References on CVs: Yay or nay

A friend of mine on Facebook, Ayobami Adewuyi Kelani made a post about whether CVs should have references or not. I found the responses interesting and insightful. Thought to share an overview of the responses for the benefit of others.

Out of about 25 comments, it was an almost 50-50 split: 12 people in favour of “available on request”, while the others felt differently.

Arguments in favour of “available on request”:

1. It helps manage space and makes the CV more concise.
2. For data protection and privacy of the contact details of your references. Its difficult to control how far your CV can travel.
3. A negative reference may work against you.

Arguments in favour of including references:

1. Adds an additional burden to the recruiter of contacting you if it is a necessary requirement.
2. A positive reference may work in your favour.

Another interesting angle was also that job ads should specify whether they want references, just to avoid any chance for ambiguity.

I was initially of the view that references should be made available because of one bad encounter I had 10 years ago while applying for a job, for which I was berated for not including references.

Considering these persuasive arguments, my view is now modified. The concern about data privacy is a valid one. Overall, we should do well to confirm if including references is a requirement for that job role. Where it is, express consent is required before using anyone as a reference.

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Babatunde Akin-Moses

I am currently CEO and co-founder of Sycamore, a peer to peer lending platform that connects lenders to borrowers using technology. I love to write about business, economy, policy, startups, inspiration and entertainment. I am also deeply passionate about making Nigeria and Africa as a whole, a much better place to thrive and prosper for all.

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