How To List References On A Resume + Free Samples

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Professional references are a list of people who will provide information about you and your work to potential employers. Employers value a reference page for a resume since it allows them to receive a second perspective on the value you’ll bring to their team.

When seeking new chances, a potential employer may check the reference page for a resume as the final step before granting you a job, so making a list of people who can vouch for your work is essential.

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Why Do I Need A Reference Page In My Resume?

A reference page for a resume is used to provide a list of persons who can verify and expand on your professional expertise for a potential employer. The best professional references to have are former employers, professors, and advisors. A reference page is essential since potential employers will frequently request a list of references to contact. If your Resume includes a phrase like “References Available Upon Request,” you should be able to provide one as soon as one is asked. Having a reference page, in any event, will save you time throughout the interview process.

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Do Employers Really Utilize References?

After your interviews have gone well and the company is in the final stages of determining whether or not to offer you the job, references are usually called. Many employers utilize references to validate many of the excellent qualities they noticed during the interview, as well as to verify specifics of your job experience that you may have mentioned. As a result, they aren’t usually included in the application or early interview stages.

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How Many References Can I Use On A Resume?

Who Is A Good Reference For A Resume?

Working professionals who are relevant to the industry to which you are applying but are not related to you in a familial sense are the finest references to include. Make an effort to assemble a group that is as diverse as possible (not all direct supervisors).

On your list of professional references, include the following eight types of people:

  • Former employer
  • Former boss (can be your direct manager)
  • Supervisor (not necessarily your direct manager)
  • Colleague (coworker or teammate)
  • Mentor (can be your teacher or professor)
  • Advisor (including your academic advisors)
  • Business or project partner
  • Friend (but only when they currently work at a company you’re applying to).

Simply add persons who can speak well about your experience, abilities, and work ethic. Never put someone on your list who has or has had a professional feud with you.

Ensure you include those who are familiar with your job and who knows what kind of person you are. It’s critical to choose people who are familiar with your unique qualities so that they can give a good and accurate description of you to the employer or company where you’re applying. Before placing your references on a reference page, you should always contact them. It’s also a good idea to give them a copy of your resume and have a conversation with them about the position you’re looking for so they can best represent you.

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How To Ask Someone To Be Your Reference? 

Don’t just scribble down names on your resume’s references page when they come to mind. It’s nice to inquire first, but you’ll also have the added benefit of double-checking their contact information. To be semi-formal, make a phone call or send an email.

When To Include References On A Resume

Every word on your Resume should have meaning. In most cases, you’ll have one to two pages to describe why you’re qualified and well-positioned for the job, and hiring managers will only have a few minutes to read it.

Because reference sheets aren’t always included in the interview process, you’re wasting valuable resume space by providing information that may or may not be helpful to employers during this stage. Even the line “references available upon request” on your resume can be meaningless. Employers will ask for references if their interview process involves them.

In a few unusual circumstances, providing references on your resume may be acceptable. If you work in a field that accepts case studies or testimonials on resumes (such as consulting), it may be acceptable to add the individual and contact information for whom these are applicable.

It is also appropriate to include a reference sheet if the job description not only asks for references but also specifies that they should be included immediately on your Resume. Otherwise, your reference list should be kept in a separate document.

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How to Format a Resume References Section 

It’s just as important to know how to format a reference section as it is to know how to format other sections of your resume or cover letter. Your employer will lose interest if your reference page is sloppy and poorly formatted.

So, how can you create one that is both attractive and professional?

To begin, make a separate document for your references. As the last page of your resume, provide an exclusive reference page.

Use the same font, margins, and color scheme for your reference sheet that you did for your resume and cover letter. 

  1. Begin with your name, address, and phone number at the very top. This information should go on the side of the page that matches the style of your cover letter and resume. (either on the left, right, or in the middle).
  2. After that, add the date. Then, in this order, begin with your employer’s information: name, job title, company name, and company address.
  3. Finally, give the section a preferred title/subtitle: Professional References or References.

You might also put “Personal References” as a subtitle if you’ve supplied personal references.

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How To Send In Resume References

References can be an important component of the interview process if they are utilized by the company. Employers frequently contact references in order to learn more about your experience, skills, how you collaborate with others, and any other parts of your work style and background that they should be aware of.

Let’s look at how you should send a reference list to set your candidacy up for success unless the job description specifically requests that you include your contacts directly on your resume. Here are action points you need to take.

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1. Read The Job Description Carefully

Everything you need to know about how (or if) to provide references should be included in the job description. In the online application procedure, a reference list is frequently required. You can just include your contacts in this situation. If not, carefully follow the instructions in the posting. If no reference list is requested, simply provide your Resume with no reference list until it is requested during the interview process.

