One of the more common questions we get when working with people in career transition is about the pros and cons of having referees listed at the end of a resume vs the one line of “available upon request”, or “AUR” for the purpose of this article.
To be honest, there is no right or wrong answer, it really comes down to personal preference however there are probably some greater advantages for “AUR”
- If you are currently in a job and looking to move on and don’t want your current employer to know then obviously you cannot list referees from your current role so “AUR” is best in this circumstance
- “AUR” gives you greater control in the recruiting process. Obviously recruiters or potential employers will need to come to you for your referees at the appropriate time so you will then know you are getting to the “pointy end” of the process. You will then have an opportunity to contact your referees to inform them of the upcoming call and to discuss the role capabilities in greater detail (you may even want to send them a copy of the Position Description). Very important that you have referees ready to give the recruiter / employer straight away though – almost as if they were part of your resume in the first place!
- Usually you will need to provide two or three referees however you may be in the fortunate position of having six or seven, eg three people who you have reported to, a couple of clients or external stakeholders who can attest to your capabilities or someone who reported to you who can attest to your leadership skills. “AUR” allows you to then discuss these options with the recruiter / employer and allow them to choose who they would like to contact.
- Shorter and more concise resumes are in vogue these days (4 page max) so a one line of “AUR” allows you to allocate space for other more useful information related to your career
Sometimes, listing referees can be of benefit however.
This is usually the case when the presence of someone’s name and / or title in your resume is well known within a particular industry, or on an even wider scale.
Names such as these appearing in your resume can almost be a selling point in itself as the assumption would be that you would not have them as a referee if they were not going to speak positively about you.
No matter which option you choose though, make sure you:
- Keep in regular contact with your referees and provide them with relevant background and “intel” on the role you are applying for
- Select referees who will speak positively about you and who sound positive and engaging on the phone
- Thank them after they have gone through the process for you.
Paul Bell, Principal Consultant - Hender Careers