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How To Organize References On A Resume

How To Organize Your Resume Better: Resume Must

How to write References for Resume in Free Resume Maker App #10

A good way of learning how to organize a resume is to view the information through an employer’s eyes. Ask yourself:

  • What information about me does a potential employer or client need to know?
  • What information about me would they like to know?
  • Let’s take a closer look at the basic resume sections and resume headers that every resume needs. Here are the sections of a resume and a brief look at why each section is important:

    Organize your resume into sections with related information grouped under separate resume headings. Well-defined resume headers make it easier for potential employers to quickly find what they need to know about you.

    Thats why I include a good resume template on the list of resume must-haves. A good template makes it easier for recruiters to read your resume. The basic resume structure, resume headings, and resume order are already in place, so you don’t need to waste time figuring out how to organize your resume. A template also ensures that your finished resume will have a polished, professional look.

    Now that weve discussed the resume sections your resume needs, lets take a look at some things it doesnt need.

    What Is A Reference

    In terms of a resume, references refer to contacts within your professional network that have experience working with you in the past. They can speak to your skills and give recruiters first-hand feedback on your work ethic.

    Youll likely only be asked to provide a list of references if youve successfully reached the final rounds of the interview process. After all, potential employers are typically swamped with applicants and simply dont have the time to spend reviewing every candidates references.

    So, if youre lucky enough to have made it through most of the interview process and now approach the final stages, how should you provide your references once theyre requested?

    Lets dive in.

    Example Reference Page Formatted To Match The Job Seeker’s Resume

    Start with your resume formatting.

    Imagine your resume was structured like this sample resume for the made up job seeker Jane Somebody.

    Notice the job seeker’s name and contact information is formatted in a header that is centered on the page. The headings are bolded and in all capitals.

    To created a set of job search documents that look like a pulled-together, professional package, you simply need to carry the same style through to your resume reference page.

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    Reach Out To Your Contacts In Advance

    The common courtesy states that your contacts should be aware that youve included them into your reference list. For instance, you might want to contact James, an accountant from that consulting firm you worked for two years ago, and tell that he may be contacted by the hiring manager. Provide them with the company name and job title youve applied for, and send a fresh version of your resume. Thus, theyll be aware of what the hiring person can potentially ask about, and will provide a broader testimonial about you.

    You may also ask the reference to highlight the specific personality trait or mention certain projects if you believe that it will help you make a better impression. If youre a technical support rep who wants to get a managerial role, ask them to tell how you handled responsibilities of an absent boss and initiated the project that resulted in customer satisfaction growth. And, after the company has contacted them, be sure to send a thank-you letter to express gratitude for their help.

    We Often Ask Candidates To Remove References From Their Resume

    Reference Librarian Resumes

    References can be a challenge to present on a resume. I once heard them described as the last known intelligence test as youre asking the candidate to find three people who will say something good about them.

    Its important to remember that they are asking a person to act as a referee as a favor, and as such, they really need to protect that persons contact information until the very end of the process.

    We only ask for references once we get to the offer pending references stage so that the referee is contacted just the once .

    We will very often ask candidates to remove references from their resume in order that they protect their relationship with their reference.

    Robyn L. Coburn

    Author | Founder, Robyn Coburn Resume Review

    The correct answer at least as far as the USA is concerned is that you dont.

    Your references go on a separate document, ideally using the exact same letterhead for elegant consistency. The proper way to write them is:

    Name, Job TitlePhone NumberEmail address

    You need not label the phone number or email address that is old fashioned. Keep the company mailing address in your own files in case it is needed for an online job application form.

    There are new online services where job seekers can store letters of recommendation and point potential hirers to their profiles.

    Alex Kovalenko

    Account Manager | Senior IT Recruiter, Kovasys IT Recruitment Inc.

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    When Do You Need References

    Employers will typically check your references just before theyre ready to make an offer, Papadopoulos says. Thats why you dont need to provide them when youre first applying for a job. But its a good idea to have them ready to go before you even land an interview.

    If a company is ready to hire you pending a reference check, the last thing you want is to be held up by asking people to be a reference or collecting their contact information. Instead, you should have your references ready and keep them updated during your search, Papadopoulos says.

    Start With Your Personal Details

    Provide your personal information.

    Start your reference list with your name, phone number, and email address, just as it appears on your resume and cover letter.

    Add a simple line under your contact information to clearly separate it from the rest of the information on the page.