2. Create A Separate Reference List Document

If you’re asked to give references, make a separate document to deliver with your paper (unless the job description requires you to include them directly on your resume). Format the document in the same way as your resume (font type, size, and overall style), but keep it short with your references’ contact information. Refer to the job description for any important details the company wants you to mention. These are the kinds of things people might ask for in general:

  • Full Name
  • Job Title
  • Company Name
  • Company Address
  • City, State, Zip
  • Phone
  • Email
  • A synopsis of your relationship with this individual. (For example, “Kim was my immediate supervisor at XYZ Inc. for two years.”)
Image from indeed.com

3. Select Appropriate References

Consider who might be able to demonstrate the necessary abilities and expertise you’ll need for the job when determining who to add on your reference list. People who will speak highly about your work, attitude, and value with concrete examples make the finest references. Direct managers or supervisors, coworkers, mentors, business partners, instructors, or even clients and vendors are all examples of this.

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4. Follow Reference Request Etiquette

If you want to put someone on your reference list, make sure you first get their permission. How to Ask Someone to Be Your Reference contains information on how to ask someone to be references for you, including email templates and samples. Additionally, inform them that your possible employer may contact them. Another reason to leave the reference off your Resume is this: You may not have enough time to give your references enough notice if you’re sending out resumes for multiple jobs.

To assist your contacts, provide them with information on the job you’re applying for as well as an up-to-date resume. If they say no, thank them and go on to your next option gracefully.

While employers value references, you should follow their example when it comes to how and when you submit them. Follow directions attentively, whether they’re written in the job description or given to you by a recruiting manager.

If a list of connections isn’t necessary, simply send your resume and any other requested materials, such as applications or cover letters, without references. If you are asked to give references, create a separate document rather than including them on your resume.

How To Write A Resume Reference List

Consider the steps below when you begin compiling a list of references for companies to contact during the hiring process.

1. Determine how many references to include

The quantity of references you provide is determined on your level of experience. For example, if you’re just starting out in the job market, you might just need to list three references. If you’re going for a more senior position, though, you might consider a larger reference list that includes contacts from various times in your professional experience. Employers frequently give instructions on how many references they’d like to hear from; in this case, follow any instructions given to you during the hiring process.

Keep in mind that the recruiter might not call all of the people on your list of references. They may merely call one or two people in such circumstances. If one of your references is unavailable, having a variety of various types of references ensures they have plenty to choose from.

2. Select your resume references

Consider those who can speak to your finest traits, talents, and qualifications when choosing resume references. Choose people who can talk about your skills that are relevant to the position you’re seeking for if at all possible.

When deciding who to put on your reference list, make sure you’re comfortable with them knowing you’re looking for a new job, especially if they’re someone you work with presently.

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3. Decide how to send your reference list

The only time you should include a reference list with your resume is if the job posting specifically seeks references. Otherwise, wait for a request from a recruiter or hiring manager. Remove the phrase “references available upon request” from your Resume; recruiters will ask for this list if and when they need it during the recruiting process. If you need some extra help with your resume, check out Indeed’s collection of resume samples.

4. Ask your contacts to be a reference

Before you give out your contacts’ identities, make sure you ask them to be references. This is not only polite, but it also allows them to prepare for a phone call or email from the company. Allowing plenty of time for your references to recollect particular examples that demonstrate why you’re the ideal candidate for the job is also a good idea.

Make sure your prospective reference is comfortable doing so, whether you call, email, or ask them in person. People that enjoyed working with you and are eager to discuss your abilities will be your best referrals.

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Resume ReBusinessference List Examples

Linda Martinez

Director of Sales, North America

ABC Company

1234 Main St

Austin, TX 78701

512-555-6789

l.martinez@abccompany.com

Linda was my direct manager while I worked as a regional sales manager for the ABC Company from 2013 to 2017.

Joseph Smith

Professor, McCollough School of Business

State University

2000 Speedway

Austin, TX 78712

512-555-1234

joseph.z.smith@email.com

Joseph Smith was my professor through numerous courses I completed to earn my Masters of Business Administration.

Personal Vs Professional References

When it comes to placing references on a Resume, personal references are generally not suggested. Why? Because it’s family, they won’t give a reference entry much weight if they find out it’s connected to you. It also has the side effect of making you appear as if you couldn’t get enough professional references. If at all feasible, use professional recommendations (unless you are writing a resume with no experience).

Conclusion

After you’ve completed the recruiting process, be sure to thank your reference for their assistance in your job search. It’s crucial to express gratitude to these important relationships, whether it’s through a quick phone call, an email, or a thank you card. After all, their recommendation could help you get an interview and, ideally, a new job.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can I use as reference in a resume?

Working professionals who are relevant to the industry to which you are applying but are not related to you in a familial sense are the finest references to include.

Do I need ask someone to be my reference?

Don’t just scribble down names on your resume’s references page when they come to mind. It’s nice to inquire first, but you’ll also have the added benefit of double-checking their contact information.

How many references should be on a resume?

The recommended number of references for a resume is three to five.

Why do I need a reference page in a resume?

A reference page for a resume is used to provide a list of persons who can verify and expand on your professional expertise for a potential employer.

References

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