• Job Search Tips

How To Answer: 'May We Contact This Employer?'

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13 min read

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“May we contact this employer?"

It’s a common question that you’ll often encounter when you’re filling out a job application, but it can also give you pause. What if you’d really prefer that the company not contact that employer? What if you have legitimate concerns about letting a current employer know that you’re applying for a new job – or have some other valid reason to refuse that request? Can you say "no" without hurting your chances of landing a new position?

In this post, we will explore that question in greater detail and examine some of the most common and legitimate reasons for not wanting a company to contact your previous or current employer. We’ll also consider how your answer might impact your chances of landing a new job, offer some tips to help you navigate this sometimes-tricky question, and provide some sample answers that you can use to help you shape your own response.

Why do employers ask, “May we contact this employer?”

There are some very good reasons why prospective employers may ask to contact an employer you’ve listed in your application or resume . It’s important to understand these reasons so that you’re not too surprised by their request. Below are some of the most common explanations why any hiring manager might ask for your permission to speak to those employers.

Background checks

If the employer conducts any sort of background check , they may simply be asking for your permission to verify the work history details in your resume. They’ll want to make sure that you worked for each company that you listed in your application and check that your employment dates are accurate. Some also want to know why you left those positions, how much you were being paid by the employer, and other relevant details, but many prior employers may be reluctant to share that information so a background check is often called for.

Character references

Sometimes, a prospective employer wants to contact your employment references to seek out more information about your character and work habits. These days, however, many employers are unwilling to provide those kinds of details, due to concerns about potential legal issues. As a result, prospective employers are often only able to verify employment dates, job titles, and similar details without explicit permission from you. 

Are there good reasons for saying no?

Not surprisingly, there may be times when you just don’t want a prospective employer to contact one or more companies that you’ve worked for in the past. The good news is that there are some valid reasons that justify saying “No” when an employer asks, “May we contact this employer?” For example:

If they want to contact your current employer. Many employees don’t want their current boss to know that they’re looking for a new job. In many instances, their current employment could be in jeopardy if their employer discovers that they intend to leave.

If the old company has gone out of business . Obviously, it would be extremely difficult – if not impossible – for a prospective employer to contact anyone from your old company if it no longer exists.

When your former supervisor is deceased . Employers may also struggle to get in touch with the right person if your former boss at the company has passed away. Still, the prospective employer can probably verify your employment details by contacting the company, so this excuse is unlikely to succeed if the company still exists.

If your old employer has a policy against providing references . While uncommon, there are some companies that do not provide any sort of references. If you know that a previous employer had that type of policy, you may want to note that fact in your application.

Can saying “No” harm your chances of landing a job?

Of course, the most important question to ask yourself is whether your “No” answer to the question, “May we contact this employer?” might disqualify you from consideration during the hiring process. 

The short answer is that it likely will harm your candidacy. 

To understand why, you only need to put yourself into the prospective employer’s shoes for a few moments. If a job candidate told you that you couldn’t speak to their former employer, wouldn’t you be a little suspicious about their desire for secrecy?

Obviously, employers are going to understand why you don’t want them to contact a current employer. But when it comes to prior employment , that’s an entirely different story. Formal background checks, informal resume verification, and other information-gathering processes are just part of the hiring process for many companies. If you refuse to provide them with permission to conduct those standard checks, their most likely response will be to just move on to the next candidate.

Therefore, it is always wise to answer “Yes” when employers ask, “May we contact this employer?” unless they’re asking to get in touch with your current boss. Naturally, that might be an uncomfortable experience for you if you left a previous job on poor terms, but there are ways that you can explain those types of situations. If you simply say “No” to a request to speak with that employer, you may never get the chance to offer your side of the story.

You should also remember that answering “No” won’t guarantee that your current employer won’t be contacted. It’s always possible someone at the new company knows someone at the current company, or that the person making calls for references won’t notice your answer. It’s uncommon, but it can happen. That’s one of the unfortunate risks that comes from searching for a new job while you’re still employed.

Tips to help you manage this question

Keep in mind that saying “Yes” to the request to contact your employers doesn’t mean that you must simply stand by and hope for the best from these contacts. The fact is that there are some things you can do to make sure a prospective employer gets the right impression about your previous employment. To help you shape that message, we’ve compiled some tips you can use to navigate any potentially problematic contacts.

Find out what your prior employer’s reference policies say

One thing that you can do to gain more control over the situation is to contact your previous employer to find out how their employment verification processes work. Ask them what type of information they will provide to any prospective employer, and which areas of discussion they consider off-limits. Once you understand what these past employers might say, you can more effectively answer any potential questions about your time at the company.

Keep in mind, also, that it’s just good practice to contact any references before you offer their names to prospective employers. This includes any former employers. While you’re not required to notify them, there are good reasons to do so anyway. For example, if you had a rocky relationship with a former supervisor, you may be able to discover if that person is still working for the company. Even if you had a great relationship with that supervisor, it can still be helpful to let them know that a new employer may be contacting them.

Direct the prospective employer to human resources

If your previous employer has a human resources department or officer, provide that contact number on your application instead of the supervisor’s number. This tactic can be particularly effective in cases where you’re worried that your former boss may not provide satisfactory feedback about your time with the company. For example, if you had personal issues with your supervisor, you’re more likely to avoid negative feedback if your prospective employer is directed to a more neutral party.

Preemptively explain any termination

If you were fired, however, even that strategy may not be enough to avoid difficult questions about the termination. Your best bet is to tackle that issue as directly as possible by noting the separation in your resume and addressing the reasons for your firing in a cover letter . Obviously, you don’t want to dwell on the termination any more than you need to, but it can be helpful to offer some brief explanation for your dismissal – and include some language that describes any important lessons that you learned from that experience.

Remember, it is not uncommon for employees to get fired, laid off, or otherwise involuntarily separated from their jobs. As a result, most employers will understand a termination and not hold it against you – if you can show that you’ve learned something valuable from that firing.

Below, we’ve included some examples of how you can explain a termination by demonstrating how you’ve grown because of that experience:

“Unfortunately, the job I was hired for ended up changing in ways that no longer aligned with my skills and values. That led to some irreconcilable differences in perspectives that created tension in the workplace. Since then, I’ve spent a great deal of time working to improve my communication to ensure that I am always on the same page with my employer.”

“My role in that position required me to meet certain sales and account metrics, and I was confident in my ability to use my interpersonal skills to achieve those goals. Unfortunately, it took me longer than I expected to acclimate myself to the competitive environment and the results I needed didn’t come as fast as I thought they would. However, that role and my subsequent sales training taught me a variety of great strategies, so I am grateful for that experience.”

If you were fired, take some time to think about why it happened, and your level of responsibility. You may also want to try to contact that former boss to accept responsibility and perhaps even thank them for providing those lessons. Sometimes, that approach can even help to mend fences and make them more likely to provide a positive reference if they’re contacted.

Omit the employer from your resume

If all else fails, you can also consider leaving a problematic former employer off your resume altogether. Usually, this is only truly effective if you worked for the company many years ago or had the job for a very short period. Just recognize that this will be difficult to do if you were in that position for more than a year, since omitting it from your work history may create an employment gap in your work history. Prospective employers are likely to ask what you were doing during that gap period.

Sample answers to the question, “May we contact this employer?”

When it comes to the job search process, preparation is critical for optimizing your chances of success. The best way to ensure that you have an acceptable answer to the question, “May we contact this employer” is to prepare a response before you even begin your job search. To help you with that process, we’ve compiled a short list of helpful tips you can use to create your own answers. In addition, we’ve provided some sample answers that you can use.

