I have been asked to submit a CV by a potential employer in the aviation industry in the US after speaking with her regarding courses for my son and one for myself with the potential of employment at the end of the course. It has been many years since I have written a CV, as I have always been very fortunate to have been in a position like now where I have been either offered a job whilst talking with a potential employer that I was calling in order to get someone else courses with the view of a future job when a vacancy becomes available.

Secondly, if the answer is that I should supply references what details should I put with regards to them such as name and contact details only or who and what position they hold. The two people I am thinking of I know very well, one of whom is relevant to the industry and in very high standing but I have seen for many years however he did most of my training and the other would be a character reference that I am in constant communication with.

  • Welcome to the site Belinda. Don't worry, you've posted this in the right place. I've taken the liberty of reworking parts of your post to drop the "fluff" and to correct the title. Could you clarify what you mean by courses? I can't tell if that's an important part of your situation or not.
    – Lilienthal
    Nov 9, 2015 at 15:20

3 Answers 3


As a first rule, don't omit anything from your resume. List all your jobs in reverse chronological order. If this produces a resume that is too long, you might consider combining certain jobs, such as those you held in the summers of your educational period long ago.

Never put references on your resume. At most, say "references available on request." You can omit the line if you need the space. And check with them before you provide their name - typically after a successful interview.

  • Always say "references available on request." Why? This question and other answers seem to indicate that this is not necessary (or even appropriate) for a resume. I agree with your first sentence and third sentence, but it seems the recommendation is that you don't need to put this on a resume. Nov 9, 2015 at 15:34
  • my point was not to list the references on the resume or in the cover letter. I've edited, @ThomasOwens Nov 9, 2015 at 15:43
  • That's must more clear, thanks. It's more clear that it's optional and can be omitted if it takes up space. But it does still seem like many people here even say that you should never put "references available on request", including the other answer here. I would tend to agree with those other posts - never put references on your resume and never put "references available on request". Although I don't agree with that thought, I do +1 since the answer is otherwise perfect. Nov 9, 2015 at 15:47

Your resume is a marketing document and you should only list things that make you a better candidate. You omit anything that doesn't accomplish that objective. That doesn't mean that you should omit a two-year job in an unrelated field, as unexplained gaps weaken your profile. It does mean that you omit a month-long job that didn't work out for whatever reason.

Now, as for how far back your work history should go, I'm going to follow Alison Green who argues that the strongest resumes go back 10-15 years (#3 at the link):

In general, resumes are usually strongest if they go back 10-15 years. It’s rare that anything from before that will strengthen your credentials at this point, particularly versus more recent experience [...].

While an argument can be made for leaving your college education off your resume once you have a decade or two of work experience, it's still customary to list it.

As for references, you don't provide those until you're asked for them. But please leave the trite "references available on request" sentence off your resume and cover letter as it serves no purpose. As Alison says: "Get rid of the line and use the area it frees up for some soothing white space." You'd only fill in "available upon request" in an online application when it's blocking your submission.

Note that in general, character references have little to no value. Hiring managers want to speak with people who benefited from your work and can accurately judge your performance, which means managers or clients.


My first point of reference would be a podcast from 2005: Your resume stinks. Some bits:

  • It is good to be up to two pages
  • For every position: which company (and what it does), what you did (your job), and what you did outside of the strict job description (how you added value)

Then as the author suggests prune it every 3 months for 20-30 minutes (that's for later in your case).

I liked how in the sample resume a 20 year career is summarized into one page.

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