Frequently Asked Questions on ‘References Available’ section of a Resume

We previously talked about the References section in a resume and informed you that it is no longer a common practice to include a References section on your resume, even one that states “References Available Upon Request.” Most employers today will assume you can provide references if they are requested. Therefore, you do not have to include references on your resume. Here are so other common questions asked about the References Section of a Resume.

Questions & Answers – References Available

Q: Should I include the phrase “Available upon request”?

It is obvious to today’s hiring managers that references are available from a job seeker. Since an employer will assume you have references, you do not need to include this information on your resume.

Q: How many references will I need?

Generally, your list of references should contact three to five contact names, unless you are in a profession, such as medicine, law, or education, or in a specialized field, where a longer list may be required. If you have been asked for a specific number of references, then you should provide several additional contacts, in case the hiring manager has difficulty reaching any of your contacts.

Q: Whom should I consider asking to serve as a reference?

Preferably, you will want to ask your former manager or supervisor. However, you can also consider business colleagues, customers, professors, advisors/mentors, community leaders, department heads, or members of the executive team at your current firm. Obviously, you will want to add friends and family members as a last resort, as most hiring managers realize that these people are not unbiased.

Q: What should I look for when selecting my references?

Ideally, you will want references that possess good communication skills, know you quite well and would speak positively about your previous work experience, skills, knowledge, and characteristics. Include people who can describe your performance and value to your previous employer as well as characteristics, such as teamwork, strong work ethic, and leadership ability that any future employer would find valuable.

Q: How should I prepare my references for a phone call?

Once you have received permission from your references to add them to your list, you should always send a copy of your resume and a letter that lists the three to five key points that you would like them to share with employers who contact them.