Tips to help you prepare a response

Remember that it is almost always better to say “Yes” to any request to speak to former employers. If there is a good reason to say “No” then take the time to explain those reasons.

Your response needs to be as honest as possible. If, for example, you lie about your reasons for getting fired, there is always the chance that your prospective employer will discover the truth during a background check or even after you’re hired.

Keep in mind that employers typically don’t check your references until after they’ve interviewed you and are actively considering a job offer. That often means that you’ll have an opportunity to explain to a hiring manager what those employers might say – like the fact that you were fired, for example – before they speak to your former boss.

Maybe your boss couldn’t get along with you, but surely you can find someone else at your company who did. Your boss isn't the only reference you can provide on a job application. Just make sure this reference knows that employers may call and ask them questions. Your contact should only have good things to say about you. You should also ensure that this person has a high-level title like a manager or supervisor.

Sample answers you can customize to create your own response

As promised, here are some examples that you can modify to create an answer to the question, “May we contact this employer?”

“That won’t be possible, because the company went out of business in 2021, two years after I left. However, I would encourage you to contact my supervisors at the other companies I listed on my resume. They are all familiar with my work, the skills that I brought to the table, and my effective collaboration with everyone on our team.”

“Yes, but you should know that my supervisor from that period passed away three years ago. I did contact the company to let them know that I provided them as a reference, and they gave me the number of the person you can talk to if you want to give them a call.”

“I would prefer that you not contact my current employer since they’re not aware that I’ve been looking for other career options. You’re more than welcome to get in touch with the other firms on my resume, though. They should be able to provide any information that you need about my qualifications for this position.”

“You can feel free to contact them. Unfortunately, though, they’ve informed me that their current policies prohibit making any references for former employees. I’m not sure if they’re willing to at least verify the employment details I provided in my application, but there’s probably no harm in reaching out to them.”

Final thoughts

As a job seeker, you should always expect prospective employers to ask you whether they can contact your previous bosses. Every new hire they make is a gamble, so they’ll want to do everything they can to mitigate their risks. Hiring new employees is a major investment in time, money, and resources, so the least any company can do is verify each candidate’s resume details – and especially prior employment.

The good news is that there are ways to effectively deal with the question, “May we contact this employer?” By understanding why employers ask this question, knowing what they hope to achieve with their investigation, and taking the time to develop reasonable responses, you can more effectively manage your response to appear as open and transparent as possible. In the end, that’s the best way to ensure that your answer to this question doesn’t derail your job search efforts.

Are you confident that your resume has what it takes to capture the attention of today’s hiring managers? Take a few moments to get your free resume review from our team of experts to give you the job search peace of mind you deserve.

Recommended reading:

How to Make a Resume in 2023 (+Examples & Tips)

5 Things Hiring Managers and Recruiters Want on Your Resume

How to say you were fired on your application

Ken Chase, Freelance Writer

During Ken's two decades as a freelance writer, he has covered everything from banking and fintech to business management and the entertainment industry. His true passion, however, has always been focused on helping others achieve their career goals with timely job search and interview advice or the occasional resume consultation. When he's not working, Ken can usually be found adventuring with family and friends or playing fetch with his demanding German Shepherd. Read more resume advice from Ken on  ZipJob’s blog .

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How to Answer: “May We Contact Your Current Employer on Job Application?”

A question you may face on a job application is, “May we contact your current employer?” This may seem daunting, but the person who asked this question likely has a reason for asking.

Here are ways to respond to this question, according to experts.

Joni Holderman

Joni Holderman

Professional Resume Writer, Thrive Resumes

It’s fine to say “no” as long as you provide excellent references

Many times this question is a routine part of the application process, so it’s not a deal-breaker for the employer. Any reputable company will understand why you don’t want to jeopardize your current job.

Make sure that the references you provide when asked are strong.

That means you’ve contacted them ahead of time and they’ve agreed to provide a reference for you. They should be former bosses or executives, not personal friends. Ideally, you will have a colleague, former coworker, or client who can provide a reference for your performance with your current employer. But if not, that’s still okay.

After you accept a written job offer and give two weeks’ notice at your current job, many new employers will want to check that reference, just to verify the info on your resume is accurate. At that point, it’s not going to endanger your career.

Related: How and When Does an Employer Check Your References?

Petra Odak

Chief Marketing Officer, Better Proposals

It is better to decline and give a list of previous employers to call

When you’re applying for jobs, you probably don’t want your current employer to know. In most cases, it means that you’re unsatisfied with something, be it the pay, the overall conditions, the colleagues or something else.

In my experience, employers don’t take it very lightly when they see that you’re looking around for a new job. It may not seem like it, but they see it as a sort of betrayal.

When they hear from someone that you’ve applied for a new job and the potential new employer wants to hear from you about their experience, they most likely won’t be happy. They are faced with the decision – either give you a promotion/raise/change something or put in a good word about you to the new employer and just let you get the new job.

Whichever way they choose, they’ve just found out that you’re unhappy enough with your job to look for another one. No matter how big or small the company is, someone is bound to take this personally.

In that regard, if you’re interviewing for a job and the person on the HR team asks if they can get in touch with your current employer to find out more about you, tell them to call someone else. It will cause nothing but trouble for you and you’ll end up not getting the job (as your employer won’t praise an employee who wants to jump ship) and you’ll be next on the list when the first round of firing comes up.

In short, give the person who wants your references a list of previous employers to call. It will be better for everyone involved and you’ll avoid a potential disaster.

Dorota Lysienia

Dorota Lysienia

Community Manager, LiveCareer

It’s a tricky question because, on the one hand, you care about getting a new job, but on the other, you don’t want to burn bridges at your current company. Most of us want to keep our job hunting confidential as long as we can.

While there is nothing wrong with saying “no,” you can take a more creative approach when answering this question.

Agree only if you’re considered as one of the top candidates for the position

It’s clear that you don’t want every company you apply for to contact your current employer. The chances that they all will are pretty low, but it’s always better to be on the safe side. That’s why it’s a good idea to allow the company to reach out to your current employer, but only if you’re considered as one of the top candidates for the position. You can say something like:

“You can certainly contact my current employer, but I would kindly ask you to do it only if I’m one of the top candidates for the position.”

Offer former employers instead

Also, there is nothing wrong with offering to contact your former employers instead. That way, you say “no” to one thing but provide an alternative solution that can raise your chances in the recruiter’s eyes. For example, you can frame it like that:

“As my current employer doesn’t know that I want to pursue a different career path, I’d prefer to communicate it to him personally. Maybe you would be willing to speak to one of my previous employers instead?”

Paul French

Paul French

Managing Director, Intrinsic Search

Your answer should be no

When a recruiter or hiring manager asks to speak to your current employer, your answer should be no. But, you should follow this with a brief explanation. You might say something like this:

“No. You may not contact my current employer because they do not know that I am job hunting. It would be best to contact them after you have extended an official offer of employment, and even then, I want to be the one to tell them that I have got an offer elsewhere.”

It is good practice not to reveal that you are looking for a job while employed elsewhere. This might result in a breach of contract if you have an employment contract.

Your employer is also likely to fire you if they find out you have your eyes set elsewhere. Even if they just want to verify that you work there, contacting your employer will raise a red flag and expose you too soon and cause you to risk losing your job.

All in all, any employer who would jeopardize your current livelihood just for them to find out a little information about you might not be the right fit after all.

