Can one list all the people who have written letters of recommendations for him in his reference part of his CV regardless to where those recommendations are written? Or he should specially prepare his CV for the company/university including only the reference people who have written letters of recommendation for him to that company not all of the people from whom he has recommendations?


Edited for clarity, since the question in the title is somewhat opposite to that in the body: do not list all your references on your CV. Only the ones who have written or will write to that particular potential employer. To list everyone might give several unfortunate impressions. First, that the potential employer can contact any one of those references directly. Second, if the prospective employer has received letters from some, but not all, they may think something's wrong... and one form of this is to consider your application "incomplete", but not inform you, and you miss the opportunity.


I have never included references as part of my CV and rarely seen them in CVs that I've reviewed for admissions, hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions.

CVs are a public record of your intellectual accomplishments. They are public, they are shared. They should not be tailored for jobs. See F.N.

References should be in an addendum to the cover letter or a separate file. Including them is much more of a resume practice in my experience.

F.N. some grant agencies, notably NSF, require abbreviated CVs with particular specifications. Also, some jobs such as at conservative religious institutions might warrant some straightening up of the CV, that is if you would want the position. Otherwise, in principle your CV is not a tailored document.

  • Occationally, the people hiring wish to request the recommendations themselves, rather than have the applicant initiate the sending of them. In such cases, it seems like a nice way to handle references is to put them at the end of the CV and put something like "for contact information of my references, I refer to my CV". Other than that, I agree that generally references do not belong on the CV. – Tobias Kildetoft Jul 23 '14 at 18:35
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    Attaching the references to the cover letter as I suggested accomplishes exactly what you want, without contaminating the CV. – RoboKaren Jul 23 '14 at 19:30

There is certainly no reason that you should every person who has ever written you a letter of recommendation on your CV!

I have seen people who are on the job market list letter writers for their in-process job search on their CV. This seems harmless, but also unnecessary. The people who need to know who your letter writers will outline ways for you to communicate this to you (e.g., through a web form, through a list of letter writers, in the cover letter, or simply by seeing who sends in letters). It is normal to list your letter writers in your cover letter or, as requested in many job searches, in a document which contains the list of letter writers and their contact information. It simply does not need to be in the CV.

Letters of recommendations, like other letters, are from the recommender to another person. They are about you, but they are not for you, and their mere existence is not something that belongs on your CV.

You touch on the reason why in your question. The fact that somebody was willing to write a letter (which might have been glowing, luke-warm, or even critical!) does not mean that they would write a letter again today, or that they would write the letter same letter for a different position. If I have not talked to the student in 10 years, I would not write a letter for a start undergraduate who has since graduated with a PhD and is applying for tenure track jobs. The student may be great but my ability to sing their praises is not longer relevant.

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    The people who need to know who your letter writers are will know when they get the letters. — Application processes vary greatly. My university asks applicants to submit names of references. We ask those references for letters directly, but only for candidates that pass an initial screen. The names of the references are one of the criteria used in the initial screen. There is no way for a letter-writer to submit a letter unless we ask for it. – JeffE Jul 24 '14 at 1:23
  • @JeffE So for applicants to your university, it is better to include their names in the CV and then, if they pass the initial screen, faculty members ask for recommendation letters. – Enthusiastic Engineer Jul 24 '14 at 7:34
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    For applicants to my university, it's better to put your references in the slots on the application web form that ask for references. You can add them to your CV (or cover letter) if you want, but most people don't, so we might not notice. – JeffE Jul 24 '14 at 12:28

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