Including References On A Resume Is Simply A Waste Of Space
You only get a small number of pages, usually 12 pages in the private sector, to share your career narrative and convince employers that you are qualified for the job they’re filling. Don’t waste any of this precious resume space to include references something an employer won’t need to look at until you’re much further along in the candidate selection process.
Instead, focus on providing the details that will convince a recruiter or hiring manager to contact you for an interview. Remember, your resume is designed to get you the interview. The details you highlight on the resume should support this goal.
While it varies from company to company, most employers won’t ask for your references until they’re ready to reach out to them. This typically doesn’t happen until you’ve made it through the initial interview rounds and are among the final candidates for a job. If, for any reason, an employer wants your references earlier in the process, rest assured they’ll give you a chance to provide them. There’s no need to place references on your resume when they won’t be used until you’re one of the final candidates.
That said, you should brainstorm a list of potential references as soon as you start submitting job applications so you’re ready when an employer requests your references.
Should I Put References On A Resume
The answer to whether or not to put references on your resume can vary.
The general rule of thumb when is actually to not include references on your resume.
This is because employers are unlikely to reach to references until the interview phase, making the inclusion of them on an initial resume typically unnecessary.
This does not mean that there are never scenarios in which you will need to know how to properly list references.
For specific jobs and in certain situations, you may be asked or required to include a list of references within or alongside your resume.
When you need strong references, it’s important to structure them so that they stand out and impress the hiring manager, landing you the pivotal interview.
In this guide, we will be covering the basics of how listing references on your resumes and when to know itâs time to use references.
Plus, we will discuss alternatives to sending references that can help you in situations where sending a reference may be a difficult task.
Prove Your Impact In Roles
Another reason that candidates feel they need to include references, is to show potential employers that they made a difference in the workplace and have been noticed by their leaders.
If you use your role descriptions to prove the impact your work has had on your employer or customers, then its a great way of proving your value as an employee.
Your impact is the result of your actions in the workplace.
For example, if you are responsible for introducing new processes in your office, then your impact could be, saving the firm money, or saving your colleagues time.
So, when writing your role descriptions, dont just list your responsibilities expand to demonstrate your impact.
For example, dont just write:
Making outbound calls to potential clients
Expand to say
Making outbound calls to potential clients to generate quality leads for sales team to convert to orders
This way you demonstrate your impact and recruiters can quickly see the value you offer to employers.
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When To Put References On A Resume
So, if it is typically not expected to have references included on an initial resume, when is the best time to include references on a resume?
Creating a reference section or page can be necessary depending on a number of situations, including:
- If the employer has specifically requested for references to be included in the job description
- If you have progressed further down the hiring process and have been asked to provide references before or after an interview
- If you are applying to governmental or institutional position, such as a federal job, that will require strong references and a background check
Quick Tip: If you have impressive references, such as a company CEO or another recognizable figure, be sure to make these the most noticeable references and the first ones you list in your reference section.
Overall, the golden rule is to wait to provide references until they are requested.
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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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.
How Many References Should You Have
Most job seekers should have between three and four references on their reference page.
However, if youre applying for a position that requires extensive vetting like a senior-level role, you should include between five and seven professional references.
But remember that all of your references should be high quality. Each reference should be able to meaningfully attest to your professional strengths and character. Dont include more references just to hit a higher number.
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Include A References Page With Your Resume
More in Federal Careers
The days of noting: References Available Upon Request on your resume are over . Do not list references on your resume. Instead, create a Reference Page to provide to hiring managers upon request. You should take your reference page to all interviews and have it ready to share.
Heres what a reference page should look like and the information it should contain:
- The formatting of your reference page should match the formatting of your resume in terms of font and any graphics used.
- The top of your reference page should include your name and contact information . You may also want to include your customized LinkedIn URL.
- You should have at least 3 and no more than 5 references all should be professional. The information on each reference should include: the reference name, title, organization, City, ST, email, and phone. You may also want to consider including the references relationship to you.
- Your most important reference should be the first one. And if possible, your references should have some familiarity with the skills required for the job youre targeting. It is acceptable to use difference references for different positions.
- Dont forget to double-check all spelling and contact information.
You shouldnt wait until youre getting called in for interviews to contact people you want to use as references.
Immediately send a letter or email thanking them for serving as a reference, and provide a current copy of your resume.
Tips For Navigating References
Great! Your work mate will vouch for you as a referee. Just stop there. Navigating references is a skill that can win you a job if you get it right.
Job hunting season is now open, if you want the best chance possible then remember that references are hugely important, says Julie Sutton, recruitment manager at Ryan Recruitment.
There are rules to be followed if you want to nail this one:
You’ve got great references and you know it. Make a point of letting the recruiter or employer know. Not everyone will be so lucky as you and it will make you look good.
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Mistake #: Forgetting To Send A Thank
Your references are doing you a big favor. Theyre not only investing their time for you, but theyre also putting their own reputation on the line, Kay says.
Take a few minutes to write them a thank-you email or handwritten letter. Its a small gesture, but it can go a long way.
If you want someone to be a good reference, you have to act like a mensch, Kay says. Theres no such thing as being too appreciative.
