Essentially, one my reference is unable for policy reasons is unable to give out his number (I don't know why, but this is answer I received). I know he has and will give me a good reference, but I am unsure how to point out the fact the potential employer will have to asked to be transferred to his current location which may depend on the time of day, that is he may be inside the facility or inside his office.

Edit: I should make a note that this reference must be included on the resume.

  • 2
    Say 'available on request' and sort the details later? Jan 13, 2016 at 22:42
  • @NathanCooper Unfortunately, our application package for the potential internship requires the references to be included on the resume already. Otherwise, I would do this. I should have made that clear in the question and will update the question accordingly. Unless I am misunderstanding what you're intention. Jan 13, 2016 at 22:50
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    It isn't that unusual for people to hide behind a front-desk number (I never give my direct number out to anyone outside of the organisation) - certainly not to the extent that someone calling your referee wouldn't be surprised at having to ask to be transferred to who they want to talk to. Just list the number you have for the referee's organisation.
    – HorusKol
    Jan 14, 2016 at 5:41
  • "I know he has and will give me a good reference" - How do you know this? If you verify this with him you could also take that opportunity to ask how he prefers to be contacted/listed.
    – Brandin
    Jan 14, 2016 at 9:28
  • I think you'll find that most potential employers are capable of asking for the right person if the number you give them isn't direct-dial.
    – Blrfl
    Jan 14, 2016 at 13:17

2 Answers 2


I have had this before, and you simply give them the public switchboard number. It's not uncommon at all to ring through on the public number and then ask for a specific person within the organisation.

In some ways that's a good thing, because it adds some level of credibility to the fact that your reference works at that organisation.


It sounds like you have a number to reach him at, it just isn't a direct number. It also sounds like you are not filling out a standardized form, but submitting a resume (and perhaps supporting information).

I'd recommend putting the contact information for your references on a separate page from the rest of your resume rather than trying to embed the information into the same structure as your resume. Simply give the name, title, and contact information that the person seeking the reference would use to initiate contact. Make a notation after the number stating that they are calling a reception desk or answering service (or whatever the number goes to) and will need to ask to be transferred.

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