Pros and cons for adding in referee details

  • 14-05-24
  • David Landau

Choosing your referees is an important step in your job search (if you need advice on this, take a look at this article). But is it necessary to list your references on your CV? 

Including your referees’ details used to be standard practice, but recently the thinking on this topic has changed. Many candidates choose to leave them off nowadays. Writing “references available upon request” on your resume can seem like a natural alternative to either including the full referee details or omitting them altogether. But there has been some debate about whether this is the best way to round out your resume.

Whilst there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer, it’s important to have all the facts when making a decision. To help you identify the best approach for your Accounting job application in Sydney, here are some of the major advantages and disadvantages of including “references available on request” on a resume.


Appears relevant

Including the referee's full details on your CV is often viewed as outdated. Companies want to be certain they are interviewing candidates who are up to date on the latest market trends, and who know how to present their skills most effectively. Usually, references aren’t obtained until after the interviews are complete, making it the last step before a position is offered, so they are often irrelevant at the application stage anyway. Omitting references and replacing them with the phrase “references on request” allows a CV to focus on what’s most important – why you’re qualified for the job.

Keep your options open

Including referee details on your resume means you’re committing to using these people for references. A job offer could eventually hinge on these recommendations. It’s important to be certain their feedback will be insightful, constructive, and relevant to the role.

Using “references available on request” in place of the full referee details gives you more options – it allows you to change your mind later on if you realise someone else might be more suitable as a referee for the job. It also provides the opportunity for you to speak to them first, giving them a heads-up and briefing them on the role. Knowing the details about the job you are interviewing for enables your referees to provide more targeted responses if they feel you’d be a great fit for the position.

Maintains privacy

The privacy of your referees is important, and this option allows you to respect that, keeping their details to yourself before they’re needed.

Better use of space

Every word on your resume counts and listing the contact details for your referees can take up quite a bit of space. It would be much better to use this space to highlight your key skills, experience and achievements to show how well you are suited to the role you are applying for.


Passive approach

Although using “references available on request” is seen as a safer option, it could be construed that you are not being proactive in your job search. By not stating who your referees are, your potential employer could feel you are unprepared in your job search and not committed to finding a new role.

Draws out the process

Using “references provided on request” adds an extra step to the hiring process – the employer then must ask you for the referee details before they can go further. This could be a disadvantage with roles that need to be filled in a hurry. If you are up against someone who has references included and time is of the essence (particularly relevant for temporary recruitment), this may be a deterrent for the employer.

Missed opportunity to customise

Every part of your resume should be tailored to the job you're applying for. Instead of using generic phrases like "references available on request," you could use that space to include specific skills or achievements that are relevant to the position. 

Alternatives to specifying referees on request

There are other alternatives to including “references available on request.” Asking referees to post recommendations on your LinkedIn profile will help show a prospective employer that you have professional connections who will vouch for your skills and conduct. While these are unlikely to replace references, it can help speed the process up. However, if taking this route, it’s important these are up-to-date and high quality. Continue to ask new managers and senior colleagues to provide these recommendations to your LinkedIn profile.

Another option is to create a separate document on which to provide referee details once an employer asks for references. Depending on how long it has been since you asked the referees if they could provide a reference, I would still give them a call to let them know to double-check their details - the last thing you want is for your future employer to ring an old number! This proactive approach saves space on your resume but also allows you to present your references strategically, tailoring them to the job you have applied for.


So, if you’re wondering if you can put referenced available on request on your resume, the answer is you can choose whatever feels best for your situation, but you should consider the pros and cons.

When deciding whether to include this on your resume, carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages I have outlined. Consider your specific circumstances and what could be a deal breaker in your job search. Remember, your resume is your first impression on potential employers. So, craft it thoughtfully, ensuring it reflects your professionalism and attention to detail.

If you're still unsure about whether to include references, you should seek guidance from a mentor or from an external party like your Richard Lloyd contact. Ultimately, make a decision that aligns with your goals and enhances your chances of landing your next great role.

If you’d like more advice on writing a CV or support with your job search, get in touch with the Sydney Accounting recruitment experts at Richard Lloyd.