Referees: to list or not to list on your professional resume? | Metro Resumes

Referees: to list or not to list on your professional resume?


Should you list referees on your professional resume? 

As professional resume writers, this is one of our most commonly asked questions.


When answering, we look firstly to whether your professional resume is intended for a government or private sector audience.


Referees for public sector resumes vs. private sector resumes


Many public sector roles will require you to provide details of at least 2 referees. As with most things concerning government applications, you should comply strictly with instruction.


You can list your referees either on your professional resume or on an application form if prescribed.


Before listing any referees, it is always recommended that you contact them first to let them know you are listing their details on your professional resume or application.


Not only is this good etiquette, it also allows you to ensure your referees are able to be contacted, and are willing to provide you with a reference. It reflects poorly on you to have listed referees that seem unwilling to provide a reference for you.



Listing referees for private sector professional resumes


There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to listing referees on a professional resume for the private sector. However, there are a couple of things to take into account.


Most organisations and recruitment firms have privacy policies aimed at protecting you, the candidate. Under most privacy policies, your referees should only be contacted if you are in serious contention for a position – generally if you are shortlisted among the top 3 candidates.


However, we know from experience that such privacy policies are not always complied with. This becomes problematic as it can lead to your referees being contacted even when you’re not in contention for a position.


As you’re asking your referees to take the time to provide a reference for you, you don’t want them to be contacted unduly. 


Something to note - if you're applying directly to an organisation, your referees are likely only to be contacted if you are being seriously considered for a role. 


When would you want to list referees on a private sector professional resume?


Sometimes it reflects well on you to list certain referees on your professional resume. Examples include high profile referees, academic referees or very senior referees.


These sorts of referees, even if listed on a professional resume, are less likely to be contacted unless you are in serious contention for a role.


Another situation where it may be advantageous to list your referees is if you don’t have a lot of experience to present in your professional resume.


This can send the message that even if you don’t have substantial professional experience, you at least have referees that are willing to vouch for you.


For more friendly advice from one of our professional resume writers and selection criteria writers, drop us a line here.


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