Follow The Instructions Listed In The Job Description
My advice for job candidates about whether or not to include references on their resume is to follow the instructions listed in the job description. Some listings have specific, clear instructions about references.
These include the number of references you need to submit, the nature of their relationship with you, and the contact information for each reference. Other listings may not require you to mention your references just yet.
They may require going through a few initial interviews and perhaps a panel interview prior to reaching out to your references. Follow the instructions for every job listing as they differ from listing to listing.
In the meantime, make sure you have solid references and have prepped these references to be aware they may be contacted to speak about what its like to work alongside you.
Founder & CEO, Wethrift
Be Prepared For A Thorough Background Check
Preparing a short list of references for yourself is a good idea.
Firstly, it is essential to know what kind of questions can be asked about you from your referrals.
In general, they are related to your previous job performance and the skills the job requires.
Different questions merit different answers. Also, you should avoid putting a name on the job reference list for whom you are ambiguous.
There are also certain limitations about what a reference can say about you. Hence, choose professionals who have admired your work and know you better in a professional sense.
If you doubt what a particular reference might say, it is better to get that name off the list.
Try to keep it professional as people who are very close to you might end up saying something intricate about you that can harm your chances with the job.
How Many References To Add To A Resume
Assuming you are using a separate, dedicated references page, the ideal number of references to aim for is between 3 to 4.
In some cases, you may include up to 5 to 6 references, though generally you should limit yourself to a lower number unless specifically requested to do otherwise.
When selecting your 3 to 4 references, it is important to keep a few factors in mind:
- Which references hold the highest prestige in their positions, making their inclusion on a references page notable?
- Which references can provide the most relevant information about your work ethic and skills for the job you are currently applying for?
- Which references do you have the strongest relationships with who will go above and beyond to recommend you to a hiring manager?
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Writing References Available Upon Request Can Even Harm Your Resume
Why? It is obvious, and recruiters already know that they can ask you for your references. Besides, it will also occupy a line on it that you can use for writing something that can make you stand out.
I received a resume a few days back that impressed me. The candidate paid attention to every little comma on that PDF. The references section came in the shape of a square with the names and a comment that said: Find out more!
The sentence linked to a shared document with all the references and contact details so simple! This creative way of including references surprised me, so we ended up in an interview.
Liz Hogan, CPRW
Community Manager, Find My Profession
What Are References In A Cv
Your references are people, called referees, who can testify about your character, skills and abilities to prospective employers. You could consider your referees as your personal advocates or ambassadors. The employer might call them or request in writing some information about you.
Some questions that employers might ask your referees include:
- In what capacity do you know this person?
- What can you tell me about their skills, abilities, work ethics, punctuality, personal character, and conduct with other people?
- Is this person employable?
- Will they be a good fit for this job role and our organisation?
- Should we consider hiring them?
You have to be very careful with who you put down as your references. Read this article till the end to find out how to select the right persons who will aid and not hamper your chances of securing a job.
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Should I Put References Available Upon Request On My Resume
In todays age of digital resumes and LinkedIn profiles, a common question that job seekers might ask is whether or not they should put References available upon request on their resumes.
Is it still necessary? Is there value in adding this phrase?
To help answer these questions, we asked career experts if you shouldor shouldntinclude it in your resume.
Legal Search Consultant | Founding Member, SeltzerFontaine LLC
Final Thoughts About Resume References
Including your LinkedIn profile in the contact section of your resume is a wonderfully stealthy way to expose your recruiter to some of your hand-picked references without listing them out on your resume.
Make sure your LinkedIn references and endorsements are up-to-date and relevant to the role for which youre applying.
Applying from overseas? Check out my post on how to make your resume Aussie-friendly. Best of luck in your job search!
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When To Submit References
Unless otherwise requested, job references should be submitted later in the hiring process. I encourage applicants only to submit references after they have been asked, Venne says.Shane agrees that you shouldnt submit references with the resume. Your reference list should be included in your portfolio and brought to job interviews, at which time they can be presented upon request, he says.
How Should You List Your References
Your reference sheet should contain three to four professional references. You should always give your references a heads up before you hand in your reference sheet.
The last thing you want is for your references to be caught off guard or even give an old number or email address. Ensure that the contact number and email are up to date for each of your references.
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Who To Ask For References
As you are creating your list of potential references to contact, there are a number of different types of people you can consider including.
It is important to keep in consideration how a reference can relate back to the job you are applying for, and whether their testimony of your work ethic and skills will be relevant enough for the desired position.
Here are some common examples of who to include as references:
- Former employer or manager
- Coworker, colleague, or team member
- College professor
- Internship supervisor
- Community member
- Business partners
Alternative Methods For Sending References
If you are a new graduate or are returning to the workforce after some time away, you may not have many recent professional references to include in a resume.
For recent grads, including one or two professors can be acceptable, but you will likely still need other references.
Here are some examples of alternative references when you lack strong professional ones:
- Volunteers you have worked with
- Professors or teachers who have recently taught you
- Community members such as church pastors or mentors who can attest to your character
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Create A Separate Reference List Document
If you are prompted to send references, create a separate reference list document to send with your . Format the document similarly to your resume , but keep it simple with key contact information for your references. Again, refer to the job description for any key information the employer is asking you to include. In general, these are the details they may ask for:
- Full Name
- A summary of your relationship to this person.
You Absolutely Should Not Put References Available Upon Request On Your Resume
Why? It takes up valuable resume real estate for something that doesnt convey value to those reading it. If the employer wants references, theyll ask.
Theres one big exception to this rule: If youre running low on things to fill a page and youve done everything you can with formatting to fill the space, you can use this resume trope to fill a little dead space.
Just remember, however, that it is just thatdead space.
