Some people do not list references/referees at the end of their CV, and simply quote references are available on request. This is more convenient to me for two reasons:

  1. Normally, no reference is contacted without permission, so, it is not necessary to be included in the CV.

  2. Depending on the purpose (application, proposal), you may want to introduce other references (more relevant to that application). This is the reason that some job applications need separate list of references.

On the other hand, including famous persons as references shows your connections and background. In addition, the audience might be suspicious why hiding possible references!

Which one is preferred and more reasonable?

  • 2
    I think it is totally up to you to decide when and how you want to play your cards. So, you might want to prepare two different versions of your CV; with or without a list of your references. Then you can use each one according to your strategy.
    – user4511
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 13:27

3 Answers 3


In my opinion references are transient. I would expect anybody asking for my reference to do so for each time the reference is requested. the reason is that I would want to know for what I am providing reference and also because I am keen to make the decision to be a reference under my own control.

Hence, i see no reason to provide references in a CV in some permanent way. For each occassion the CV will be used it will of course be possible to add names to the CV but then only for one-time use. It is after all not complicated to edit the CV.

To add a line "references are available on request" would be a big no-no for me (this applies to all aspects of, for example, an application, not just the CV). If you have an application, it should be complete and provide all material and information you want in support unless the application makes it clear some information should be added upon request.


I agree with both points you made and with the points made by Peter Jansson.

  1. I would not allow my name to be used as a reference without permission - primarily to avoid getting a surprise call/email that I am not prepared for, and when I am not prepared I sound like a blubbering buffoon (which would potentially jeopardise the candidate's chances).

  2. This is how my CV is organised, I only include referees that are relevant to what I am applying for (with their expressed permission).

As for famous people, for me, it would be only if they are relevant.


If you keep a generic CV on your personal website or a job search website profile, then it can make sense to add the notice about references, though if you don't have it and you get contacted by a prospective employer, they'll still ask you anyway. I doubt they are not going to hire you because they were to shy to ask for references themselves ;-)

The main reason not to add specific references to a generic CV is that you can't tailor them. If you go for a teaching position, you might want to give the name of the dean at that private college where you lectured for a summer as a reference, whereas if you go for a research position, you want your Ph.D. supervisor as a reference as well as that important guy in some other university that you briefly collaborated with, etc.

Also, when you name references for a specific application, it gives you a chance to let your references know to who to potentially expect a call from. It will help your references (and thereby you) to talk about aspects of you that are relevant to the job you're applying for.

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