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I have only had one previous job before my current job. In my time there, I worked under one boss and I got their permission to add them as a reference to my CV.

The boss has the exact same name as me. We are not related.

My worry is, I have had a handful of recruiters suggest that potential employers might view this as odd. They ask me can I use a different reference or short-hand the first name, e.g. change Patrick to Pat. One suggested to put 'not related' inside brackets beside the name.

Is it OK to leave the reference written as is, or should I heed the recruiter's advice?

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    What is you argument against adding (not related) behind his/her name? I see no reason not to put the name on your CV, and adding clarity doesn't hurt. – Hans Janssen Jun 29 '17 at 15:54
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    yes, just add a note beside the name ( this is not a typo and we are not related ) or just put Mr. THELASTNAMEHERE – Mister Positive Jun 29 '17 at 15:54
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    Can you add a middle initial to distinguish? I'd say adding (no relation) is still worthwhile to indicate it's not your father or other relative. – David K Jun 29 '17 at 16:31
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    agree with Geliormth and Mister Positive. Its should not be a problem to place a little side note next to the name to make sure there is not confusion when others read your CV – Sierra Mountain Tech Jun 29 '17 at 16:34
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    Going to echo what others have said and say definitely add a small note as there is no downside to doing so. No prospective employer is going to stick their nose up at your note, but they might if it was not there. – Henry Jun 29 '17 at 18:26
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Is it OK to leave the referee written as is or should I heed the recruiters advice?

If s/he has the exact same name as you it's definitely strange. There is no harm in marking it "(not related)" or even "(not me and not related)" to signal that it's neither a typo nor a relative of yours.

  • 17
    I believe that "no relation" is the standard phrasing for these sort of things. – Martin Tournoij Jun 29 '17 at 16:35
  • Alternatively, simply add how you are related to the reference. John Doe (My manager when I was working at Megacorp Inc.) should do the trick. – Cronax Jul 3 '17 at 16:06
  • @Cronax: I think "no relation" is clearer. Just writing "John Doe (my manager ...)" might be interpreted as a claim that the OP was his own manager. – Keith Thompson Jul 3 '17 at 16:44
  • @KeithThompson Personally, I'd always mention the relationship I have with a reference and as a potential employer that would be an important fact to know about the reference. If I'm contacting references a former superior will have a different weight to me than a former coworker would. – Cronax Jul 4 '17 at 8:57
  • @Cronax: I'd interpret "John Doe (no relation)" to mean that there's no family relationship; see the link in the top comment. It's obvious enough that there's some relationship if you're using him as a reference. Whether to say more about what that relationship is (and whether the reference belongs on the CV in the first place) is another matter. – Keith Thompson Jul 4 '17 at 19:46
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I'm not answering the exact question asked, but do you really need to include your referee on the CV? In the UK, at least, this is considered redundant at best (They'll ask if they need it) and bad form at worst (You're inviting any random recruiter, or reader of your CV, to contact this person).

Personally I'd resolve it by simply removing any references from your CV and supplying them as requested, along with the "No Relation" note as required.

  • In the UK, I remember that adding referees to one's CV was common practice, but that was a long time ago. As you say, there's no need now and not recommended. – camden_kid Jul 4 '17 at 15:50

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