Magda Zurawska

Magda Zurawska

HR Manager, Resume Lab

Simply put a polite but firm “no”

For me, this question is a non-starter.

While it’s only normal and obvious that people apply for new gigs and jobs all the time, until you have received a job offer, it’s in your best interest to keep the search to yourself.

It doesn’t take much foresight to see how potentially offensive it may come off if a company you’re interviewing with were to call your current employer. You’d most likely want to avoid this situation if job security and maintaining good relations matters to you.

On the other hand, all previous employers are fair game and you should be able to provide at least one reference from each of them. Since you no longer work there but have it listed on the resume, there should be at least one person who can vouch for your accomplishments.

All in all, it behooves you to inform your potential future employers that at this point in time, you’re not comfortable with them calling your present employer. Surely, they will understand as announcing to the world that you’re currently applying elsewhere is a “slap to the face” that no one likes nor appreciates.

Magda Klimkiewicz

Magda Klimkiewicz

HR Business Partner, Zety

When you come across the question, “May we contact this employer?” on a job application, you might be unsure how to best answer it. After all, you likely don’t want your current employer to know you’re job-hunting. If that’s the case, it’s OK to say “no,” as hiring managers know people look for new opportunities while they have a job, and they wouldn’t want you to get in trouble.

However, if you aren’t currently employed because your previous employer terminated your contract, saying “no” could do you more harm than good.

For one, it doesn’t mean the company will actually contact your past employer. They are merely asking for permission to do so. Second, a “no” might be counted as a disqualifier by some organizations.

Saying “yes” is your best bet

If you’re nervous about what your past employer will say, you can call them yourself and ask what would happen if another company inquired about you. Keep in mind that defamation is illegal, so your old manager can’t trash talk you to a recruiter or a hiring manager.

Eric Kim

Program Director, LA Tutors 123

Don’t be afraid to say no

Sometimes a simple no will suffice. When applying to a job, remember that you are also trying to get a sense if the position and company is right for you. If a potential employer tries to pressure you into providing a reference from your current place of employment, that should be a red flag and something to keep in mind when deciding if you want to accept an offer.

Most employers understand that the fact you’re looking for a new position is probably not something you want to be advertising at your current job.

For obvious reasons, you wouldn’t want your current employer to think you’re unhappy and make assumptions about your mindset. After all, looking for new employment doesn’t necessarily equate to you being dissatisfied, but it can leave that impression on your manager.

There are, however, situations where it might make sense to say yes. If you’re being laid off for reasons that aren’t for cause (e.g. budget cuts, your position was seasonal/temporary), your current manager already knows that your position is coming to an end. In fact, if they want to keep you, knowing that you are actively searching for a new job may incentivize them to come back with a counteroffer. Of course, this means you need to let your current employer know to expect reference calls.

Assuming they valued you as an employee, they will hopefully put some thought into providing a positive reference in order to provide you with the best opportunity for success.

If you’ve said no to this question (as most of you should), it’s also a good idea to let your potential employer know that your initial no is not final , and you’re open to them reaching out once the timing is right (i.e. once you have an offer on the table). This way, they know that you’re not actively hiding your poor performance at your current job and that it’s simply a matter of being cautious and prudent.

Vanessa Phan

Vanessa Phan

Managing Consultant for HR, Operations, and Private School Testing Prep Divisions, Cardinal Education

“ May we contact your current employer?” is a very tricky question and one which applicants should be prepared to answer as it could make or break a job application.

However, most recruiters will be wary of asking this question because they understand that if you are still currently employed, then your application is most likely confidential and they wouldn’t want to get you in trouble for doing so.

Explain that your current employer doesn’t know about your application

Answering “no” could be acceptable as long as you explain that your current employer doesn’t know about your application.

Simply say, “I’m sorry, but my employer has no idea that I am applying for this job.” This could open Pandora’s box though. Questions like, “Why are you resigning from your current job?” , “What don’t you like about your company?” , etc. will stir the interest of the recruiter.

Related: What Can Potential Employers Ask Former Employers?

In this case, just be honest while still maintaining the integrity of your current employer. Remember that your response will reflect how you will treat their company later on.

Offer to call another person

You can also offer for them to call another person, like your previous employer, if they want to conduct a background check on you.. Just make sure to call ahead and inform your former boss that such a call could happen at a particular time.

However, the best response, of course, would be to give the green light and say that they can go ahead and call. Replying with “Yes, you may certainly do so.” would seem like you are not hiding anything and that you are confident about your status as an employee as well as your job performance.

For whatever reason, the most important thing is to be honest and straightforward with your answer to this question. This reflects on your work ethic and character as a team player.

Jessica Lim

Jessica Lim

HR Manager, MyPerfectResume

Prepare a list of references for the recruiter to contact

When asked if it’s ok to contact your current employer, it’s perfectly fine to say no, but don’t just leave it at that. Be honest about your situation and explain why you don’t want the recruiter to contact your current manager.

It’s most likely that your current employer doesn’t know that you are looking for a new job, and you don’t want to alert them unless you have a secure spot in a new company. Though this is something a recruiter can understand and accept, don’t leave them empty-handed, and be sure to prepare a list of references for the recruiter to contact. By doing so, you’ll appear open and honest with the recruiter, and you’ll also show that you came prepared with other options.

Dana Case

Director of Operations, MyCorporation.com

Fill in the contact gap by providing additional references

This is a question that sometimes appears on job applications and sometimes does not. It’s okay to say no if that is your personal preference. You may, however, decide to fill in that contact gap by providing additional references that the employer may reach out to and speak with.

If possible, try to include a former manager or boss that you worked with and have a good relationship together. The former employer may be able to share insight about your work ethic and behavior, providing the potential next employer with the necessary information they need about you as a possible new employee.

Brian Dechesare

Brian DeChesare

Founder, Breaking Into Wall Street

It’s perfectly acceptable and widespread for employees to keep their job search from their current employer.

Alerting your current employer to your job search may put your position in jeopardy, and if the potential job doesn’t work out, you could end up in a tense work situation or slowly be pushed out of your job. Most hiring managers will understand why you don’t want to alert your employer to the job search.

If a hiring manager asks to contact your current employer, say, “I have a great working relationship with my current employer. Though they don’t know I’m looking elsewhere yet, I’d be happy to offer a previous employer’s contacts instead.”

Avoid any answers that may make it sound as if the relationship with your current employer is bad, and redirect with some other helpful contacts the hiring manager can reference.

There are some cases where your employer may already know you’re looking for work elsewhere, depending on your relationship and the reason you’re looking for work. If you’re openly looking for a new job and have your employer’s blessing, speak with them about being a potential reference and use them – that sort of open, strong relationship between employee/manager can make you look like an honest and communicative employee.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How can i protect my privacy during a job search.

Job searching can be a sensitive topic, especially if you’re currently employed. Here are some tips to protect your privacy:

Keep your job search confidential:  Don’t tell anyone at your current job that you’re looking for a new job, and be careful who you talk to about your job search.

Use a personal email address:  Instead of using your work email address, use a personal email address that isn’t associated with your current employer.

Be discreet on social media:  Be careful about what you post on social media, especially if your current employer or colleagues can see your posts.

Ask potential employers to keep your job search confidential:  When applying for jobs, you can ask potential employers to keep your application and job search confidential.

What happens when your references are contacted?

When your references are contacted, prospective employers usually inquire about your work history and accomplishments at previous jobs. 

