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One question I am asked fairly often is if a resume should include references. Resumes from 10-15 years ago probably contained references, but is that a common item included in today’s effective resumes? In short, no, references should not be included on your resume, but that does not mean that you should not be prepared. Companies typically request references when you advance to the interview stage and will contact your references if they are seriously considering you for employment. Below are some reference-related tips:

1) Choose your references carefully. I recommend choosing 3-5 past or present employers that you have positive rapport with. These references should be able to speak to your professional skills and personal attributes. In addition, make sure to inform your references that you listed them. One bad conversation with a reference can turn a potential employer away, so inform your references that they were included on your list and provide them some information about the type of jobs you applied for. A prepared and well-informed reference is a good reference!

2) To make a good impression, format your references to match the layout and design of your resume. This will demonstrate your attention to detail and ensure continuity in your documents. Also, there is no need to mention “references available upon request” on your resume. Employers will ask for them if they want them, and they know that everyone has references available. Save the valuable real estate on your resume for your accomplishments or other compelling information.

By Drew Roark