‘References available upon request’ is optional. It is understood that you will provide them when asked to do so. There is a great difference between the reference system in English- and German-speaking countries. In German-speaking countries it is common to ask for an open reference (i.e. you are able to see it in advance) which you can send with your job application. In English-speaking countries, if asked your referee will write a confidential reference which they will then send directly to the organisation you are applying to. However, before you give a name or names of referees you should always ask for their permission. For more information see Letters of recommendation.