They may inquire about your: – Job duties – Strengths and weaknesses – Reliability – Communication skills – Work habits – Ability to work in a team

If your potential employer is interested in specific skills or qualifications related to the job in question, they may ask your job reference specific questions about those skills or qualifications.

It’s crucial that you select references who can speak positively and knowledgeably about your work experience, skills, and accomplishments.

You should also inform your references that you’re applying for jobs so they can expect a call or email from a potential employer. This will give your references time to gather their thoughts and prepare for the interview.

What if my current employer finds out I’m looking for a job?

If your current employer finds out you’re job searching, it’s essential that you handle the situation professionally. Here are some tips:

Be honest.  If your employer approaches you directly about your job search, be honest but respectful. Explain why you’re looking for other opportunities and assure your employer that you’re committed to your current job until you’re ready to move on.

Don’t talk badly about your employer.  Even if you’re unhappy in your current job, don’t badmouth your employer or speak negatively about your work environment. This could damage your professional reputation.

Be willing to talk about your plans.  If your employer knows you’re job hunting, they may want to discuss your plans and try negotiating with you to keep you on board. Be prepared to discuss your career goals and what you hope to accomplish in your next role.

What information should I give a potential employer when I give permission to contact my current employer?

When giving a prospective employer permission to contact your current employer, you should provide the following information:

– Name and company of your current employer – Contact information for your supervisor or department HR – Your job title and dates of employment – A brief description of your duties and accomplishments in your current position

If you provide accurate and detailed information, the potential employer will better understand your skills and experience, and the reference check process will go more smoothly.

How can I get a positive job reference from my current employer?

Maintain a high work ethic:  Always perform your duties to the best of your ability and show commitment to your job.

Maintain positive relationships:  Build and maintain good relationships with your supervisors, colleagues, and subordinates.

Communicate your accomplishments:  Communicate regularly about your projects, achievements, and contributions to the team and the company.

Ask for feedback:  Get regular feedback from your supervisors and peers and use that feedback to improve your performance.

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The Editors

How do I look for a new job without telling my boss? Ask HR

For those who wish to remain incognito when searching for a job, the majority of job applications include a check box to specify that potential employers do not contact a current employer.

Johnny C. Taylor Jr., a human resources expert, is tackling your questions as part of a series for USA TODAY. Taylor is president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, the world's largest HR professional society.

The questions are submitted by readers, and Taylor's answers below have been edited for length and clarity.

Have a question?  Do you have an HR or work-related question you’d like me to answer?  Submit it here .

Question: I'm unhappy at my current company, and am starting to search for a new job. However, I don't want my current employer to know I'm looking, because it's likely I'll get terminated. How do I get around that tricky section on a job application that requires the contact information for your current employer? – Anonymous

Johnny C. Taylor Jr.: This challenge is a lot easier to overcome than many people might think.

The fact of the matter is most employers will not contact your current employer without discussing it with you first. And typically, reference checks won’t occur until an applicant is further along in the process.

In fact, the majority of job applications include a check box to specify that potential employers do not contact a current employer. I recommend checking this box if you wish to maintain the secrecy of your job search.

You might also include “I would prefer not to list my current employer’s contact information until a job offer is received.” Potential employers are likely familiar with situations similar like yours and will generally understand and honor your request to refrain from contacting a current employer until an offer is imminent.

Applying for a new position can be nerve-wracking – trust me, I understand. If you still feel unsure, you could even add a note explaining you are currently employed and would appreciate it if your application was kept private during the interview process. In most cases, this ask may be unnecessary but, if you’re worried, it could be enough to buy the peace of mind you need to be and feel your best. 

I’ll say this, though. Reference checks are a tried and true approach for employers to make smart hiring decisions. They are an integral part of any job application. I encourage you to reach out to your references and let them know you are beginning the job search so they are not caught off guard if a hiring manager reaches out.

Happy job hunting!

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Q: I am a new, young manager. One of my direct reports is around my age. I'm naturally an open and friendly person and I want to have a good relationship with my team. However, because I'm so close in age and was once their peer, how do I draw respectful boundaries without coming across as cold? – Anonymous

Taylor: Congratulations! Getting promoted to manager is a big deal, and hopefully, one of many more landmark moments in your career. That said, I totally see how your excitement might be mixed with apprehension. Going from being peers with your colleagues to becoming their boss can feel like a 180.

While boundaries do and will change, it doesn’t mean you must completely transform your working relationship. In fact, your new position could improve it.

To make the best of it, here are a few ways you might try establishing healthy boundaries to build a productive dynamic:

• Set aside time for individual and team meetings with your new reports to discuss what they are working on. Great ideas often come from these free-flowing, open and collaborative conversations with the team. Let them know you welcome their questions, ideas and perspectives.

• Be patient and allow your team to ease into this newly-established relationship. You’re embarking on this journey together.

• Build trust by providing direction and support as needed. And remember, you can still be an effective leader while being friendly and approachable. This doesn’t take away from your managerial skill set and newfound authority.

Remember: This adjustment isn’t all about you. While you’re getting acclimated to your new position, your direct reports are also adapting to working with a new manager – who was once their peer. It can be tricky, maybe even a bit awkward, but just know it’s a completely normal period of transition. For additional guidance, consider finding a relevant course on LinkedIn or earning a management certification.

You can still socialize with former peers, just keep it professional and consider limiting conversations to hobbies or interests. There will be a lot of fine-tuning on both ends as you navigate your new role and the new dynamics that come with it.

Bottom line: Trust yourself, lead with empathy, confidence and transparency, and you will forge a winning team.

There are many difficult questions on job applications, but possibly few are trickier than the inevitable “May we contact this employer?” While there are plenty of reasons why a candidate may not want their supervisor to be contacted, most professionals don’t want their current employer to know that they are interviewing elsewhere. Those who have been previously laid off— an already difficult topic to address — or had a bad experience at the company may even prefer to avoid any type of contact with these former employers.

Read also: 3 Ways To Explain Getting Fired In An Interview

In the end, the choice is difficult either way: should you put “no” and look like you have something to hide, or answer “yes” and risk a poor reference or an unpleasant surprise for your current employer? It depends on whether the employer in question is from the past or present.

Former Employers:

Answering “no” to “may we contact this employer” without some sort of explanation can raise some red flags. This response may make them suspicious that you’re wary of a poor reference, that you could be hiding something, or that you never worked at that company in the first place. But what about those unfortunate situations in which past employers may still feel some resentment towards a hard-working employee who left for a new opportunity? Here’s what you shouldn’t do in either case: answering “no” without an explanation or lying on your resume.

If there is room on the application for a brief explanation, such as the fact that your manager no longer works at the company, be sure to include it. If there isn’t, try to include a short explanation in your cover letter or thank you note to the hiring manager. Whatever you do, however, never include misleading information on your resume. For instance, leaving a large time period blank to avoid mentioning a certain employer, may lead the hiring manager to question what you did during that time period. Should they investigate this easily verifiable information and find out you’ve lied, it could cost you more than just the job; it can hurt your professional reputation and potentially close future doors.

If you’re worried about a past employer causing problems for your job search, a more preferable option when asked, “may we contact this employer,” would be to provide the basic Human Resources phone number rather than the extension of your specific supervisor.

Current Employers:

For those who simply prefer to keep their job search quiet from their current employer until they’ve secured a position, the answer is much less complex. Most recruiters and interviewers understand that job searches can be confidential and won’t contact your current employer until they clear it with you first. So answering “no” to the question, “may we contact this employer?” isn’t uncommon or unacceptable. In fact, if you do grant them permission, they may still double check with you beforehand as a precaution. An acceptable answer, should this be the case, is “certainly—providing I’m one of the top candidates for the position.”

