I'm applying for a job opening and I don't normally list references unless it specifically says to include them with the resume. However, this job posting says "must have references" and I don't know if they mean to include them with the resume or just to have them available when asked for. Does anyone have advice on this? I don't want to look like an idiot by including them and wasting space if that's not what the hiring manager meant.

3 Answers 3


They need to be available when requested. That's all this means.

The phrase is basically code for "must have experience and be dependable".

  • Thank you. That was my gut feeling but this is a really important job for me and I wanted to be sure.
    – Amanda
    Commented Apr 9, 2021 at 15:18

Say "references are available on request" in your response. That's a nice, standard, positive answer. The early stages of the HR process are too busy to consider someone's references. That's a step after candidates have been selected.

  • 1
    Honestly, I would avoid saying it. It’s already assumed. It conveys nothing of value. It is therefore just empty noise and wasted space on a CV.
    – Kaz
    Commented Apr 9, 2021 at 15:43

Ask your references for a Letter of Reference. That's a good way to capture someone's clear statement about your skills and accomplishments. A letter of reference will have the name, title and contact information of the reference on the stationery of the company. It's not just for a full employment -- If you complete a big project for someone and move on to a new project or manager, get a letter of reference for that project.

A letter of reference is evergreen. You are spared the trouble of keeping in touch with old contacts. Sometimes those old managers retire, drop off the grid or die. They aren't available to take a phone call, but the letter is always ready.

When a potential employers asks for references, send them copies of your letters.

Frequently when I've asked for those letters, my reference will have me write the letter and just sign it. That allows me to tailor the language and point out accomplishments that the manager or co-worker might not know about.

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