    Below your personal information, add a title such as “references” or “professional references.”

    Select your most relevant references.

    Most employers, if they ask for references, will limit you to three, so you will need to carefully and wisely select the most relevant references. This should include people who can discuss your talents that are specific to the job you are applying for. Therefore, consider:

    • Whether the reference works in the same industry as the one you are applying for.
    • Which reference can best highlight your skills applicable to the job you are applying for.
    • Which references are not suitable to give you a reference for the particular job you are applying for.

    Arrange your references to your advantage.

    List those references that are most likely to give you a great recommendation at the top. If you are adding references for different fields of work, you can sub-divide your references into different sections to make it easier for the recruiter to read.

    The best way to list your references would be to use the following format:

    Do not list your reference’s personal address to protect their privacy, and because hiring companies no longer contact references by mail.

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    Professional References List Template

    When presenting your professional reference list to a potential employer, you want to make sure the information you are including is well organized. This will speak volumes about the work you will be bringing into the company.

    Hiring managers will want to know that you are detail-oriented, to help you achieve this, here is a template of what a reference list should look like:

    How Long Should The Resume Be

    Resume Writing Tips : How to Put References in a Resume Step-By-Step

    Generally speaking, most hiring managers will expect to see a one-page resume.

    However, there are times when a multi-page resume may be preferable.

    Here are some examples of when to use a multi-page resume:

    • You have over 10 years of experience in a field or industry
    • You are creating a CVYou have many certifications or awards

    The key to using more than one page is to always double-check that the extra information is relevant and necessary.

    Still not sure what length to make your resume? Check out our guide on How Long Should a Resume be in 2021? .

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    Resume Reference Page Example

    Check out this properly formatted resume references example to see what a references list looks like in practice:

    Note that in this example, the candidate matches the style of her reference page to her resume design.

    If you need to include a list of references with your resume, be sure to match the formatting to the rest of your application.

    How To Provide References For A Job

    If youre looking for how to provide references for a job , then youre in the right place.

    Im going to walk you through everything you need to know about giving professional references for a job on your resume, on applications, after the interview, and when recruiters ask.

    Ill also cover the mistakes you need to avoid if you want to get hired.

    Lets get started

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    Who Is A Good Reference For Your Resume

    Its important that all the references in your resume are all deliberately selected individuals.

    Everyones aunt thinks that they are special, but what does your previous manager think about your work ethic?

    To figure out whos a good reference for you, you should take personal experience into consideration: that means what stage in your career youre currently in.


    Because youd list different people at different points in your career.

    If you are a student or recent graduate with little to no work practice, you would want to get references from:

    • Guidance tutors or counselors
    • Course teachers and professors

    Any of these people can speak positively about your best skills, qualities, and experiences.

    When you have some professional background, however, even at an entry-level position, you have more variety in selecting a good reference.

    You could use former colleagues or managers as well as project, master, doctorate supervisors from your most current studies.

    If you are a professional candidate, this process becomes simpler as your preferred references will be more acquainted with giving and requesting references.

    • If you dont have a lot of professional references to count on, you can reach out to just about anyone that can provide you with a valuable character reference.
    • If a friend works in the company you are applying to, you could also use them as a reference.

    Other important things you should consider:

    Find people who can properly display all of the above for you.

    How Many References On A Resume Should I Include

    Personal Reference Template

    As you begin brainstorming who to include on your list of professional references, try to keep your final list to no more than three contacts.

    Although you may have a dozen references available upon request that would be more than willing to sing your praises, remember to be realistic and respectful of the hiring managers time.

    Whittling down your references may be challenging, but keep in mind that its best to value quality over quantity when it comes to your professional references.

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    How To List Relationship On References

    When listing job references, add a note after each persons name to indicate whether you have a professional or personal relationship. For professional references, also indicate whether the person was your manager or simply a peer/colleague. Next, indicate whether each professional reference is somebody at your current employer or someone from a former company.

    See below for examples of how to list relationship on references:

    • Personal reference
    • Professional reference

    Should The Layout Be Different Depending On The Position Im Applying For

    Anytime you submit a new job application, you should take the time to adjust your resume for that specific job.

    This allows you to include keywords found in the job description.

    It also shows the employer you have a keen skill for observation and attention to detail!

    Optimizing your resume for specific jobs is important.

