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Andrew Arkley

Why references should be on request

CVs present your experience as well as your professionalism to potential employers. Most of the material is presented in a detailed format which highlights the skill sets, education, achievements, and such which you have obtained. The one section that seems to be left deliberately vague is the reference section. Why is this so? Would it not be more presentable to have verifiable information on the page for the potential employer? The answer is a definitive no.

References printed may cause friction

Personal information is valuable to everyone. Employers need references to verify information that a potential employee has performed and can perform the job for which he or she is applying. The downside to this is that personal information theft has become a major concern. This is not to say that your potential employer will use such information illegally, but do consider the number of hands that your CV may pass through prior to getting to the CEO or the hiring representative for the job which you are applying.  For example: If you are applying for an executive position in a financial institution you may first have to present the resume to the local branch for which the position is available, that CV would then go from the receiver of the CV to the manager of the branch, from the manager of that branch it would then go to the district (probably through the human resources department), upon approval it would then go up and up until it reaches the appropriate office. From this example you can see how the personal information of others would be susceptible to misuse.

By eliminating the personal information of others you are eliminating any issues which could arise from giving out such personal information. Furthermore, you are insuring that you are in control of the interviewing process to an extent.

Requests bring you back to the frontlines

Strategically, withholding your references enables you to get an interview and a follow-up interview. This is three times you are exposed to the potential employer. First he or she reads your CV, then you are interviewed briefly and asked for your references, upon verification of your references you may be asked back for an additional interview. The more exposure that your CV has to the potential employer the more likely it will be that your application is remembered and that you receive employment. Keep in mind that there are millions of individuals unemployed and that every advantage must be taken in order to secure a place within an employer’s mind.

Because references also take a great deal of paper space, a potential employer may see your CV as overbearing or cluttered. Remember that your CV is going to first be scanned and then it will be read. If you have pages upon pages of irrelevant material or material which would be best presented at a later date, then your CV will be discarded.

Reference requests give you time to prepare your resources

If applying for multiple positions in a given field (which is the typical practice of those seeking employment) than it would be wise to keep your references removed until you are aware that an employer is seeking the information. This allows you to contact your references and give specific details about the employer which will be contacting that individual. This gives you the advantage as the referenced individual or company given advanced notice to think about what he or she will say as well as narrows the margin for general statements. Consider which would produce the better response “Please let me list you as a reference for a Sales Associate” or “John and Doe franchising is considering me for employment within their local branch and has asked for a reference, would you mind if I listed you as a source?” The more specific you can be with those which are listed as references, the more positive and oriented to the job for which you are applying any questions presented by a potential employer will be.

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