Stop Using Me As A Reference On Your Resume

Kevin Wanke
9 min readAug 4, 2021
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash


Right smack dab in the middle of my day I get a fresh, unsolicited email dropped into the middle of my inbox.

Dear Mr. Wanke,

So-and-so listed you as a reference and I wanted to reach out and ask you some questions. Can you please provide detailed responses to the following 12 questions about this person for me?

Corporate Recruiter

Wow. Yeah, that is just what I needed. More work to do today. At least they said please.

My initial gut response to this was one of frustration and exasperation. I wanted to lash out and tell them to take me off their references list as I already feel overloaded and overwhelmed today.

Whew — deep breath.

Let me start over.

Having ranted and raved about the whole resume process and how awful it is many times previously, the act of putting references on a resume and then in the recruiter following up and reaching out to said references is just the cherry on top of a putrid pie.

However, my thoughts on the matter notwithstanding, the hiring process with resumes and often references is firmly entrenched in corporate capitalism.

That means, unfortunately, that most of us at some point will need to participate in this process.

Sometimes you may find yourself as the applicant. In this role, you are trying hard to find a job and get hired. You want to put your best foot forward and you are now being asked to provide a list of people that they can converse with.

They will be talking about you.

How will the reference respond? Will it help you with getting this job?

Other times you may find yourself as the person on the list of references. Did you know that you were on this list?

Is this the type of person that you would vouch for? What kind of responses are you going to provide to the questions being asked?

While this isn’t a super complicated process, there are some topics that every applicant should be aware of and some actions that should be taken (and some avoided) when providing resumes in the job-hunting…

Kevin Wanke

Engineer. Manager. Dadmin. Wanna-be Writer. Editor-In-Chief & Grand Poobah of