When you are writing your curriculum vitae, you are obviously going to paint yourself in the best light possible. To get a more rounded view of who you are as an individual, a prospective employer might want to speak with former employers or people you have worked with in the past to get a better sense of your skillset and attitude. Additionally, references show that you have a network of people who are willing to speak on your behalf, so you have people skills. However, it is not always in your best interest to include this section directly on your CV. Here are the times when you need a CV references section and when you do not.
You can put references on your curriculum vitae if it was explicitly asked in the job description to provide them. Many employers are interested in more than simply confirming that you worked at a specific company. They really want to get a sense of your work ethic and if you will fit in well to this new company culture. Some job hunters will put the CV references section on a completely separate document, but if you have some extra space on your CV, then you can fill it out a bit more by including this information.
Additionally, it can work to your advantage to include references if the people are well-known in the industry. For example, if you are applying for a job in academia and have a college president willing to speak about your qualifications, then it can really be advantageous to include him or her. A variation on a typical CV references section is including a short testimonial from an expert in the field. This makes you sound better on the page, and then the prospective employer can contact the reference to confirm the quote.
If you are going to put references within your CV, then make sure you get permission first. You do not want an associate to be surprised that someone is contacting them to discuss your work history. A simple phone call or email asking for approval is all you need.
As valuable as references can be, there are times when it would be preferable to leave them off your curriculum vitae. One instance would be when you are running low on space. At the most, CVs only need to be three pages in length at the maximum. You would not want to leave off beneficial information related to your education or work experience just to list off a few phone numbers. If an employer is impressed with your CV, then he or she will most likely ask for references later.
You also do not need to include a CV references section if you state elsewhere in your application that you can provide references upon request. If you are sending a cover letter or resume along with your curriculum vitae, then you can write on one of those documents that you have references available that you can offer at a moment’s notice. In the event you are going to go down this route, you still want to have a references list ready to go. Still ask individuals if they would be willing to talk about your professional history, and have their names and contact information readily available on another paper. You do not want to scramble to collect a few references if a prospective employer asks you for them.
The best thing for your CV will ultimately depend on how much extra space you have and whether the hiring manager seems interested in speaking to references. If you do decide to include this section, then you can keep it brief. All you need to put are the names, job titles and phone numbers for everyone you include on your list, and you only need three or four references total.