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How Many References Should You Have On A Resume

Provide Three That Are Most Relevant To The Job You Applied For

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The preferred method is for you to provide three that are most relevant to the job youve applied for:

  • Personal Reference
  • Work or Previous work Reference
  • Colleague or a College Reference

If the employer requests more names or makes a specific request, such as speaking with your most recent boss, you can respond appropriately.

Here are also some tips that can probably help you with:

Rule #: Match Your Resume & Reference Sheet Styles

Before you begin adding your references, you want to make sure your reference sheet matches the same style and format of your resume.

This means using the same colors, the same font, and the same general layout. If you scroll back near the top of this post, you can see an example of how I did this with an example resume and reference sheet.

Types Of References That Matter On A Resume

    When seeking a job, you need to either provide a few references on your resume or mention separately according to the employers requirement.

    Giving references means the listed people are familiar with your talent, skills and work ethic and are willing to give their testimonial. You can use various types of references, depending on the nature of the job and the potential employers demand.

    You may often get confused between mentioning your personal or professional references. The nature of references should depend on the type of job you are applying for, your domain expertise, experience, and the relevance of references in this context.

    The mentioned references should be able to vouch for your qualifications, skills and achievements to the prospective employer.

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    What Are Cv References

    CV references are people whose contact information you give to recruiting professionals so that they can vouch for your character, skills, and work performance.

    Recruiters like to use your references to double-check what youve written on your CV, as many candidates actually lie on their applications. In fact, 85% of employers say they have caught applicants lying on their CVs.

    If you provide references in your CV, the recruiters will either call or email them and request information about you, such as:

    • What is their relationship to you?
    • Are you a good employee?
    • Why are you no longer working for them?
    • What are your defining characteristics such as abilities, work ethics, interpersonal skills, punctuality, etc?
    • Will you be a good fit for the job you are applying for?

    Do Hiring Managers Call Previous Employers If Theyre Not Listed As References

    Sample References Document For Resume

    They may, but its not likely. Typically, employers only call the references you have listed because they dont wish to disrespect your job search and because they are limited on time. If you choose to list a previous employer, only include people from the company whom you trust to speak highly of you.

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    Tips For Preparing A List Of References

    Here are some tips to consider when preparing your list of references:

    • Be sure to include your own name and contact information at the top of the page in case your list of references gets separated from your resume
    • Your name and contact information can appear either above or below the title Reference List
    • The title can also be altered to Professional References,Personal References or Employment References as needed
    • You can divide the reference list into two sections for personal and professional references, if you are listing both
    • Be sure to include the full name and preferred contact information for each reference
    • Note how you know each person so the interviewer will understand what type of information each reference can provide
    • References can be numbered or simply separated by a blank space
    • If you have several references to list, consider formatting them into two columns so they will all fit on the same page

    You can vary the formatting in a few ways, but you should match the style and font of your resume so that both documents are consistent.

    Should You List References On A Resume

    Itâs best to use the space you have on your resume in more productive ways, but collecting references to have on hand is a proactive step you can take in your job search.

    Although it used to be common practice to list at least two references on your resume, itâs since become unnecessary in the digital age. But if youâre actively searching for a new job, it can help to proactively collect references so youâre prepared in case an employer asks for that information.

    Letâs go over why employers need references, why itâs not necessary to list them on your resume, and tips for asking someone to serve as a reference.

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    When Listing References On A Resume:

    If you are applying to a job where the job ad specifically requests your references be listed on your resume itself, you will want to add just the basics in order to save space.

    The best way to format these references is as follows:

    • The reference’s name their professional title and the company name.
    • The reference’s email address.
    • The reference’s phone number.

    Add a heading, such as “references” or “professional references”. To further save space, you can use two columns to list your references.

    Ideally You Should Have Up To Three References

    How many references do I need? Getting started with essay, thesis, and dissertations.

    Ideally, your résumé should have up to three references but if you want to add more, make sure you dont add more than five references.

    If possible, dont attach the references to your résumé you can add a reference section on your résumé with the title stating Available on request.