Remember, defamation is illegal, and in most cases employers will adhere to the questions they are legally allowed to ask. Likewise, many organizations have their own reputation to maintain, and unprofessionally bashing a former employee is a great way to sully it.

Read also: Job Seekers: 6 Illegal Interview Questions To Watch For

In most cases, answering “yes” will be the safest bet. But should you be wary of your past performance or of a sour past employer, make sure to tread carefully and use one of the above tips to answer the question.

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Should You Let Potential Employers Contact Your Current Employer?

Should You Let Potential Employers Contact Your Current Employer?

When you’re looking for a new job under the radar, it can be tricky keeping it from your current boss - especially when potential employers ask if they can contact your current employer during the hiring process. So, what should you do? Today, career experts J.T. O’Donnell and Dale Dauten share some advice on the following situation... Dear J.T. and Dale, Should I let potential employers contact my current employer? One common question I’ve been asked during interviews, is whether the potential employer can contact my current employer. If I give permission, my current employer could find out I’m looking for a new job. However, if I don’t give permission, it’s like I have something to hide. - Eric Thankfully, you’re not the only one who’s looking for a job while employed. In fact, it’s very common. But you DO have something to hide - you’re looking for a job right under your current employer’s nose. According to Dauten, it’s completely okay to say “no” if potential employers want to contact your current employer. However, O’Donnell also recommends that can put it off until an offer has been solidified. In this case, you could say something like this: “I would be happy to have you contact my current employer after a written offer has been made to me. If we decide that I’m the fit for the job and I accept the job, I want to be the one to go in and tell them that I’m leaving so I can maintain the relationship I worked so hard to build with that company. They don’t know I’m looking for a job right now, and I feel if you contact them right now, it could throw them off-guard. I’d like to be the one to tell them. But absolutely, once we’ve decided I’m the candidate, you can contact them.” Putting this out there will legitimize your reasoning for not letting them contact your current employer, and is a tactful way to decline for the time-being. “I think that’s the right and fair way to do it so you can maintain both relationships,” said O’Donnell. “And that way you don’t have to say ‘no’ to the potential employer." So, don't worry about letting potential employers contact your current employer. As long as you know what to say, you can manage it. Also, most companies are understanding when it comes to candidates looking for work in secret, so it's not a huge deal!

Wish your job search was easier?

Related posts:, 4 simple career resolutions for 2024.

Everyone has heard of New Year's resolutions. You know, those promises we make to ourselves about things we'll do better in the year ahead. Sometimes these resolutions work, while other times we end up with gym memberships we never use! But have you ever heard of a career resolution? It's actually the same thing as a New Year's resolution, only career-focused.

However, with something as important as a career, you don't want to break these resolutions. That's why it's important to keep these goals manageable.

Here are four simple career resolutions that are easy to stick to and achieve.

Be Self-Aware Of Where You Stand In Your Career

Being honest and self-aware of where you are in your career is the most important step in making strong career resolutions. If your career is going nowhere and you're unhappy, then it may be time to consider a career change , which will take you down a different path entirely.

But if you're happy and in good standing with your career, it's a lot easier to set goals for the year and build out a long-term career plan .

Find A Way To Grow Your Career

Career growth is a very broad spectrum that means something different to everyone. It could be something as simple as improving on a weakness or building on a strength. It could also be learning a new skill or taking on additional responsibilities at work.

On a larger level, it could be seeking a promotion or moving into a leadership role .

Whatever the goal is, make sure it includes growing professionally. The worst thing you can do is stay the same! If you're not growing your career, you're dying—and becoming a lot less valuable to your employer. There are always ways to upskill !

Better Serve Your Professional Network

With current colleagues, former colleagues, and other professional acquaintances, you've probably built a solid professional network through the years. A strong professional network can come in handy if you lose your job or are looking to make a career change . However, you shouldn't just rely on your network when you're in need!

It's important to find ways to offer value to your network . This could include checking in with members of your network from time to time. Exchange messages on LinkedIn to see how they're doing or share relevant content of interest. If you can help someone in your network going through a career challenge, you should!

Maintaining a strong professional network is like an investment. If you want it to pay off, you have to put some time into it and be consistent.

Take Care Of Yourself

Working on your career is hard work! It's okay to be selfish sometimes. Whether you're working to grow your career or looking for a new job , it's important to find balance.

Your family and health always come first, so make sure your career goals don't interfere with that. If you want to set aside time during the week to work on your career that's fine, but don't miss important family events or milestones.

Don't let your career goals get in the way of your health goals. Go to the gym, take a walk, or go for a jog. Balance is key to maintaining healthy career and life goals. Sometimes you just need to adjust that balance as you go.

Need help sticking to your career resolutions?

Become a member to learn how to UNLEASH your true potential to get what you want from work!

This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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15 Things To Avoid Putting On Your Resume

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Summary. You should avoid adding in an irrelevant or outdated work experience, desired salary information, and an unprofessional email address or social media URLs. Be sure your resume is error free from spelling or grammar mistakes. You should also avoid exaggerating or adding any lies to your resume.

You know that rush of excitement you feel when you find a job listing that perfectly fits everything you’re looking for? Something that could very well be your dream job ? Well, for every job listing an employer posts, about a million other people get that same euphoric feeling.

Here are 15 things to avoid putting on your resume to help you stand out from the crowd.

Key Takeaways:

If you want to impress hiring managers within that window, you need to highlight your relevant experiences and qualifications so they can see that you’re an ideal candidate

Hiring managers look for reasons to screen out applicants to narrow down a list of people to interview so if you include the wrong information, you could sabotage your own job search .

Employers typically end up spending about 10 seconds or less glancing over your resume before they decide to toss it or not.

15 Things to Avoid Putting On Your Resume.

15 Things to Avoid Putting On Your Resume

Other things to leave out of your resume.

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Employers get tons of resumes for every job opening they post online. No one has enough time to thoroughly read through every single resume they receive, so employers typically end up spending about 10 seconds or less glancing over your resume before they decide if you go in the trash pile or not.

Here are 15 things to avoid putting on your resume to help you stand out.

Your age. Employers want to know what strengths and qualifications you have that can help their company succeed, not how long you’ve been able to stay alive. Try to avoid including:

Professional experience that is more than 15 years old

Your graduation date

A large, exact number of years of experience in a job area, (e.g., “ Executive Assistant with more than 20 years of experience in…”

Providing information about your age invites age discrimination. Age bias works both ways — you don’t want an employer to throw your resume in the trash because they think you’re too young or too old.

Personal Details. There’s really no need for employers to know personal details about your life — in fact, it’s actually illegal for interviewers to ask you questions about:

Marital status

Sexual orientation

Age or birth date


Other personal information that is unnecessary to put on your resume include stuff like:

Height or weight

Political affiliation

Unrelated hobbies or interests — Unless it’s related to the job you’re applying for, it’s a waste of space and time. And honestly, no one cares. Instead, include a section of your resume that goes into your skills that are relevant to the job.

Employers don’t need to know any personal information aside from your name, city, state, and a way to contact you . Including personal information is a good way to make yourself out to be a scrub, and just like TLC, no one wants a scrub — unless you happen to be a janitor .

Irrelevant or outdated work experiences. Don’t list every single job you’ve ever had on your resume. Only list jobs, graduations, or certifications that you’ve gotten in the last 10–15 years, unless an earlier job really shows off qualifications related to the job you’re applying for. When you start listing really old jobs, you lose the employer’s interest.

