Resume Sections: Your Professional Feature List
Theres often a lot of confusion as to what sections to include in your resume.
This isnt surprising, since their importance can vary depending on your profession, industry and nature of your experience. We can divide section types into necessary and optional ones. Lets assume for the time being that youre using the Reverse Chronologicalformat .
Necessary sections often include:
- Include the most important sections that showcase your professional experience and are likely to impress your employer.
- Analyze which sections are important to your profession. Only then – use the free white available for optional categories.
- Include every section possible, expanding your resume to maximum capacity.
- Include your social media profiles if they contain party pictures. Keep it to your basic contact information such as email, phone number and Linkedin profile.
- List every single life milestone or activity, regardless of available space
- Only include cum laudeor GPAon a resume if an employer explicitly asks for it or if you are applying for an entry-level job.
These are not iron-clad rules, however. Sometimes certain sections change their importance depending on the job itself. For example, in our Nurse resume guide, we highlight the fact that belonging to professional organizations is much more important than usual. Some questions to ask yourself when deciding to include or resize sections are:
Your resume may be Chronological, but your decisions should be functional and pragmatic!
Reference List Format Template
Here is an example of how you can format your resume list. Consider listing your references in chronological order, starting with the person you worked with most recently.
Be sure to include the following information in this order:
Joseph Smith was my professor through numerous courses I completed to earn my Masters of Business Administration.
Your resume list template should follow the same look and feel as your resume, with the same fonts and colors. This way, if you submit them together, it looks consistent and professional.
After completing the hiring process, be sure to thank your reference for assisting you in your effort to find a new job. Whether its a quick call, email or a thank you note, its important you show gratitude to these important connections. After all, their testimonial can go a long way in helping you land an interview and hopefully a new job.
Ask Your Contacts To Be A Reference
Its important you ask your contacts to be a reference before you provide their names. Not only is this a common courtesy, but it also gives them time to prepare for a phone call or email from the employer. Giving your references plenty of notice also ensures they have time to recall specific examples that highlight why youre the best candidate for the role.
Whether you call, email or ask your prospective reference in person, be sure its something theyre comfortable doing. Your best references will be people who enjoyed working with you and are excited to discuss your talents.
Don’t Miss: Resume With Multiple Jobs
Resume Reference List Template
It is important to properly format your resume reference list, such as by listing your references chronologically, beginning with the reference you have worked with most recently and working your way back in time. At the end of each reference, include information about your working relationship with that individual. Write when and where you worked together so that it is clear why you have included this person in your list. You want to make it as easy as possible for your potential employer to see the value in talking to your references.
Format your resume reference list in the same fashion as your resume, using the same fonts, colours and margins. This keeps your application documents looking uniform and professional. If you do this, your application will convey your consistency and eye for detail.
Ensure you format your reference list consistently and clearly by presenting the information in the following order:
Choose References To Include On Your Resume
When considering who to choose as a reference, think back to the people you have worked with in the past. They need to be individuals who know how you work and are familiar with your greatest professional qualities and skills. They should be able to promote these aspects and discuss any qualifications you have. Choose people who can speak about the skills you have that are specific to this role. Your potential employer wants to hear about how you will excel at the job they have advertised.
Some of the best professional references to include are:
Your current or former direct supervisor or manager
Your current or former colleague who knows your skills and talents
Your current or former employees if you have experience as a manager
A professional mentor
An academic advisor or professor from an educational course that is relevant to the current position
Recommended Reading: Resume Multiple Positions
Should You Include A Reference Section On Your Resume
Some employers may ask you to submit references as part of your resume while others may ask for a reference list after the interview or in the final stages of the hiring process. However, offering a list of references with your resume is generally not the best policy.
If a job posting does not request references, you should not include them on your resume or with your job application. It has become more common in recent years for companies not to provide references for former employees as a way to avoid potential lawsuits, so more and more employers do not ask for them.
Also, resume experts agree that a general rule of thumb is not to add any references due to space and time issues. Generally, you will want to keep your resume as short as possible, and adding references that an employer probably won’t use is wasting space that could be used for more important information.
The recruiter reading your resume also generally does not have a lot of time and will probably not reach out to your references unless you are short-listed for the job. This is usually why prospective employers do not ask for references until after the interview period.
However, in some job postings, recruiters will request references or testimonials in your resume or as part of your job application and, if so, you should follow the instructions exactly. If references are not explicitly requested here, you may be asked after your interview to submit a reference list.
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?
Also Check: How To View Resume On Indeed
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.
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.
You May Like: Tenses In Resume
Should You Always Write Reference Available Upon Request
Writing this statement at the end of your resume is not often acceptable. Every hiring manager knows your references can be accessed after they ask for their information from you. As such, you don’t need to jog their memory of that fact. Moreover, by avoiding to pen this cliché phrase, you save space on your resume and use it for other essential parts.
What Is A Character Reference On A Resume
A character reference is someone who has spent time with you and can comment on your personality. These references provide an idea of your ethics, how you approach challenges and your general disposition. A character reference does not necessarily need to be someone who you have worked with, but it is professional etiquette to avoid using immediate family members or romantic partners.
Don’t Miss: How To Write A Narrative Resume
How To Ask For A Reference
Asking for professional references can be a bit nerve-wrecking, especially if your references are busy people.
The key to asking for references is to be polite and concise in your request. A direct phone call is preferred for asking for references, but a quick email can work in a pinch as well.
