There are two main trains of thought when it comes to answering the question posed by this week’s blog title. The first thought is “why bother?” After all, candidates only provide references that are guaranteed to say positive things, correct? As well, there’s a prevailing assumption, among many, that employers don’t even bother to call references. 

In some cases, that may be true. Hiring managers often use their gut instincts when making their hiring decisions. An incredibly impressive interview may negate the entire reference calling process. However, checking references can’t hurt. 

Employers can detect authenticity when they see and hear it. 

A bogus reference isn’t bound to help out a candidate’s chances of getting the job. With that said, while you may not necessarily need to include references on your resume, it’s a wise choice to have strong and legitimate references available and on stand-by in the event a potential employer requests them. 

To reiterate, be sure to select only appropriate references. These individuals should be able to provide detailed accounts of your past performances and how they would benefit the company you’re applying to work for. 

“When deciding who to include on your reference list, consider who may be able to prove the relevant skills and experience you’ll need for the position,” advises Indeed.com, “The best references are people who will speak positively about your work, attitude and value with specific examples. This can include direct managers or supervisors, colleagues, mentors, business partners, professors or even clients and vendors.”

Be sure to request permission first.

No matter how impressive any particular reference may be, it’s important to get his/her permission before including his/her name on your reference list. The last thing you want is for one of your former employers or work associates to be taken off guard when receiving a phone call from your hiring manager. Be sure to give all of your references the heads up and provide details about the job or jobs you’re applying for. This will give them opportunities to prepare appropriate answers.

“It’s always a good idea to ask for permission to use someone as a reference in advance – before you give out their name,” writes Alison Doyle on TheBalanceCareers.com, “This will allow you to determine, by their response, whether they feel like they could provide a positive reference. If they (or you) have any doubt as to the strength of the reference they might provide, look for someone else who would be more willing to vouch for you.”

Leave references off your resume.

Just to be clear about the answer to the question posed by the title of this week’s blog, you don’t necessarily have to include references on your resume. As mentioned, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have references. It’s always best to be prepared with them in the event your employer requests them.

As Indeed.com points out, “because references are not always a part of the interview process, you are taking up limited resume space to provide what may end up being irrelevant to employers in this phase. Even including the phrase “references upon request” on your resume can be unimportant. If their interview process includes references, employers will ask you to provide them.”