Everything on your resume should show employers that you’re the best person for the job. Leave out anything that doesn’t relate to the job you’re applying for, unless it would put gaps in your employment history. If you have a limited job history , try to only include slightly unrelated positions and demonstrate how they’ve prepared you for the job at hand.

If you spent a lot of time with one company and moved through a variety of positions over many years, consider condensing the earlier roles. Nobody really cares about your accomplishments as an intern if your most recent experience with the company is as its Vice President .

One space-saving trick is to simply label one work experience entry for the company, then give detailed bullet points for your most recent roles.

Then, simply put your job title and the dates for the earlier roles, with no description. That way, it’s there for applicant tracking systems and hiring managers to see and account for, without wasting space on unnecessary details.

Inconsistent formatting. Your resume’s format is just as important as its content. Stick to a format that makes it easy for employers to skim through and easily find your experience , skills , and career goals . Once you find a format that works for you, stick with it throughout the rest of your resume. Here are some formatting mistakes to avoid:

Unnecessary stuff. Think headers, footers, tables, images, or charts. These fancy embeddings, although beautiful, are distracting. Keep it simple. Not only are they visually distracting for human readers, but they also might fail to pass muster with applicant tracking systems .

Some ATS can’t even read headers (where you probably put your contact information) — these resumes are thrown away before they reach a hiring manager , simply because of unpassable formatting.

Outdated fonts or fancy fonts. You want your resume to look sleek and easy to read. Curly-tailed fonts might seem to be a classy choice, but they’re not the easiest to skim. People have certain expectations for professional documents like resumes — in most cases, it’s best to play into those expectations rather than try to reinvent the wheel.

Long paragraphs without bullets. Employers might glance over sections of your resume and overlook your qualifications if your paragraphs are too long. If a single bullet point takes up more than one line, it’s probably too long.

Academic roles, research positions, and executive jobs may require a bit more explanation, but for most job applicants, stick to a handful of bullet points for each job entry.

Salary information. Don’t address your desired salary in your resume, unless the employer specifically asks. Salary is a topic that you will discuss with employers later on if you make it to the interview process or if you’re offered the job .

Your resume is meant to show off why you deserve the job; the topic of salary will come up later on.

Including your current salary or the salaries you’ve had at past jobs on your resume is just plain tacky, and hiring managers will probably scoff before tossing your resume into the garbage. Tact and common sense are just as important as hard skills when it comes to hiring decisions.

Typos, errors, goofs of all sorts. Make sure your resume is free of all goofs like typos, misspellings, grammatical mistakes, or factual errors. That’s just embarrassing.

Your resume is the first impression employers will get of your writing skills and how close you pay attention to detail. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment.

Use editing software to check for obvious errors. After that, read your resume from bottom to top to give yourself a new perspective — you’d be surprised how easy it is to miss the same mistake after reading the same document ten times.

Finally, we recommend having a trusted confidante look over your resume. They may catch mistakes that you missed or can tell you that they’re confused by a certain element that you thought made perfect sense. A second set of eyes is truly invaluable.

Blatant lies and opinions. Don’t lie about past experiences or accomplishments. If you don’t have all of the qualifications listed in the job description, talk about what you can offer instead of making stuff up.

Employers want you to list facts, not opinions. Phrases like “excellent communicator ” or “highly motivated” are opinions of yourself — they’ll decide if you are these things if they decide to interview you.

Instead, look for places in your resume where you can showcase these soft skills without simply saying you have them. For instance, talk about how your weekly meetings resulted in greater productivity if you want to make yourself out be an excellent communicator, or talk about how you regularly exceeded metrics if you want to highlight how motivated you were.

References. If employers want to speak to your references , they’ll ask. It’s generally assumed that someone applying for a job will have a list of references available. Including a section about them on your resume is a waste of prime resume real estate.

You can use a separate document to list your references and provide them when asked to by an employer.

Objectives. Instead of writing a resume objective that says what you hope to gain from a job, write a resume summary statement that highlights what you can offer the employer and their company.

Only provide an objective if you’re in a unique situation, such as recently graduating or changing industries. Even then, a resume summary statement is usually superior to an objective.

A resume summary statement makes it plain that you already possess the necessary skills and experience to get the job done, while an objective basically just states that you’d like a job.

Unnecessary words, company jargon, or annoying buzzwords.

Unnecessary words. Using the words “phone number” or “email address” to label your phone number or email address is unnecessary — those things are self-explanatory. Avoid using empty language like “outstanding” or “interesting.” Every word on your resume should be a specific description of your skills or accomplishments .

Company-specific jargon. Companies often have their own internal names for things like customized software, technologies, and processes that are only known within that organization and not by those who work outside of it. Be sure to exclude terms on your resume that are known only to one specific organization.

Annoying buzzwords. Avoid using buzzwords or phrases like “synergy,” “outside-the-box,” “people-pleaser,” “go-getter,” etc. These terms are pretty meaningless. Employers prefer to see terms like “achieved,” “launched,” “resolved,” etc. — but only if they’re used in moderation or can be backed up.

Anything negative. Your resume is a professional document that is meant to promote you as a candidate. Everything on your resume should be positive, so don’t include any negative experiences or try to explain them. There’s also no need to list why you left a position on your resume. If an employer is interested, they’ll ask.

Try not to mention things that you haven’t yet done or accomplished, and instead focus on what you’ve already done or are in the process of achieving (e.g., if you didn’t graduate college, list the dates you attended instead of mentioning that you dropped out).

Lists of tasks or duties without results. Your resume should do more than just list what jobs you’ve had; it should show off the results of what you’ve accomplished and what skills you used to achieve results.

Employers care about results, so show them. Instead of just saying that you “organized the company’s filing system,” say something along the lines of “Increased team productivity by 30% by organizing the company’s filing system.

If you’re having trouble quantifying your accomplishments, think of your former jobs’ tasks in these terms:

Frequency. Consider how often you did something. For example, “answered 10 customer queries each day” or “wrote 5 newsletters each month.”

Range. If your duties were dynamic, it’s useful to give a range. For example, “managed a team of 4-9 contractors” or “stocked a warehouse with 3-5 tons of goods every day.”

Scale. Think numbers and cash. For example, “managed 5+ customer accounts worth $1.2M+” or “drove 21,000 new downloads each quarter.”

Increase. Hiring managers and recruiters love measurable results. For example, “boosted customer engagement by 17%” or “drove sales by 13% each quarter.”

Names and information about current or previous employers. This is just silly Don’t include your current employer’s name on your resume unless you’re okay with a potential employer contacting them.

Unless your current employers are aware of your job search, if potential employers call you at your current place of work, you could potentially be fired or charged with theft of services. Yikes. Just leave the business info off.

Leave off the names and contact information for former employers. Instead, include them on your list of references, and make sure to check in with them before listing their information.

Time off and short-term employment. Don’t include the time you took off to travel or raise a family on your resume. I’m sure it was very personally fulfilling, but employers don’t care.

Don’t list a job on your resume if you only held the position for a short amount of time, and especially don’t include ones that you were fired from or hated. It’s going to be hard to explain what you gained from a job you had for a month that made you want to tear your hair out.

Unprofessional email addresses and social media URLs. If you’re currently using your old school email address like [email protected] or [email protected], it’s time to make a more professional one.

Don’t include links to your opinionated blogs, wedding-centered Pinterest pages, or your Instagram account dedicated to detailing the life of your dog. This is just a waste of space and a good way to land yourself in the trash pile.

