/ Asked by mary
Is it acceptable to request a potential employer to not contact my current employer in the cover letter attached to my resume? And, if so, do I need to give a reason why or just mention I'd prefer my current employer not be contacted?
Answered by Ashley, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on Monday, January 25, 2016
Your cover letter should highlight your key accomplishments and indicate to a potential employer what position you are seeking and your qualifications that will explain why you are a great fit for the role. Your cover letter can explain things that your resume cannot. Most companies have a past employers or references section in their job application. In this section, it will usually ask if the company is allowed to contact the company. In your case, you would indicate that you do not want your past employer to be contacted. I would suggest keeping this information out of your cover letter and letting your cover letter highlight who you are and why the company should want you to work for them. Good luck in your job search!
Answered by Sylvia, Hiring Expert at HP Inc., on Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Here is a great resource for understanding the use of cover letters. http://www.resume-resource.com/cover-letter-etiquette/
Generally speaking employers don't reach out to your current employer until you reach the background investigation phase. They would, at that time, ask if they can reach out to your current employer. 
Answered by Ashley, Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health, on Wednesday, January 27, 2016
I would echo the other feedback/comments and recommend that your cover letter highlight your skills and experiences only. Your cover letter should be an extension of your resume and highlight the skills you cannot elaborate further on in your resume. Most employers will not request your references until the point of offer. In my experience, it is assumed that if a potential employer requests references from you, you will provide them so I don't think it's necessary to mention references on your resume or cover letter. I also do not think it's uncommon for a job seeker to request that a company not contact their current employer at the time of the application because they don't want their employer to know they are job searching. My recommendation would be to not mention references at all until you are asked.
Best of luck in your job search!
Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on Friday, March 18, 2016
It is acceptable to request that a potential employer not contact your current employer, but I would not recommend stating this in a cover letter.  There are a couple of other places in the process where it is more appropriate.  One, when you apply on line and are listing your previous employers, in many cases, the system allows you the opportunity to choose whether or not you want that employer contacted.  If the system does not allow you to choose this, I would instead mention it during an interview.  A company will not contact your employers until they have interviewed you.  When making this request simply state that you prefer that your current employer not be contacted until you have received a job offer.  This is a perfectly reasonable and common request.
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