It it unwise to bank on a prospective employer not calling my references unless I am interviewed? I'm applying for a job that is admittedly a long shot, and I’d rather not call and ask people to be my references unless I am actually in the running (for various snowflake reasons detailed at length within). Is it a horrendous faux pas to list references without asking their permission, if I'm fairly certain I won’t get called for an interview? On the other hand, is it a horrendous faux pas
references with my resume and cover letter, when the job posting specifically asks for them?
I don't want to call my references because I am not actively "job hunting"; I am an ABD grad student and still want to try to finish my dissertation, even though I no longer want to work in academia. However, I found a job opening for what is basically my dream job, for which I would leave my program in a second. It’s a long shot because I don’t have the experience they are asking for, but I will make the case in my cover letter that my experience in grad school transfers over. The job posting asks for the names and phone numbers of three references.
I don’t want to ask anyone in my department for a reference because I don’t want them to know I am looking for work. One of my committee members, for whom I was also a research assistant, has previously agreed to be a reference for a funding opportunity I applied for, so I assume he would agree again—but it would be terrible if he knew I was applying for a job (unless I was about to be offered
the job, of course). There are just a lot of weird politics going on: I’m having some issues with my committee chair, am not making good progress and don’t have much funding left, and so my status in the program is a little rocky to say the least. I don’t want to rock the boat by letting people know that I'm thinking of leaving, partly because I’m afraid they will take that as their cue to push me out, and I really
don’t want to leave with no job lined up—I would be completely fucked and living in a cardboard box by year's end.
That said, I don’t really have three references from outside of school. I could probably come up with three names, and I know they would say yes, but they wouldn’t be great references because they're all from 2005-2006, when I was just out of undergrad, and they're unrelated to the job I'm applying for. Furthermore, it’s so incredibly awkward to contact them after such a long time that I would rather not do so until I am actively looking for work and applying for multiple positions. I dread trying to explain my current situation, and since none of them are academics, they’re not going to understand how it is that I’ve been in grad school for six years and haven’t “graduated,” and am now applying for some random unrelated job, but am not actually leaving grad school… it makes me cringe just imagining the conversations/email exchanges.
The consensus from this previous AskMe
is that references are usually
not called until after the interview, but not always—some people reported having their references called but never getting interviewed (WTF!). After reading that, I have pretty much decided against putting anyone from my program as a reference, just in case, but I would still like to put my non-academic references without asking them until I have more reason to do so. Would that amount to professional suicide? Thanks and apologies for the super long (and, I'm sure, annoying) post.