Unless, of course, you’re applying for a role in social media — in that case, your excellent Instagram might be evidence of your industry chops.

On the other hand, feel free to include relevant URLs, such as your LinkedIn account or links to a professional online portfolio . Again, anything you include on your resume should be directly related to the job you’re applying for.

Photographs. Unless you’re going for a modeling or acting job, this is just awkward and tacky. Employers prefer that you don’t include photographs because they don’t want to be accused of discrimination.

GPA. Once you’re out of school, grades don’t matter so much. Unless you’re a recent college graduate and your GPA was 3.8 or higher, leave it out.

High school. Only include your high school diploma if it’s your highest degree or if you’re still early in your college career. Once you graduate from university, it’s time to get rid of it.

Criminal record. If you have a criminal record, it’s probably a good idea to leave it out. If you get hired, the company may search your background record, but it doesn’t need to show up on your resume. It the topic comes up once you’re being considered for a job, you can discuss it with the employers.

Personal pronouns. Don’t use words like “I,” “me,” “my,” etc. It goes without saying that everything on your resume is about you. Let’s try not to look like a rookie.

What skills should you not include on a resume?

The top skills that you should not include on your resume are:

Languages you aren’t fluent in.

Basic computer skills.

Irrelevant skills to the job listing.

Lies or exaggerations.

Outdated skills.

What is a common resume mistake?

Having spelling errors and bad grammar are common resume mistakes. Be sure to review your resume before submitting for any errors. This will help you give a great impression to hiring managers. Another resume mistake is adding any lies to your resume. Only include things that are true and relevant.

What is the 30 second rule for a resume?

The 30 second rule for a resume is getting your resume on the interview pile in 30 seconds or less. This is important to do in a competitive market. Recruiters and hiring managers don’t spend much time to review resumes, especially when they have a stack to review. Making your stand out in the first 30 seconds is important to landing an interview.

How long should your resume be?

Your resume should be one page long. You should only be including things that are relevant and recent on your resume. Hiring managers and recruiters don’t have much time to review resumes so anything over one page will typically get tossed out.

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Maddie Lloyd was a writer for the Zippia Advice blog focused on researching tips for interview, resume, and cover letter preparation. She's currently a graduate student at North Carolina State University's department of English concentrating in Film and Media Studies.

Don Pippin is an executive and HR leader for Fortune 50 and 500 companies and startups. In 2008, Don launched area|Talent with a focus on helping clients identify their brand. As a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Digital Career Strategist, and Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Don guides clients through career transitions.

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  • Things To Avoid Putting On Your Resume

What to Put on a Resume

Closeup of resume with pen and glasses on the table

Before you get an interview an employer, you need to perfect your resume. Your resume is the document that will represent who you are as a person and an employee. You need to make sure that it is a good representation of who you are and will help you get an interview. Here are some of the things that you should do and some things that you should not do when writing your resume to ensure that it will be just what your potential employer is looking for when hiring their next employee:

  • Include contact information near the top of the page. Some of the things that you should include are your permanent and school address, email address, and phone number.
  • Choose to include the most relevant experience only. Review the job description to determine which jobs you should include.
  • If you don’t have any jobs that seem relevant to the job, you should show how other jobs that you’ve had have given you the experience that you need for the job. Think about side projects, volunteer work, and coursework that you’ve completed.
  • Since many employers use programs to screen applicants, you need to use certain keywords and phrases in your resume to make sure that you get past this stage in order to have a human review your application. Review the job description to consider various words and phrases that you should use in your resume.
  • Use data, figures, and statistics to quantify the accomplishments that you’ve made in other positions.
  • When explaining your accomplishments and roles in your relevant experience, you need to include powerful verbs.
  • Keep your resume to one page and make sure that it’s readable. The job title and company should stand out.


  • Don’t include any controversial organizations that you’ve been a part of or could cause employers to discriminate against you. Although these shouldn’t determine whether or not you get the job, chances are that they may play a part in the final decision by employers.
  • Don’t add any unrelated or off-putting hobbies that you may have.
  • Don’t oversell your job experience. You shouldn’t make the job seems like more than it was, because the employer will figure it out and won’t be impressed.
  • Don’t include jobs and positions that you held in high school. Try to choose more relevant and more recent experience.
  • Don’t include negative phrases about companies that you’ve worked for or positions that you’ve held. Stick to positive phrases throughout your resume.
  • Don’t add an objective statement unless you’re making a career change.
  • Don’t try to hide gaps in employment. Emphasize what is there, and you can discuss the gaps when you get an interview.
  • Don’t use clichés, overly technical jargon, or the same words from the job description. Find ways to stick out from other applicants.
  • Don’t include the phrase “references upon request.”
  • Don’t use too many fonts. In fact, try to stick to one font throughout.
  • Don’t forget to use spellcheck before sending your resume to an employer.

When writing your resume, you need to make sure that it’s as polished as possible. You should review your resume and really think about what to include. Resume.com can help you write a resume that will highlight who you are, so you can get the opportunity to interview with companies for which you want to work.

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How to Keep Your LinkedIn Job Search Confidential

should you let current employers help you with your resume

We explain how keep your employer from seeing your LinkedIn #OpenToWork settings

If you're using LinkedIn to search for a new role while you are still working, you'll naturally want to keep your efforts hidden from your current employer.

You can let recruiters know that you are open to new opportunities while keeping your job search discreet in the following two ways:

Method 1: Adjust Your Privacy Settings

You can let recruiters know you are open to new opportunities by adjusting your privacy settings.

To do so, click on Me next to your photo in the top ribbon and select  Settings & Privacy,  as shown below.

LinkedIn Job Search Privacy Settings

On the privacy tab, select job seeking preferences.

Toggle the button under let recruiters know you're open to opportunities to yes, and you're all set!

Method 2: Enable the #OpenToWork Work Feature

The second way to let recruiters you are open to new opportunities and provide them with specific details regarding the types of opportunities you would consider is located right on your home page.

To enable it, simply click Add profile section and select Intro.

Looking For A Job LinkedIn

You'll then see the edit job preferences options shown below.

When looking for potential candidates, recruiters typically filter by both location and job title.

To maximize your chances of appearing in their searches, be sure to fill this section out with as much detail as possible.

Most importantly, make sure to select share with recruiters only under the choose who sees you're open tab as shown below if you want to keep your search private.

Otherwise, all of your connections will be able to see that you are looking for a new role, and LinkedIn will automatically add a banner to your profile picture .

Edit Job Preferences LinkedIn

If you don't make your #OpenToWork preferences visible to all LinkedIn members, LinkedIn will only share your information with relevant recruiters.

What information can recruiters see on LinkedIn?

According to LinkedIn, the information recruiters will be able to see includes:

  • The fact that you are open to hearing about new opportunities
  • The job titles or roles you're interested in
  • Whether you're open to full-time or contract opportunities
  • The date you flagged yourself as open to new opportunities

How can I ensure my colleagues won't see that I'm open to new opportunities?

To help keep your information hidden from colleagues, make sure that each of your work experiences on LinkedIn is associated with the official company page.

In other words, if you work for a large organization, you should be able to see the company's logo alongside your position name and description.

Recruiters also affiliated with that company would then not be able to see your preferences.

Is the LinkedIn #OpenToWork setting 100% confidential?

Bear in mind that although LinkedIn makes an effort to keep your job search discreet, it does mention that privacy is not absolutely guaranteed:

To protect your privacy, we take steps to prevent LinkedIn Recruiter users who work at your company and related companies from seeing your shared career interests , but we can’t guarantee complete privacy.

