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Bilde av en person som leverer over en CV til en annen person

Working in Norway

Rule of Thumb: Don’t write references on your CV (do this instead)

Written by Karin Lee Published: Aug. 17 2020

Did you know that you don’t need to list references on your CV?

Back in the day, we all wrote our three references at the bottom of our CVs because
a) we were told to do so, and
b) it made us look like solid, qualified job applicants.

But somewhere down the CV-writing road, listing our references began to be considered redundant, and so this practice was sidelined (unless the job listing requests them).

Why? Rather simple, really - hiring managers assume you already have contacts who’ll vouch for your work, or why would you even be applying for a job with their organization?

This assumption also includes the frequently used line, ‘References available upon request.’

Again, there’s no need to write these words, as it’s taken for granted you’ll provide them if asked to do so (for instance, during an interview).

Everybody already knows this, you say?

Well, I’m still getting in CVs with this information on them. Quite often, actually.

So it’s clear that this message hasn’t been getting out to everyone out there looking for a (new) job.

No matter – the important thing is that once this space has been cleared, you can use it to your advantage by:

  • writing a brief Summary at the top that includes your background, skills and career goals
  • adding more information to your Work Experience section that shows your background and skills
  • reformatting the entire document (font, font size, margins, spacing, etc.) to make it more readable

See? You don’t need to feel insecure by being forced to remove your references (and anyway, you’ve still got them, right? – they’re just in the background and not on paper).

Instead, look at this new way of doing things as an opportunity to show in writing how solid and qualified a job seeker you are. And save the references for the interview that is coming your way.

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