What Is A Resume Reference List
A resume reference list is a document that provides important contact information for your professional references. Recruiters and hiring managers may contact people on your reference list during the hiring process to learn more about your professional history, job performance and other details about the kind of employee you are.
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Tips For Getting And Submitting References
Who to Use as a Reference. Choosing who to ask for a reference is an important step in your application process. You will want to tailor your reference list, depending on the job for which you’re applying.
When possible, utilize references with connections to the company or industry to which you are applying.
Its also helpful to use references who can attest to your qualifications for the particular job youre applying to. With this in mind, its great if you can list people who have worked with you in a similar context.
How to Email a Reference List. When youre emailing a reference list to an employer, name the file so that its easy to identify and easy for the hiring manager to keep track of. You may want to send it as a PDF file, so it retains the original formatting. Here’s how:
- For Word Documents: click File, Save As, PDF to save your documents as PDF files.
- For Google Docs files: click File, Download, PDF document.
- Save the files with your name, so they don’t get mixed up with other applicants’ materials, e.g., janeapplicant.pdf.
Give the Reference Giver an Opportunity to Decline. When you ask someone to give you a reference, its always a good idea to give them an opportunity to decline. While most people are happy to help colleagues out with references and recommendations, there may be personal circumstances or professional policies preventing them from doing so at a particular time.
Third Call Attention To Your Attachments
Once youre ready to submit your resume, its a good idea to call attention to your attachments with a short but professional and polite phrase. When youre deciding what to say, choose a phrase that doesnt sound too old-fashioned or unnatural when read aloud, such as Please find my attached resume.
Examples of acceptable alternative phrases for attachments:
- I have attached my resume for your review/reference.
- I attached my resume below.
- My resume is attached for your review and consideration.
- As the attached resume shows
- I have included/appended my resume for your review.
- Please take a look at the attached resume.
- Let me know if you have any questions regarding my attached resume.
- My resume and cover letter are attached below.
- Please have a look at the enclosed resume.
- Please refer to the attached resume for more details on my
- Please see the attached resume to learn more about
- Please take a look at my resume and let me know if you have any questions.
- Ive attached my resume to this message and would love to be considered for the position.
- The resume you requested is attached to this email.
- Youll find all the requested documents attached to this email.
- I have attached my resume to this email, as requested.
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When To Include References On A Resume
Every word on your resume should be packed with value. Typically, you have one to two pages to explain why youre qualified and well-positioned for the job, and hiring managers only have a short time to read it.
Because references are not always a part of the interview process, you are taking up limited resume space to provide what may end up being irrelevant to employers in this phase. Even including the phrase references upon request on your resume can be unimportant. If their interview process includes references, employers will ask you to provide them.
There are a few rare scenarios in which including references on your resume may be acceptable. If you are in an industry that accepts case studies or testimonials on the resume, it may be appropriate to include the person and contact information for which these apply.
Additionally, it is acceptable to include references if the job description not only requires you to include references but explicitly states that they should be included directly on your resume. If not, you should include your reference list in a separate document.
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.
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Read The Job Description Carefully
The job description should tell you everything you need to know about how you should send references. Often, a reference list is requested in the online application process. In this case, you can simply include your contacts here. If not, follow instructions from the posting carefully. If there is no mention of including references, simply send your resume with no reference list until it is brought up in the interview process.
Should You Include References On Your Resume
No, not unless youâre specifically asked to do so. Even in the case that youâre asked for references, they should never be included on your resume itself.
You want to create a separate references page. We cannot stress this enough. This references page should NOT be included with every resume submission.
Build an awesome references page and keep it on hand. That way, when you’re asked for references, you can provide them immediately and confidently without stumbling.
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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
Mistake #: Listing Someone As A Reference Without Asking The Person For Permission First
Asking if someone will be a reference for you might sound like a basic step, but Kay says youd be surprised how many job seekers forget to do it.
A lot of people just dont ask for permission, Kay says. They just assume that the person is happy to do it. Hence, youll want to touch base with references before providing their contact information to a prospective employer. Its simply common courtesy.
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They Are Not Needed At The Early Stages Of A Job Application
References are simply not needed at the beginning of the job application process because employers do not normally request them until offer stage.
Although there is no official regulation of reference request timing, its generally understood across the recruitment industry that most employed candidates will be unable to provide references until theyve been offered a job due to the fact most people cannot let their current employer know they are looking elsewhere until they have a concrete offer on the table.
Very rarely a company might ask for a reference at interview stage, but this doesnt mean that you have to provide one if youre not comfortable doing so.
How To Format A Resume References Section
Learning how to arrange a reference section is just as vital as other sections of your resume or cover letter.
A messy, carelessly formatted reference page will lose your employer’s interest.
So how do you write one thats eye-catching and professional?
First, put your references on a . Add an exclusive reference page, as the last page of your resume.
Keep the same format for your reference sheet as your resume and cover letter, meaning use the same font, margins, and color scheme.
If youve included personal references as well, you could also add Personal References as a subtitle.
Use the formatting we discussed in the previous section to list your references.
Ditch the common References available upon request.
This is a frequent mistake. Employers formerly know this and its an overworked phrase. The general rule of thumb is to keep your resume as brief as possible. Why misuse the space?
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