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References Available Upon Request—On a Resume or Off?

References Available Upon Request—On a Resume or Off?

You have a list of ex-coworkers ready to gush about your skills to any hiring manager. Should you put “references available upon request” on a resume or leave it off?

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You’re putting the finishing touches on your resume and can’t wait to apply to the dream job you just found on LinkedIn.

Just one hurdle—


You don’t know if you should include “references available upon request” on your resume. On one hand, you wish that the hiring manager would ask for a reference. Your friendly ex-manager is ready to sing your praises. But you’ve also heard the phrase is outdated and pointless, and a resume faux pas can be disastrous. What should you do? You need to make a decision—fast. 


If that sounds familiar, here’s a guide for you. Read on to clear up:

  • What “references available upon request” means.
  • Why you should leave the phrase off your resume.
  • Where to put “reference available upon request” if you must include it. 


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Louis Delacruz


Brooklyn, NY



Professional Objective


Trend-setting marketing professional with excellent business acumen and effective communication skills. Seeking the marketing specialist position at Sterling Cooper to craft conversion-winning copy for brands across industries. Utilized strong data analytics skills to guide a campaign to 5M+ impressions on a budget of less than $25,000.


Work Experience


Marketing and Communications Intern

Swoop Labs, Manhattan, NY 

August 2019–May 2020

  • Crafted clear, compelling copy for blogs, website landing pages, social media, and email newsletters.
  • Explored 2020 and future trends to make recommendations for future marketing initiatives.
  • Assisted the PR team by conducting research to compare strategies for effectiveness.
  • Maintained marketing content across websites, including publishing blog posts and updating copy.

Key Achievement:

  • Used skills in data analytics to recommend a campaign approach that made 5M+ impressions.


Social Media Intern

AppCloud, Long Island, NY

June 2018–July 2019

  • Crafted and scheduled 15+ social media posts daily across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn.
  • Tracked and evaluated social metrics to find ways to optimize campaign initiatives.
  • Brainstormed new ways to expand outreach using up-to-date social media trends.

Key Achievement:

  • Grew the number of subscribers/followers of one brand by 350% in three months.




BS in Marketing Management and Sales

City University of New York, Manhattan, NY

Graduation: May 2020

  • Created a mock marketing campaign that came in 1st place by designing a new email automation application.
  • Vice President of the Hiking Club.




  • Social Media Advertising
  • A/B Testing
  • HubSpot, MailChimp, and Ahrefs


Key Coursework


  • Behavioral Marketing
  • Internet Marketing and E-commerce
  • Concepts and Foundations of Product Planning


What Does It Mean—“References Available Upon Request”?


“References Available Upon Request”  is a phrase that was common at the bottom of resumes, and used in lieu of including a list of references attached to the resume. Nowadays, the phrase is an unnecessary piece of business jargon that wastes valuable resume real estate. 

Read more: The Do's and Don'ts of Resume Writing

Should You Put “References Available Upon Request” On a Resume?


No, you shouldn’t put “references available upon request” on your resume. Career experts universally agree that the phrase is superfluous. One expert described it as a “one-line space waster”. Ouch.


Why isn’t the phrase helpful? Because hiring managers know that if they need references, they can ask and expect to receive them. Write "reference available upon request" on your resume if you want a recruiter to think “Thanks, Captain Obvious!”.


Another problem is that your resume should be one page long in most cases. That means if you want everything to fit on a one-page template, you need to trim any extraneous fat. That means “reference available upon request” doesn’t come close to earning a place at the table.

Read more: What to Put on a Resume?

When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building professional resume template here for free.

When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.

“References Available Upon Request” vs List of References


It is a good idea to create a list of resume references from previous employers of who could vouch for your talents and experience. But you shouldn’t include the list on your resume (unless it’s specifically requested), because you want to know when your references will be contacted. Your references wouldn’t appreciate their contact information being on every resume you send to hundreds of employers. I know I wouldn’t.


By leaving your references off your resume, the hiring manager will have to let you know they are interested in contacting your references. That way you have time to give your references a heads up, letting them know to expect a call as well as any additional information you’d like for them to mention about your experience. 

Read more: Best Resume Tips and Tricks

Where Do You Put “References Available Upon Request” On a Resume?


If you are convinced against all odds that you want to put “references available upon request” on your resume, the best place to put this phrase is at the very bottom of your resume. You don’t want the phrase to distract from your resume, and even if the hiring manager’s eyes miss it, no harm done. 


It’s a good resume idea to use a footer to format “references available upon request”. This way it will take up even less real estate, leaving more for your skills section or work experience section—the parts of a resume that the hiring manager is actually looking for. 

Read more: How to Format a Resume in 2021


Key Takeaway


The answer is straightforward, you can confidently leave “references available upon request” off your resume even if you’re writing a traditional resume. There is no need to include this phrase, and you’re betting off using the extra line to fit in more work experience or skills on your resume.


There you go! Now you can get on to writing the rest of your cover letter!


Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:


matching set of resume and cover letter

See more cover letter templates and start writing.

Thanks for reading! Do you have any other questions about “references available upon request”? Have you ever been asked to provide references? Share your experiences in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you!

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Cory Streiff
Cory is a career expert with extensive experience in manufacturing and consulting. He recognizes the life-changing impact great career advice can have, and that's why he shares expert tips with every job seeker out there.

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