    Read our guide on how to Tailor Your Resume to Any Job in 4 Easy Steps to learn how to better optimize your resume!

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    Resume Writing Seems Tough Get An Expert Help

    Writing a resume is nothing short of challenge, especially if you are not sure how employers scan resumes and what they pay attention to. To get a resume that positions you for the job effectively, consider getting help of experts from Our resume creators will effectively highlight your accomplishments, skills and use custom design to make your resume unique. Get a resume that helps you get noticed and goes beyond employers expectations.

    When Listing References On A Resume:

    Resume Fix: How to use a Personal Reference

    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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    Use The Right Format For A Reference List

    As mentioned above, the list of references starts with your name and contacts. After that, you proceed to the list of references. Include the full name, title, company name and contact details for each person on your list. Heres how this should look like:

    Kevin G. Henneth

    ABC Company, New York, NY, 10123


    XYZ Agency, New York, NY, 10125


    Provide the same details for each person on your reference list. The order of references is up to you no need to organize them reverse chronologically or alphabetically. That is, you can place the references who are most likely to give you a positive recommendation at the top of the list. Since some employers only contact 1-2 references from the list, chances are theyll hear only the best opinions about you.

    Listing The Manager Who Fired You Or With Whom You Had A Conflict

    Not all job tenures end on a good note. Personality clashes, misunderstandings and toxic environment can lead to a situation when you get fired. Yet, dont mention such a person as your reference. The person who fired you can share their vision of the situation with the hiring person, and might make them assume you didnt perform well. Stick to people who you were on a good note with.

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    Why Is The Skills Section Necessary On A Resume

    By listing your key skills, the hiring managers will see straight away that youre a potential fit, whether theyre looking at your resume via an ATS or manually. It also makes it much easier to tailor your resume to specific jobs. Moreover, having a is a quick and easy way to list keywords on your resume. This can give you a head start with ATS systems, since they search for specific keywords.

    Check out our comprehensive guide on how to write a skills section for your resume?

    What Are The Different Types Of Resume Formats

    How to Write a Chronological Resume (Plus Example!)

    When deciding on a way to lay out your resume, it is important to consider the different resume formats.

    The format you choose can change the focus of your resume to suit your needs better.

    This is especially important if you are lacking in certain areas, such as work experience or education.

    The 3 main types of resume formats are as follows:

    • âReverse-Chronological: This format focuses on your work experience. In this layout, your most recent and relevant job will appear first.â
    • Functional: Functional resumes are good for applicants who lack work experience. This type of layout will place greater emphasis on education, skills, etc.â
    • Hybrid/Combination: A hybrid format is good for applicants who may have some work experience. This combines elements of both the reverse-chronological and functional formats.

    For more information on choosing the best format for your needs, check out our guide on How to Choose the Correct Resume Format in 2021.

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    References & Letters Of Recommendation

    References and letters of recommendation both involve your professional mentors putting a good word in for you when youre applying for something, be it a job or a graduate program. However, they are used at different times.


    A references sheet is a short list of contact information for 3-4 of your past professors or supervisors whom an employer can call and speak to about your qualifications and professionalism. It is something employers will ask for during the interview process, and it does not require any written work on your mentors part.

    Letters of Recommendation

    A letter of recommendation is a formal letter written by a professor that discusses your qualifications, and is usually a required part of graduate, medical, or law school admissions As letters of recommendation are formal written documents, you are required to give your professors advance notice if youd like them to write for you. Please visit the graduate school page of our site for more information about letters of recommendation.

    Who To Ask To Be Your Professional Reference

    Here is a list of people you should consider asking to be your reference:

    Remember to get permission from these individuals before including them as a reference on your list. It is common courtesy to notify anyone before using their name in any professional setting. Youll want to make sure that everyone you have listed is on board. Letting them know in advance will help them be prepared to vouch for you.

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    How Do You List References On A Resume 6 Professional Tips

    Providing references is an integral part of the hiring process. They are more than just a formality 8 out of 10 recruiters use them as a candidate screening method. Hiring managers want to validate the information youve provided on the resume and in person. Employee hiring and onboarding are costly, so they want to make sure youre a right candidate by reaching out to people who worked with you before.

    Preparing a reference list takes thought and strategy. You want to pick the right people to ask the reference for and format the completed list professionally to make the right impression. In todays guide, our certified resume writers will explain whether to incorporate references into the resume and how to list your references correctly.


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