Do you feel I should always include references, or just if they specifically ask?
Short answer: Always.
Long answer: there’s no sense in saying “references available upon request.” They know that already. What kind of applicant won’t provide references?
You’re basically just making them take an extra step to get information they want and, not unimportantly, you want them to have. You’re the PA here; you should be jumping through hoops, not them.
Presumably, your references are people you like, and who like you. You don’t want to be throwing their phone number and email around to random people. But that’s not what you’re doing. You’re giving their contact info to someone you plan on working with for the next five seasons (hopefully). You better hope you can trust them.
On the subject of references, they go in your cover letter, not your resume. References take up a lot of real estate (name, title, phone number, email). You put that on a resume, and it’s pretty clear you don’t have nearly enough credits to fill a page.
Your inclination will probably be to list your three favorite past bosses. (Or, rather, the ones who liked you the most.) This might be a mistake.
I know a coordinator who specifically does not call the references PAs provide him. Instead, he looks up coordinators from shows on the PA’s resume, but whose contact the PA didn’t offer. He figures those coordinators will tell him the real truth about said PA.
Ever since he told me that, I’ve always held back one reference. Not my best one, but still, someone who likes me and would recommend me highly.
It’s always a chess game, isn’t it?