By taking the steps above, you'll be able to leverage LinkedIn to search for jobs without your employer's knowledge.

If you are especially worried about discretion, consider also removing your profile from search engine results .

However, don't forget to write a strong LinkedIn headline and summary section for those who do get to see your profile.

About Resume Pilots

Resume Pilots is an award-winning executive resume writing firm and a proud member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. Our previous clients include CEOs and senior executives at the world's leading companies.

As a professional services firm, we take your reputation seriously. We are committed to delivering writing excellence and superior service while operating with integrity and discretion. Recruitment firms we partner with also trust us to consistently deliver quality documents for their clients.

Our writers have studied in the Ivy League and other top-tier universities and have strong writing backgrounds coupled with industry experience.

Here's how we can help you:

Resume, Cover Letter, and LinkedIn Writing Services : If you are looking for end-to-end support, hire one of our professional resume writers to rewrite your documents from the ground up.

Executive Resume Template Downloads : If you plan to prepare your own resume, consider using one of our classic, ATS-friendly resume templates for Microsoft Word.

To learn more about our services, book an introductory call with our founder here or email [email protected] .

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should you let current employers help you with your resume

About the Author Matt Glodz

Matt Glodz is the Founder and Managing Partner of Resume Pilots and a Certified Professional Resume Writer. After studying business communication at Cornell University, Matt worked within Fortune 500 companies, where he noted that qualified candidates were frequently denied interview opportunities due to poorly written documents. At Resume Pilots, Matt combines his business and writing background - which includes prior work for a Chicago Tribune publication - to craft resumes that give his clients the best chance of landing interviews. He works with clients ranging from CEOs to recent graduates and has been writing resumes for over 10 years. He has been quoted on numerous business and career-related topics in outlets including Business Insider, CNBC, Fortune, Glassdoor, The Ladders, and Thrive Global.

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How to Post a Resume Without Your Employer Knowing

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What If You Leave a Job Off a Resume?

What if i don't know whom to send a cover letter to, is it unethical or ethical for a supervisor to read an employee's email.

  • 5 Ways to Use the Internet for Your Job Search
  • Do I Have to List Every Job I've Ever Had When Filling Out a Job Application?

You could jeopardize your current job if you post your resume online for consideration by prospective employers. Posting your resume on professional networking sites or resume databases may cause your employer to question your loyalty as well as the amount of time you spend conducting your job search when you're supposed to be working. Eliminate the chances of your employer finding out that you're looking for a job elsewhere by creating a confidential resume and using your personal computer to conduct your job search.

Going Anonymous

Replace your name in the header of your resume. If you have a relatively common surname, block out your first name and middle initial. That way, when prospective employers contact you, they won't feel awkward having to say, "I'd like to speak to the person who posted his or her resume on the ABC Job Board."

Alternatively, consider using your maiden name or just your first name and blocking out your last name. Refrain from using a pseudonym because it could be difficult to explain. Besides, it could become considered another name you use for employment purposes, in which case you would have to list it on a formal application as an alias.

Making Yourself Untraceable

Delete contact information from your resume. Nowadays, it's not unusual to eliminate the mailing address from a resume because most contact is via phone or email, says Career Directions Intl . If you're not comfortable with eliminating your entire address, redact your street address and use just your city and state so prospective employers will know your general area.

Err on the side of being overly cautious and get a telephone number that forwards calls to your actual number. A number of resources provide free telephone numbers. Also, if your current email address has your full name, get another email address that's similar to your name, such as "[email protected]." Refrain from using a whimsical email address.

Redacting Employers

Redact your employers' names or replace the company name with the word "Confidential." For example, instead of listing ABC Company or XYZ Corporation in your list of employers, put "Confidential" or the location in front of the type of business, such as "Confidential Pharmaceutical Firm," or "East Coast Auto Manufacturer." Review the descriptions for your jobs to ensure they don't contain company names or other identifying information, says Indeed .

Redacting Education

Replace the names of your schools and colleges with "XXXX" or use a block to redact the name. Leave the remaining information as is, such as your degree, academic program or attendance dates. Also, leave in the names of professional affiliations, such as memberships in organizations for people in your career field or occupation, such as the American Bar Association or the Society for Human Resources Management.

Add a note to your resume posting that says specific names are redacted for confidentiality purposes, but you'll disclose that information upon request. You could say, "Please note this is a confidential version of my resume. I will gladly disclose information to interested recruiters and prospective employers."

Other Considerations

  • Use your personal computer for all job search activities. Because employers own the computer equipment and pay for the Internet access you use, they have the right to monitor your online activity. If your employer uses sophisticated surveillance methods, it can be determined what job sites you visit and the information you're posting on those sites.
  • Even if you log into your personal email account at work, your activity can still be monitored. Therefore, maintain the confidentiality of your job search activities by using your own computer and when you're away from work.
  • Indeed: How to Write a Confidential Resume (With Examples)
  • Career Directions Intl: 7 "Must Dos" for a Confidential Job Search While You're Still Employed

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How to create a resume for a current employer.

Advancing or moving around within your current company can be an effective, and often efficient, way to gain valuable work experience and further your career. Before you can apply for a new internal position, you must have a quality resume. A resume is a document that summarizes all of your job-related experience, education, skills and qualifications.

How do you write a resume for a current employer? The process is similar to writing an external resume with a few adjustments and tweeks needed.

Get the job description from human resources or personnel. Read it carefully and be sure you have the skills necessary to make the change to the new position. Make a list of what skills and accomplishments you have that directly address the needs for the position.

Include all of your current contact information at the top of your resume: phone, full address (spell out all address abbreviations and state names), email and contact phone number(s). Use your personal contact information, not your work information. Assume that the employer needs to know this information just as it would for any other applicant.

Include a Summary Statement or Professional Profile as the first section of your resume. Specifically address your interest in the position and directly tie your accomplishments at the company to the opening for which you are applying. For example, "Motivated current employee with X years of proven sales results. Interested in a management position." List bullet points with examples of how you have contributed to the company and any recognition you have received from supervisors and co-workers. Include leadership activities, sales accomplishments, awards received and committee membership.

If using a Chronological resume format (date-based), add your current position with the company and dates of employment at the top of your Relevant Work Experience section. If using a Functional format (skills-based), add your job duties in the appropriate skill category. Build on the resume that you used to land your current position.

Include sections for Education, Associations/Organizational Memberships, Volunteer Experience, and References (acknowledge that you will provide references upon request). Visit websites such as iSeek Jobs for formatting samples.

Be as detailed and descriptive as possible. Don't make assumptions. The manager who is hiring for this position may not know as much as you think she does about you and your skills, especially if she works for a different department.

Edit, edit, edit. Ask a co-worker or someone who knows the company and the position for which you are applying to look over your resume. Listen to their input and make changes as needed. Your finished product should be no more than two pages.

Save both electronic and hard copies.

Determine the deadline for submitting your application for the position and adhere strictly to that time frame.

  • Don't forget to include a cover letter that can further explain your skills, accomplishments, and interest in the new position. Address it to the appropriate individual.
  • Network with others in the department you are applying to and get as much information as you can about the position and expectations.

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Erin Stertz-Follett has been writing professionally since 1999 and has diverse experience in advertising media planning for clients including Arctic Cat. In addition to her work with Demand Studios, Stertz-Follett has authored numerous curricula used for employment-related workshops to help job seekers find career success. Stertz-Follett holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism-mass communication from the University of St. Thomas.

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