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How To Write References In Your Resume

How To Format My References For A Resume

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

Resume writers, career coaches and job search experts might say that references are no longer necessary on a resume however, they are appropriate on a curriculum vitae, according to Career Services at Virginia Tech. The consensus is that it’s unnecessary to list professional, personal or character references on a resume or, even to include the statement “references available upon request” because so many employers conduct background checks and call references. The rationale is that if you want the job, then naturally, you provide references. That being said, you choose where to list your references, but if you list them on your resume, ensure they’re properly formatted.

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.

Still Having Trouble Writing That Perfect Resume

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The Ideal Number Of References

Now you might be wondering, how many references on a resume?

Because HR or whoever does the background check will have alimited time to conduct background checks for each candidate, its advisablethat you only put three to five strategically chosen people in your list.

Its likely that only three people in your list will becontacted, but its better to include five so the person conducting thebackground check will have other options in case the first three areunreachable or unavailable for whatever reason.

Examples Of Resume References

resume references

Awesome! At this point, you should have a few amazing people in mind to list on your reference sheet.

You know the general rules of formatting, but we want to be absolutely sure that you get this right. Remember, that offer is so close you can taste it! Let’s not screw things up now.

To help you get an idea of what to do , I’m going to share a few examples of bad resume references and good resume references:

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How Many References To Provide On A Cv

In general, you need to provide two references one being your former employer and the other someone who knows you well. The number of references may vary, however, depending on the circumstances of the applicant. For example, its fine for school leavers only to include one referee, and for college students to include two academic staff instead of one academic staff and one employer.

Here Is A Sample Reference List That Shows You Can Download For Free:

You want recent references from people who can not only vouch for your character, but the quality of work that you do. Having another programmer as one of your references is much more powerful than a bread maker. The bread maker is a huge over exaggeration, but I think you see my point.

Make sure you call each one of your job references and personally ask them if its okay if you put them down as a resume reference. And most importantly, make sure you are positive these people will give you a good reference. If you are slightly unsure about someone, then dont use them.

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The Best Job References Format

I have another article with a video on how to format a list of job references which does a really good job of showing you a professional job references format and is very easy to copy and adapt to your own resume reference page.

Your resume reference page can contain past co-workers, managers, even customers. I generally list about four to six different references on my references page using the above resume references format.

Also, I strongly suggest avoiding putting the ubiquitous references available upon request on your resume. If an employer wants them, then theyll ask you. Avoid volunteering references too its just too pushy. If an employer is getting ready to make you an offer then they will ask you for references and if they do, this is also the time to give them any letters of recommendation you may have.

Avoid volunteering letters of recommendation only present them when you are asked for your references.

Try not to wear out your list of references either. Its always a good idea to give them a call every now and then and keep in touch. Let them know how you are doing and that you really appreciate them acting as a resume reference for you.

End of References on Resume Sample Reference List

How To Include References On A Resume

Should You Include References On Your Resume?

This article was co-authored by Adrian Klaphaak, CPCC. Adrian Klaphaak is a career coach and founder of A Path That Fits, a mindfulness-based boutique career and life coaching company in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is also is an accredited Co-Active Professional Coach . Klaphaak has used his training with the Coaches Training Institute, Hakomi Somatic Psychology and Internal Family Systems Therapy to help thousands of people build successful careers and live more purposeful lives. This article has been viewed 3,550,062 times.

Many potential employers ask for a list of references in a job application or at the end of a job interview. Thats why its a good idea to have a list of references handy when youre applying for a new job.

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Can People You Have A Personal Relationship With Be A Reference

It is generally advised against to include references that have a strong personal relationship with you outside of work as this can result in a biased recommendation from the reference.

However, exceptions can be made in certain instances, such as if you worked within a family-owned business or if the reference worked directly with you for a long period of time.

In general, however, try to avoid including references that are too personally related to you.

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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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.

What Are References In A Cv

Resume references

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 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.

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
  • Phone
  • Email
  • A summary of your relationship to this person.

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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.

What Makes For A Great Reference

Creating an Effective Resume – Compiling your references

An ideal reference is someone who can effectively endorse your skills and value as an employee. As a result, references are usually former managers or co-workers, since these colleagues have firsthand knowledge of how well you perform on the job. A past client or customer can also serve as a good reference, says Kim Costa, a professional resume writer and job-search coach based in Richmond, Virginia.

Moreover, Costa says job seekers should avoid using personal references, like a relative or friend. Your best bet is to keep your references as professional as possible she says. The exception would be if a family member or friend was your direct supervisor and could comment specifically on your work performance.

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What To Include On A Reference List

When you provide a list of professional references to an employer, you should include:

  • Your name at the top of the page.
  • List your references, including their name, job title, company, and contact information, with a space in between each reference.
  • Include at least three professional references who can attest to your ability to perform the job you are applying for.
  • If it’s not clear from your resume, you may also wish to include information about your relationship with the reference.

For instance, you could write, “Reference Name was my supervisor while I was an accountant at Smith Enterprises,” or “Reference Name is my current employer.”

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:

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How To Ask A Referee For A Reference

You dont want to use a reference without asking the persons permission first, particularly if a significant period of time has passed since you two last spoke.

Touching base with references before you provide their contact information to a prospective employer has several benefits. For starters, you can bring the person up to speed on where you are in your career and your job search if youre in the process of changing professions, give a brief explanation behind your career move. You can also refresh the persons memory of your past accomplishments, such as successful projects that you worked on together.

In addition, its beneficial to provide references with background information on the company and the type of job that youre applying for. This is crucial if youre doing a global job search, since some of the companies or organizations you may be applying to will be extremely unfamiliar to people in your home country, says Anna Sparks, a global career consultant.

For a global job search, you may need to get your reference to write a letter of recommendation. Your references may not speak the foreign language, says Sparks, in which case you would then translate the letter and attach it to your job applications.


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