When asking someone to serve as a reference for you, it is important to be considerate of their potentially busy schedule and give them a good time frame for when to expect a call or email.
This is another reason why it is important to wait to provide references until requested, as it will give you a narrower window of time to give to your references of when they will need to be on the lookout a hiring manager to contact them.
Quick Tip: When you call or email to ask for a reference, this is a great time to confirm that the information you have is correct .
How To List Your References On A Resume
Should be easy, right? We’re just adding some names and contact info hereright?
Not so fast.
If you want to win more job offers, you need to capitalize on every opportunity to add value and control the process.
This means paying attention to detail and creating those opportunities through every step of the process. Listing your references is no different.
You May Like: How To Describe Excel Skills On Resume
Resume Formats: Defining Structure
Now that were done with the visuals, lets move on to the magic of text. The most fundamental division of text in resumes is based on content format:
- Reverse Chronological
- Combined .
The Reverse Chronological format is not only the most common one, but also the most widely accepted among various employers and industries. The biggest benefit of a reverse chronological resume is its straightforward, easy to understand and linear structure.
It displays your professional experience and past work experience from most recent to oldest. This is great when you have a continuous history of work, and you can showcase some important recent positions. But what should you do if youre a fresh graduate or have a sizable gap in your employment history? This is where the Functional and Combination formats come in.
A Reverse Chronological order also takes advantage of short attention spans and busy schedules of recruiters by demonstrating your most recent and impressive positions first. Take advantage of those 6-7 seconds of eye time!
The Functional resume format leans on soft and hard skills as its main focus-point. If you lack experience as an entry level job seeker due to recently graduating college, or are in the process of moving to a new industry, the Functional format is one you should consider. You can also make the resume more robust by mentioning past projects, social initiatives, experience in other fields and so on.
When Should I Include References On My Cv
1. When requested by the employer
Some employers may request your cover letter, CV, references and/or recommendation letters as part of the first stages of the job application process .
If this is the case, you must provide your references to the employer, either through their job application form or by including it on your CV. Most employers, however, will not ask for this information until the later stages of the selection process.
2. To impress the recruiter
Your reference may be a respectable and well-known person who would impress the reader an MP, dean of a university, director of a famous company or a person who has received an honorary award .
3. To make things easy for the recruiter
Including your referees on your CV makes life easier for some employers who may want to speak to your references before the interview stage.
By providing this information beforehand, they can instantly check you out at any stage of the selection process. Remember, recruiters are under no obligation only to contact your referees after the job interview stage.
4. To gives your CV more credibility
Psychologically-speaking, adding references gives your CV a little more weight and credibility because it demonstrates that you are confident of your own track-record and that you have people who will vouch for your suitability for the job whenever required.
It also gives the impression that you have nothing to hide .
5. To fill up blank space
Also Check: How Many References Do I Need On A Resume
Technology And Psychology: Ats Checks And Recruiters
Weve covered a large portion of the important fundamentals you need to understand when composing a job-winning, attention-grabbing resume.
But theres still two vitally important aspects to making your resume that perfect professional key: interacting with Applicant Tracking Systems and understanding how a recruiter views your resume.
Applicant Tracking Systems have become ubiquitous for large and medium-size employers in most developed countries around the globe. With the amount of applications and potential employees coming in each month, human specialists cant always keep up.
So, instead of expanding recruiting departments to ludicrous sizes, employers are using automated systems to help with hiring. The task of an ATS is to analyze, filter your resume based on keywords.
A study by Preptel shows that, in general, 75% of resumes are never seen by human eyes. Automated filters can become a resume black hole. So, understanding how the ATS works is important.
One of the big reasons for using online tools instead of text editors is that ATSs are often inflexible. They process your resume based on a specific algorithm. A huge percentage of resumes get filtered out regardless of their professional contentdue to formatting errors, images, , graphs, bugged out headerinformation etc. This is why using tested tools that produce a clean resume without hidden formatting pitfalls is so critically important.
How To List Your References:
A detailed guide to listing references on a resume. Includes helpful tips and examples.
Determine the number of references to include.
The number of references you include in your reference list will depend on your career level. Entry-level positions generally require about three references, while more senior positions may require five to seven references from different times in your professional history.
For the most part, prospective employers will give you guidance on how many references they will want you to include on your reference page.
The best references usually include:
- Current or former managers or supervisors.
- Current or former coworkers.
- Current or former employees or direct reports.
- Academic advisors.
- Professional mentors.
Try to choose only those references that can advocate your qualifications as they relate to the job you are applying for as well as those who you know will give you a positive reference.
Create a separate page for your references.
In general, you should list your references on a separate, dedicated “resume references” page to be added as the very last page of your resume. However, if the job ad does not specifically request references, do not include them in your resume.
Also, do not add the phrase “references available on request.” It wastes valuable space on your resume, and if the recruiter wants references, they will ask for them.
Use the same font as on your resume.
You May Like: Acting Resumes With No Experience
Job References Format References For Resume
Formatting your resume references is a relatively simple task. All you need are the names and contact information for at least three to four of your best job references. Below youll find a sample reference list.
To begin putting your references on a resume, youll want to format your page as follows: see free resume reference page below.
Professional References for Susan Smith
I would even suggest putting it in a 12-14 point bold font.
Then very simply list your references using this format and keep them left justified.
Reference NameCompany where they work, their positionCity, StatePhone or Cell Phone number: 216-555-1212
Then proceed to the next reference.