what "available on request" means.  So, the question is why would you want to do that?  Why would you want to make more work for the person who has the ability to offer (or not offer) you an interview?  The answer is, of course, you wouldn't.  You want to make that person's job easier, not harder.

So, never use "available on request" ... ever.  If it makes you feel better, there are a lot of people out there who do this, but as a person who frequently reviewed apps for jobs, I can tell you that putting "available on request" in the application puts that person at the bottom of my "maybe" pile.

I hope that helps.  If you get your CV finished and would like me to take a look at it, you can attach it to an email sent to me at the address below.  I'll be happy to give you a free evaluation.

Best of luck ... let me know how your application goes.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Sir, do you mean I should put the name of my current manager in the referees' list? I don't mind putting his name, but is it too early?

Hi Liam,

It seems that there are two or three parts to your question, so let me take them one at a time.  Allow me to preface my response by giving you a bit of background on how references should be acquired and used.

First, you should have from three to five names of references; these are people who are very familiar with your work, your potential, your style and the multitude of things that go into making a good employee.  They can be former colleagues, supervisors, or anyone who has both the knowledge of your work AND the willingness to provide you with a positive recommendation.  I emphasize "positive" because simply listing a person as a reference without being absolutely certain of their opinion of you and what they will say about you can be disastrous.  So, as you go over in your mind who you will list as references, be sure that (1) you have asked if they are willing to give you a good recommendation, and (2) they are willing to have their name listed as a reference and are willing to speak to potential employers about you in glowing terms.  If any of these conditions are not favorable, you should not use that person as a reference.

Second, as to your question about using your current manager, that depends on the factors I listed above.  Is he willing to give you an excellent recommendation?  Are you sure?  You can use your manager, but be certain of what you will get from them if they agree to have you list their name as a reference.  But be aware of this: even if you don't use your current boss as a reference, employers may call him anyway.  They have the right to do that since they view your manager as the person most likely to know your work abilities and habits.  That may or may not be the case, but that's what a lot of employers think anyway.  If your manager and you do not have a particularly good working relationship, then don't use them as a reference.  The employer may still contact him but there is nothing you can do about that.  The list of references you supply should be people who think highly of you and will give you nothing but the highest praise.  After that, you have little control over what happens.

Finally, you indicated you don't mind using his name, but you asked if it is "too early."  I'm not sure I understand that part of your question.  "Too early" for what?  You mentioned in your previous correspondence to me that you were applying for a job next week.  If that is the case, I can't see that this is "too early" to be gathering references.  As a matter of fact, you probably should have gotten your references together weeks ago.  But that is neither here nor there at this point.  What you need to do is provide 3 to 5 references in your CV together with their relationship to you (current manager, former supervisor, etc)  mailing address, email address and phone number.  If there is a job application that goes along with your submitted package, it may ask for a list of references.  At that point you may elect to leave them off the CV (since there is no need to list them in two places), but if you do list them on both documents, be sure that the information on them is exactly the same in both cases.  You don't want to generate any confusion with the people who review your app.

Good luck to you; I hope this helps.  Send me your CV if you like before you submit.

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Ralph D. Converse, Ph.D.


I can answer questions about general job searches, resume construction, crafting an effective cover letter, and how to prepare for, and conduct, a winning interview. My speciality is the field of education, but I also have extensive background in business and administration. I know what works and what doesn't work and I can make your application package stand out from the rest ... because that is what you have to do.


I have interviewed for, and held, dozens of jobs in a career going back more than 42 years. I have taught at all educational levels including middle school, high school, community college, and university. In more than 42 years of experience on both sides of the job-search process, I have interviewed hundreds of applicants and have reviewed literally tens of thousands of job application packages. I am the author of 12 Mistakes That Got Your Job Application Rejected ... And How To Fix Them! I conduct workshops for job seekers in a variety of locations every year.

Music Educator's Journal, Teaching Music, Music and American Culture (forthcoming, 2013), Last Teacher Standing: The Job is Yours Now! and 12 Mistakes That Got Your Job Application Rejected ... And How To Fix Them!

B.A. New Mexico State University; M.Mus. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D. University of California and University of North Texas

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