Should You Mention References on your CV?


Many of the CV’s sent to me by lawyers contain a mention of references. I always recommend they remove it.

In this article, I will explain why I believe so many candidates add something about references, and why they should leave it off a CV.

Why Candidates Mention References

People include this information for two reasons.

Firstly, because they blindly use a CV template with it in and/or, secondly, because they think this is what recruiters always want to see.

It’s often not their fault either. Certain generalist careers advice out there recommends you include something about them. For example, says:

Don’t give the names and contact details of your referees on your CV. You should simply state that ‘References are available on request'”.

This is outdated advice in my opinion and not necessary for lawyers.

Why You Should Leave References off Your CV

Given the importance of your CV length, and the other impactful information you could include its place, don’t waste valuable word count on references.

Nor do you need to tell the recruiter they are “available on request”. This a real waste of space as it’s stating the obvious. It adds nothing to your application whatsoever.

At the application stage recruiters merely want to see enough evidence that you have what they are looking for. So, references are irrelevant at this stage.

Yes, they may want to take up references as part of their recruitment process but that’s usually not until they have made you an offer.

Until then, use that valuable CV word count to provide compelling evidence that you are the right fit for job.

Want a blueprint for a winning law CV?

Make sure you check out our Essential Guide to Creating a Successful Lawyer CV.

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Matt Oliver

Matt is the founder of Law Career Plus and a former in-house lawyer (Sky Sports, London & Foxtel, Sydney). With over 12 years of experience as a career consultant & executive coach, he supports lawyers with their career development & career transitions. He does this through this website, a regular email newsletter and his one to one lawyer career coaching.

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