    Tips on references

  • You need to ensure that your references are professional and that no family member or friend is involved. In order to keep it unbiased, your references should be strictly professional.
  • You need to ensure that all references speak highly of you and are able to highlight your strengths.
  • Your references should be able to highlight capabilities that can be implemented in the company you have applied to.
  • When asking someone for a reference, inform them where you would be using their reference so they can add your strengths respectively.
  • Tyler Read

    CEO, Personal Trainer Pioneer

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    Attach A Reference List

    Though it’s not always necessary, you can attach a reference list to your resume when submitting your application. You can do this by attaching an additional file to your application. If you decide to do this, label it clearly and keep it separate from your resume. You may also want to save your reference list document as a PDF to ensure its format saves correctly. Attaching your reference list allows you to provide references early in the hiring process and shows you’re prepared and organized.

    What Should You Do If They Do Not Have Any Past Work Experience

    What to do about references if you do not have any prior work experience? Do not worry though, and mention the following sections in place of references:

    • A Professional Summary Statement: You can write a short professional summary statement. The summary should be right after your name and contact information.
    • Skills Obtained: If you have obtained a range of skills that can be useful in the job applied, you can list those skills. For example, soft skills, time management, word processor, and software development, and others.
    • Achievements in School/College: You can mention your achievements in school/college, such as writing in magazines, winning art competitions, expertise in debates, running a book club, or others.
    • Certifications: Professional certifications, especially the relevant ones can be useful as reference points, such as any technical certification, specialized writing diploma, CMS tool training, etc.

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    Should I Include References On A Resume

    In most cases, no. You should not waste space on your resume by including references. The exception is when the job listing specifically asks that you include references on your resume. Typically, job applications have form fields designated for listing references if the employer wants them. Instead of listing references on a resume, use that space for accomplishments, additional skills, or a creative introduction.

    Can I Use Someone As A Reference Without Asking

    Sample References Document For Resume

    Your references should be people you have worked for or worked with. Dont use someone as a reference without asking them first. Do not assume your favorite teacher or former supervisor will give you a reference. Always ask for permission first and ask far enough in advance so they have enough time to say yes or no.

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    What Types Of References Are Important

    There are four types of references. References from past employers carry the most weight.

    • Employment references include past employers, co-workers, subordinates, or clients. They can speak about your specific employment experience. You can also list people for whom you perform volunteer activities, babysitting, lawn mowing, and other odd jobs.
    • Professional references are people who know you on a professional basis. They may include contacts from business and sales, clubs, or professional or community organizations.
    • Academic references are instructors and vocational counselors. They can speak about your academic activities. These are most appropriate for current students or recent graduates.
    • Personal references are people who know you personally and can describe your skills. Only use this type of reference if you do not have the other types. Use the names of people who can tell an employer you can be depended on to do a good job.

    When Shouldnt I Include Cv References

    All that being said, there are certain circumstances when its best to leave out your CV references.

    These circumstances can include:

    • References arent required during the early stages of your application.
    • You are specifically asked not to include them.
    • You dont have enough references .
    • The references arent relevant to the position you are applying for.
    • You have been fired or have otherwise ended your contract on bad terms.
    • You dont have enough space on your CV to include them. Your work experience and skills are much more important so if they dont leave enough for the references, you can just skip them.

    If any of these are true for you, the safest bet is to leave them out and write instead: references available upon request.

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    How To Choose Your References

    Just because references arent typically needed at the start of the application process, that doesnt mean you should forget about it until a prospective employer starts asking for your references. Be proactive and select your top references before you start applying for jobs.

    Its good to get a variety of references that can speak to different aspects of your exemplary personal and professional qualities. Start brainstorming people who fit into any of the categories below:

    Ideally, you should choose references who will be able to tout your talents that relate directly to the job for which youre applying. When contemplating whether or not to use someone from your current job, make sure that they know youre looking for a new job. Obviously, if youre sending out applications on the sly, dont put your current boss down as a reference.

    How Many References Should You Include

    How to Write a Resume (Part 5): References

    As many as the job posting asks for.

