Opinion is divided on this subject. Our view is that it is best not include referees in your resume.

Instead, have a list of referees ready that you can match to a particular employer when you are asked for referees after the interview process.

An employer is initially only interested in the relevance of your skills, experience and more importantly, your attitudes, commitment and motivation. Don’t crowd your resume with “referees available on request”. There is no need to state the obvious.

If however you feel you need to, and if you have the space on your resume to do so, you might consider a statement such as:

“Excellent references available on request”

“Excellent professional references available on request”

“Excellent references will be furnished on request”

“Letter of recommendation and references upon request”

If you need a reference or letter of recommendation from an employer the following tips should help.

Most employers are “time poor” and it is sometimes difficult to request a thoughtful letter of recommendation, depending on the circumstances of your resignation.

We suggest that after you have completed your resume to try write out an ideal reference for yourself that you can ask your employer (current or previous) to agree to sign.

What would you like your previous employer to say about you when being asked by your potential new employer? Ask yourself the following questions:

1. What did he actually do?

2. How well did he do it?

3. What was her major contribution to the department?

4. How did she get on with other people?

5. Was he a self starter?

6. Could she be left unsupervised?

Selecting your referees

Selectively choosing referees to match a certain employer is a winning strategy. Try to have a group of referees ready to support you based on the outcome of your interviews. You can match the referee with the employer, to make you a stronger candidate for the job.

Before you approach your referees, use the same questioning process used in the writing of a reference letter. Providing this information to your referees will help you to control what information the new employer is likely to hear, and what impression they form of you. It’s about getting comfortable with you.

Once you have done this, telephone your potential referees and bring them up to date with your career aspirations, plans and actions (This is not always appropriate with present employer)

Having told your referees about your plans you can refresh their memory about your recollections of your performance by saying “did you remember…” and “you say that I was good because …”. Talk about the questions mentioned above.

Ensure that they have a copy of your resume as a reminder of your achievements

Remember: Give your referees’ name as late as possible in the selection process. It would be ideal if it is after the interview. Then, you would have gained a great deal of insights about the employer. This will better help you choose the most suitable referee from you list and brief them all the information you just have gained about the employer and their ideal candidate.

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