References Available Upon Request: What Does It Mean?


references available upon request

References available upon request is a common term that you may come across when you’re searching for jobs.

But what does it really mean? And is it necessary to put the term on a resume, cover letter, or on other area in a job application?

To answer those questions, we sourced recommendations from a variety of different career experts, who offered their perspectives on the topic.

What Does References Available Upon Request Mean?

what happens after reference check

At the end of a resume or job application, it is common to include the phrase “references available upon request”. This indicates the applicant’s willingness to provide a list of professional references to the prospective employer if requested. Typically, these references would be individuals with whom the applicant has worked closely in a professional capacity, such as former supervisors, colleagues, or clients.

Including this statement on a resume allows the applicant to maintain their references’ confidentiality and privacy until later in the hiring process. This phrase is a courtesy because not all employers may want to contact references at the initial application stage.

When requested, the applicant should be ready to provide a list of reliable references who can attest to their skills, work ethic, and character, which can greatly enhance their chances of getting the job.

Adam Garcia, CEO/Owner, The Stock Dork

Is It Ok to Put References Available Upon Request?

what to do if you have no work references

Yes, it is generally okay to put references available upon request on your resume or job application. This phrase is considered acceptable and is often used as a space-saving measure. Including a list of references takes up valuable space on a resume, and it’s not always necessary until an employer specifically requests it.

Melissa Terry, HR, VEM Tooling

Should You List Your References or Put References Available Upon Request?


The best option in my opinion is to have references prepared in a separate document. You can bring this list of references with you to the interview, which is when you are most likely to be asked for them. Hiring teams usually are not going to take the time to check references unless they think the individual could be a good fit based on their initial application, so including this information in the resume and cover letter is not necessary unless you are explicitly asked to do so.

Matt Erhard, Managing Partner, Summit Search Group

Do You Need to Put References Available Upon Request on a Resume?


No, it is not necessary to include the phrase “references available upon request” on your resume. In the current job market, this statement has become somewhat obsolete. Employers understand that candidates will have references available and will request them when needed as part of the hiring process.

Your resume should focus on presenting a compelling snapshot of your skills, experiences, and achievements. Use this valuable space to highlight your relevant qualifications and make a strong case for why you are the ideal candidate for the position. Including the references statement can take up valuable real estate on your resume and add unnecessary clutter.

Instead, prepare a separate document that lists your professional references and have it ready to provide when employers request it. Ensure that your references are individuals who can speak positively about your work ethic, skills, and character.

By omitting the references available upon request statement from your resume, you create a more streamlined and effective document that maximizes your chances of catching the employer’s attention and securing the job opportunity you seek.

Focus on presenting yourself as a strong candidate through your achievements and let the references be provided when specifically requested during the hiring process.

Matthew Warzel, CPRW, President, MJW Careers, LLC

Where Should References Available Upon Request Go on a Resume?


If you choose to include references available upon request, it can be placed at the end of your resume, after your work experience and education sections. However, it’s better to allocate this space for more relevant information and leave the references for a separate document.

Smita D Jain, Founder & CEO, Empower Yourself


References available upon request is a common term that basically indicates that you have available references that can speak to your character and ability to perform the function of the job to which you’re applying.

However, at least on a resume, writing “references available upon request” is no longer necessary as it takes up valuable real estate that could otherwise speak to your skills and experience for the role.

So, don’t feel obligated to put the term on a resume. Instead, just know that the employer is expecting that you’ll be able to provide references at the appropriate time.

About the author

Dan Slocum

Dan is the founder of Best Fit Work and is a business professional with over 10 years of experience. He has been a hiring and people manager on multiple occasions, and has also gone through the hiring process himself at a variety of different companies. Dan writes to share content, tools, and resources to help people discover and thrive in their own best fit work.

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