Skip “References Available Upon Request” And Other Resume Ink Wasters

Skip “References Available Upon Request” And Other Resume Ink Wasters

Whether you’re looking for a job or already have one, it’s important to keep an updated resume on file. If you’re looking to refresh yours, weblog Divine Caroline suggests skipping common mistakes, like offering “references upon request”.

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The post outlines five signs that may indicate your resume is out of date. Among them is taking precious page space to indicate that your references are available upon request. In general, you should try to avoid any statements (such as the references one) that are glaringly obvious. Instead, keep a list of references and their respective contact details on-hand in case a prospective employer asks for them. Because this tends to happen late in the interview process and generally only if the company shows an interest in hiring you, there's no need to offer the information in advance.

The post goes on to say that you should also avoid outlining an objective since the employer obviously knows that you are looking for a job. Any objective explanations should ideally be detailed in your cover letter, not your resume.

Five Signs Yours Resume is Passe [Divine Caroline]


  • The article’s title is passé: Three diacritic/grammatical errors in one line! Tania really needs to sharpen her writing skills.

    digital format: Most agencies only accept DOC or TXT files, so it’s you may be required to stick with that, but send a PDF when you’re doing a direct HR dept application. I always make sure all fonts are embedded, whatever you use — it’s surprisingly common to find files that are unreadable by the recipient because you didn’t do this — one way to guarantee you DON’T get the job!

    résumé design: Keep it simple — The rule is clearly “no images or graphics”, unless you work in a design-related profession. Using one or two conservative typefaces or subtle highlights is fine, but keep it all minimal and clean. Remember also, most résumés are printed in monochrome (B&W) so ensure they read well on screen and printed.

    content: Most people forget that most articles such as this are penned by American authors — Unfortunately the rest of the world varies wildly in terms of standard résumé requirements. Make sure the content you provide is locally relevant. Local employment agencies are usually a good resource to provide this information.

    You should review your résumé annually or thereabouts, and if it’s not hitting the mark, compare it with your industry peers/colleagues. Also, you will commonly find a tailored cover letter is even more important than the résumé. Although with one-click-apply job sites this need will inevitably change in the next few years.

  • Wow! I’ve worked for and with labour hire companies for more than ten years and everyone I now stopped giving advice like this years ago. It’s just so completely wrong-headed.

    1. One (or even two) page resumes go straight in the bin. How can I determine if someone is right for a job based on a single page?

    2. The “Career Objective” is more a professional summary which highlights what the key info in the resume. It’s always been used for this purpose.

    3. Leave out the reference contact details but include the names and positions of your references. This actually does carry a faior amount of weight.

    4. Most labour hire companys ONLY accept resumes in Word format. A PDF will either get dumped or, if it looks like it’s worth the effort, you will be asked for a copy in Word format. (Word is close to the only import format common across many of these companies’ databases.)

    5. Tailoring a resume to highligh skills for the particular position you’re applying for is a good idea. But for a general resume, list only the last seven or so years of experience with a one-liner for jobs before then if you feel the need.

    • This is one of the biggest differences when looking for a job in the US vs Australia that I found. In the States, everyone tries to keep all the information on the front and back of one page. My (US) professors told me to never go over that limit. Upon arriving in Australia, after looking seeking employment for a month I learned that things are done very differently, and that resumes have many pages here. I changed my resume to three pages and got a job offer straight away. Then I got another from an employer who had taken a month to get to my one page resume. It didn’t end up making any difference how many pages it was.

    • be very wary of including references on a CV/resume. Having worked in recruitment previously, seeing the contact details of a hiring manager or two or three on someone’s CV/resume was a source of free sales leads.

      If that CV/resume went out to a few consultancies, then you have just set up your old boss/nice referee for a few weeks/months of cold calls from those same recruitment companies.

      I would only give them out when they want to use them for the right reasons, and they are less likely to want to annoy them!

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