After spending hours crafting a great CV, you have finally reached the last page, only to be stumped by the longstanding dilemma: “Should you include references on your CV?” There are many possible answers to this hotly-debated topic – you could include the contact details of your referees, finish with “references available on request,” or leave them out altogether. But which option is the best? References are valuable assets that can vouch for your professionalism, experience and, ultimately, desirability as a candidate, so it’s important to think carefully through the options when writing a CV. To ensure you have all the facts, here are a few things to keep in mind…

Thinking around this issue has changed over time. In previous years, it was standard practice to include the contact details of at least two referees. There are a few benefits that can be reaped from this approach – for example, if the referee is well-known in the IT industry, this can be an impressive way to round-out your CV.

However, including references is now often considered unnecessary. Providing them too early in the process means that you can’t go back and make changes if you subsequently determine a different referee might be more suitable. As a result, leaving them off gives you more options later.

References can also make the CV overly long – space is a valuable commodity in this age where employers often prefer to scan through and make a fast decision, so don’t waste it. A middle-ground that a lot of people end up using is “references available on request” – it shows that you can back up the strengths you’ve already listed and allows you to maintain your referees’ privacy, should they decide to withdraw their consent at the last minute.

Don’t forget to consider other alternatives to addressing references in your CV, such as creating a reference list in a separate document or including up-to-date references and endorsements on LinkedIn.

So, are references necessary on a CV? The short answer is no. As the industry keeps moving forward, it’s important not to get hung up on old ideas. Remember, the best way to stand out is to create a CV that compels employers to reach out for more information.

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