10 Things to Leave Off Your Résumé



If a hiring manager wants your references, she'll ask.
If a hiring manager wants your references, she'll ask.
Ryan McVay/Getty Images

The traditional list of references is another casualty of changing résumé standards. You certainly need a list of references – keep them as up-to-date as the rest of your résumé. Just keep them on a separate sheet. When a prospective employer is looking at your résumé, they're several steps away from the point where they care about references. It's a waste of space. When they want to check your references, they'll let you know.

While you may have thought you'd found a clever way to save space by writing, "References available on request" on your résumé, you're not exactly telling your employer anything they don't know. Of course your references are available on request. That's how this whole process works. Don't bother putting that on your résumé.

Author's Note: 10 Things to Leave Off Your Résumé

Heading into the research for this article, I had a pretty good idea of the basic "don'ts" of résumé writing. I've certainly written plenty of them (freelance writers send out a lot of résumés, and friends and family often come to the one writer they know for help with their résumés). I knew a photograph was a bad idea, and that age, religious affiliation and marital status were all things an employer wouldn't want to see for fear of violating civil rights laws. I was surprised, though, that résumé design had shifted so much in the last 10 years or so – my own résumé still had references, and while I'd ditched the objective years ago because I felt it was poor design, I didn't realize that it had become so verboten.

Related Articles


  • Green, Alison. "7 Things to Leave Off Your Resume." U.S. News and World Report, March 2, 2009. (Feb. 22, 2012.) http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2009/03/02/7-things-to-leave-off-your-resume
  • Jones, Elka. "Getting back to work: Returning to the labor force after an absence." U.S. Dept. of Labor Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Winter 2004-05. (Feb. 22, 2012.) http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2004/winter/art03.pdf&sa=U&ei=yrhGT56fGMa0gwfMy_H9DQ&ved=0CAoQFjAD&client=internal-uds-cse&usg=AFQjCNEo0qFHvaJxFzXB2-32XxIgWX5Jfw
  • Sears, Donald. "Resume Objective Statements Are So 10 Years Ago." The Ladders, July 14, 2009. (Feb. 22, 2012.) http://www.career-line.com/resume-advice/resume-objective-statements-are-so-10-years-ago/
  • Thakkar, Nimish. "Top 5 Resume Myths Exposed." The Ladders, Sept. 24, 2008. (Feb. 22, 2012.) http://www.theladders.com/career-advice/top-5-resume-myths-exposed
  • U.S. Department of Labor. "Résumés, applications and cover letters." Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Summer 2009. (Feb. 22, 2012.) http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2009/resume.pdf&sa=U&ei=yrhGT56fGMa0gwfMy_H9DQ&ved=0CAQQFjAA&client=internal-udscse&usg=AFQjCNH3qt7P_4ZGSyX0F7CCwXZ_UnLasw


Infographic: Buy vs. Rent

Infographic: Buy vs. Rent

You're a human. You need a house. Should you buy one or rent one?