Reference Page…to Send or Not to Send

Hopefully you know that your references should NOT be listed on your resume. If you have the space, you should simply list, “available upon request” at the bottom of your one page resume. However, there is some debate as to whether or not you should submit your reference page with your resume and cover letter as a complete application package or wait until the potential employer requests them.

This topic was recently addressed on a career counselor and recruiter listserv I read:

What advice do you give students about when to send references? A) Send a reference page only if instructed to do so in a job posting; otherwise take it with them to the interview or B) Send them with the resume and cover letter as part of a complete application packet.

Of the 28 career counselor professionals who responded, 26 advised students to only send references as requested and two advised students to always send references. In general, career counselors worried that to send the references ahead of time would be viewed as presumptuous or as an inability to follow protocol.

Interestingly enough, the majority of employers recommended that students always send references with the initial application packet. (69 out of 112…so not an overwhelming majority…61%...but more than half) The employers siding on the “references included” option discussed the convenience of having the references on hand immediately.

So…what do you do? Research! Follow instructions on the application page. Ask the recruiter. Ask human resources for the company with whom you are applying. Network with company employees. (Are there other recent graduates who have gone before you?) LinkedIn is a great way to network with professionals who work in different industries/companies.

Thank you Kim Muller with for seeking the answers and compiling the responses.

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