    If youre wondering how many references to include, dont worry: the job posting will tell you. If information about references isnt included in the job posting, then the hiring staff will ask you for them later in the process once theyve evaluated your résumé.

    You dont need to include any more or fewer references than they ask for it wont improve your chances.

    Job postings often call for two to three professional references, so make sure you get in touch with people who could serve as your references before you start applying for jobs.

    Tina Hawk, SHRM-SCP, sHRBP, SSHR

    SVP Human Resources, GoodHire

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    How To List References

    Before you begin your job hunt, gather your references onto a Professional Reference Page. Include each references name, title, organization, phone number, and email address.

    List your references starting with your most impressive or important reference.

    Dont annotate your application with resume references available upon request. This outdated practice only uses up valuable space and restates something that every hiring manager already knows.

    Instead, create a dedicated references page separate from your resume, and attach it to your application.

    Next, list each reference like this:

    Proper professional references format

    Company / University your reference works atFull address of your references company / universityPhone numberEmail address

    Never include the personal address of your reference on your reference page, because hiring managers dont contact references via snail mail. Plus your reference may not want you to share their personal information with strangers either.

    Underneath each entry on your resumes reference page, you should also make a note clarifying your relationship with the reference, and how long youve known or worked with them.

    Finally, if you want to save time formatting your reference page, download our resume references template and fill it in yourself:

    Create A Reference List

    To create a reference list, write down the full name and contact information of your reference. You may also want to include the professional’s job title or relation to you and the company in which they work. After listing this information, use one or two sentences to describe why this reference is relevant. For example, if you’re using your former manager as a reference, you might write:

    James GrayJames is my former supervisor at Treasure Chest, where I worked from 2018 to 2020.

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    How To Ask For References

    Youve got your wish list. What to do now?

    Of course, sometimes you dont have a choice. If sending your prospective reference an email is the only option, be sure to briefly remind them of who you are. Describe the projects you worked on together and explain where youre heading with your career.

    Also, send them a copy of your resume as an attachment. This will help them recall the times when you were working with them and remind them of your achievements and personality.

    Give your potential references enough details about the jobs youre applying for. Be specific in what skills and qualities youd like to emphasize. Furthermore, you can even send them the job description. This will help them talk to the employer and endorse your key qualifications.

    When it comes to formulating your request, try to be a bit diplomatic. Allow people to refuse gracefully. Here are a few ideas on how to frame your question:

    • Would you feel comfortable being my reference in my upcoming job search?
    • Would you find some time in the next few weeks to meet and talk about being my reference during my job hunt?

    If you get a positive reply, youre almost finished. Take a moment to get your references current titles and contact information right. Also, ask how theyd prefer to be contacted by the recruiter usually either by phone or email.

    Heres an example of e-mail request that you can use.

    Subject: Larry Brown Reference Request

    Dear Mr. Clark,

    Best regards,

    Ask A Contact Before Including Them As A Reference

    What Information Should Be Included In A Resume

    Always ask consent to list someone as a reference. This is a respectful approach when giving out someone’s name and contact details. This also gives your reference a chance to expect and prepare for a call from the employer. With ample notice, your reference can recall and prepare what to talk about. They can highlight times where you went above and beyond and discuss what makes you a great worker.

    Make sure the people you ask are comfortable being your reference. When you call, email or talk to your potential reference in person, gauge their reaction. You will likely get the best reference from people who enjoyed their time working with you and want to help you. A positive reference promotes your talents and can help you get the role you want.

    Once you have completed the hiring process, take the time to thank your references. Send a note or email or give them a quick phone call to show your appreciation. It is important to show your thanks and maintain strong professional networking connections.

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    Can I See My Reference From My Employer

    Can I see the reference that my previous employer wrote? Your previous or current employer do not have to automatically show you a reference they have written about you. Once you start a job with a new employer, you can ask them for a copy of any reference they have been given from your previous employer.

    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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    How To Make A Separate Resume References List

    A separate reference list is a smart alternative to adding references directly to your resume.

    In addition to being prepared easily in advance to ensure that you have a reference list handy for any interested employers, they can also be unobtrusively added to your resume should a job posting request them.

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