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I am enrolled in a PhD program in Sociology but am oftentimes looking at employment opportunities. If I apply to a job and leave a professional reference (such as my adviser or members of my doctoral committee), wouldn't I be shooting myself in the foot if they are called in reference to a job?  My professional references are in essence my employers (I receive graduate assistantships through members of my doctoral committee).

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Job application usually have (or at least used to have) a box you can check about not contacting the current employer for that exact reason. Of course it's a little tricky if they are your only references. See how far you can get without listing references, or with listing an old (less professional) reference from undergrad days, if one is absolutely necessary.

If you're miserable in your grad program, there should be some adviser type whom you can share your struggle with. Most good souls don't want you to be miserable, even if it's more convenient for them, and will help you. If the program is okay, but you're considering all your options, the best to keep things on the down-low so you don't burn any bridges.

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most places generally only check references when they are close to making an offer (as opposed to very beginning of candidate review phase). So I'm sure you'd have an interview or two before them calling any references.


Im dealing with the same thing. I avoid putting references at my current job, because them being contacted would raise a red flag ("so .. you are actively looking to leave eh?"). 

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