HR Partner, Resume-Now
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How Many References Should You Put On A Resume
The number of references you include in your reference list will depend on your career level, but prospective employers will most likely give you guidance on how many references they want. However, generally, entry-level positions require about three references, while more senior positions may require five to seven references from different times in your professional history.
When Not To Include References
If a job posting doesn’t request references, don’t list them on your resume or otherwise include with your job application. Including references was a more common practice in the past, so doing so when not asked for them might peg you as an older candidate. In recent years, it has become more common for companies to not provide references as a matter of practice in order to avoid potential lawsuits. Because of this, companies are less likely to expect applicants to provide references.
There also are risks to including references. Even if you trust your references to provide strong recommendations, they might not do so. As well, it’s also possible they could be known to your potential employers and not respectedhurting your chances by association.
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Use References Available Upon Request Sparingly
References and relevant experience give potential employers an accurate estimate of how well you operate in a real-life setting. If you have them, dont be shy to show them off.
Also, prospective employers will almost always ask for references, so you can save everyone some time and avoid unnecessary back and forth by indicating the contact info right from the get-go.
However, if you plan on indicating the references available upon request line on your resume to limit the people contacting your references, I suggest going with a different strategy.
Yes, you might not have bad intentions. Unfortunately, carelessly using references available upon request comes off negatively to most hiring specialists, plus you cant really explain the reason behind your choice, right?
A good alternative here is to use emails instead of contact numbers. The former is far less intrusive. This tip best suits individuals who feel uncomfortable about having multiple HR personnel bug their chosen references on background checks and such.
Dr. Talaya Waller
Founder, Waller & Company
Can I Include References Without Their Permission
No way! Youre buying a one-way ticket to unemployment hell if you blindside former employers by listing them as references on a resume without even checking with them first.
A job search is a process, and you cant just skip a bunch of steps. If you used to be Bill and Melinda Gates nanny, you cant just put their private contact info on your resume without getting their permission first.
If you need character references on a resume, reach out to your most promising prospects. How do you ask someone to be your reference? Explain what youre up to, what kind of job youre currently seeking and why you need a reference. If you used to work for Warren Buffett, hes probably busy earning another $1 billion today, but he might have five minutes to dash off a note saying you were a great bookkeeper.
Speaking of which instead of seeking permission to publish their closely guarded contact info, why not ask former employers for a short testimonial about what an awesome employee you used to be? You can probably get far more mileage from a professional reference letter than from a phone number that Elon Musk doesnt answer anyway.
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Have You Done Any Internships Volunteer Work Or Freelancing
Job seekers often overlook internships, volunteer work, and freelancing gigs when it comes to work experience! Not all good experience is full time, long term, or even paid. If you have these types of experience, you have supervisors, volunteer coordinators, or clients you can reach out to for a recommendation.
Ideally, people of this category will be both relevant and credible. For example, if you’re now trying to land an entry-level marketing job and your college internship reported to a Marketing Manager, that person would be a great reference option.
On the other hand, your neighbor you once did some yard work for won’t be as compelling to a hiring manager. Use that reference only as a last resort.
Here is what career expert Felicia advises:
Hiring managers want to know how well you work AND how you work with others. Getting references from a variety of sources can solidify who you are in the hiring process.
You want most of your references to be about your professional attributes. However, you don’t have to rule out references that can speak about your other abilities such as teamwork, organization, and hard and soft skills mentioned on your resume.
Making A Reference List
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How Employers Use References
References are more commonly called after your interviews have gone well and the employer is in the final stages of deciding whether or not to offer you the job. For many employers, references are used to confirm many of the positive attributes they observed during the interview and to verify details of your work history that you may have shared. For this reason, they arent typically a part of the application or early interview process.
Resume References Example: How To Write Your References
For example, if we were writing up references to accompany Alexa Campbell’s resume, they might look something like this:
When choosing your references, select 35 people who you have insight into your hard and soft skills and who you trust to say good things about you and your job performance. Click on the following link for more information on how to select the right references for your job search.
Space On Your Resume Is Valuable Real Estate
Typically, a resume should be limited to one page unless you have an extensive work history. Because resumes are short and concise, the information you choose to include must be relevant and essential to the position you are applying for. References on resumes are a waste of space. You would be much wiser to include a little extra job history or an additional skill set. List out previous experiences including specific responsibilities and results.
Understand How To Ask For Job References
Make sure you take permission from the person you want to use as a reference.
Have a friendly conversation and find out what they would say about your performance and character before listing them.
Also, let them know beforehand what you are applying for and when they can expect a call or letter.
Remember that when you provide your former managers contact information, the potential employer assumes youve told him/her to expect the call.
Its believed that he/she will be available to talk about you.
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Dont Forget The Essential Details In The Process When Adding The References On A Resume
Apart from knowing who is possibly a positive reference, it is necessary to understand how to use those references. So don’t forget to consider these critical points as well:
- Be polite and phrase your request carefully not to put the person on the spot. You should ask if he or she would be comfortable being your reference.
- If the person is open to participating, ask for a possible letter of recommendation or a LinkedIn recommendation .
- Follow up and thank your job references after they agree to help you.
- Keep in touch and keep your references up-to-date and think they are an essential part of your network. Consider being their reference as well and let them know about your accomplishments and your career success.
Also, It would take time, but once you put your positive job references on a resume, your chances of attracting an employer online multiply.
References Take Up Valuable Resume Space
If you need to submit references, dont include them on your resume . If you are displaying references the correct way, you will have several lines of text for each reference. Thus, including references on your resume takes up valuable space. If you typically have your contacts on your resume, this is an easy way to shorten your resume if you think its a little too long it also helps keeps the focus on your experience, achievements, and other valuable qualifications.
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