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How To Write Up References For Resume

How To Make A Separate Resume References List

How to Write a Resume (Part 5): References

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.

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.

Here’s A Sample Job Reference Page Template

The example below shows our imaginary job seeker’s reference page formatted to match with her resume.

Notice the job seeker’s name and contact information on the reference sheet matches the resume exactly.

All of that text was simply copied from the resume and pasted into a new blank word processing file to create the heading for the reference page.

Also, the heading “References” is bold and in all capitals to match the resume headings, and the fonts are the same style and size on both documents .

I have centered the rest of the information on the page. This is a personal, stylistic choice. I feel the references’ names and contact information look more balanced when they are centered on the page, but if you prefer the look of left justifying your information, that is fine, too.

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Last Decide How And When To Submit Your List Of References

As a rule, do not send your reference list with your application unless it is requested on the job posting or the hiring manager requests references along with your resume. Typically, you can wait until the hiring manager requests the list. Knowing that they will ask for your references allows you to feel free to remove references available upon request from your resume.

When Do You Need References

References on a Resume?

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.

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Determine How Many References To Include

The number of references you list depends on your career level. For example, if youre entering the job market for the first time, you may only need to list three references. However, if youre applying for a more senior role, you will want to consider a longer reference list with contacts from different points in your professional history. Often, employers will provide instruction on how many references theyd like to hear fromin this case, follow any guidance youre given during the hiring process.

Keep in mind that the recruiter may not contact all references on your list. In some cases, they may only call one or two. But having a selection of different types of references ensures they have plenty to choose from if one of your references is unavailable.

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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How To Ask For A Resume Reference

Got a shortlist of candidates? Now, its time to let those people know you are using them as your references. Never list someone without a heads-up!

Here are a few quick tips for requesting a reference:

  • Use a bit of flattery, but dont fawn.
  • Explain why youve chosen them.
  • See if they have preferred contact information
  • Ask for one or two references more than you need if someone else doesnt respond.

Heres a brief sample request:

Hi Dr. Johnson,

I hope things are going well for you, and that Westside Medical Clinic is as successful as ever. I am writing to you because I am in consideration for the position of head nurse at Regional hospital. Would it be okay if I used you as a reference?

They are seeking someone with both clinical and supervisory experience for this position, and who can understand the needs of low-income patients. Because we worked together managing the City Free Clinic, I thought you could speak to my abilities in these areas.

If you would be willing to be contacted by my potential employer, please let me know your preferred contact information.


Rhonda Black

Choose Your References And Contact Them For Approval

Tips for Writing and Updating Your References

The references that you include on your list should be individuals who know you well and will provide positive commentary on your abilities and character.

While the list should ideally focus on professional references from your current or previous places of employment, you can also include former professors or even personal acquaintances. These last two options might be most helpful to students, first-time jobseekers, or those who have been out of the workforce for some time.

Some of the people you might consider reaching out for references include:

  • Former or current supervisors

  • Former or current professors

  • Non-family personal acquaintances that can vouch for your character and abilities

Once you have identified those contacts who will provide the best references, you should reach out to them and ask them if they would be willing to be a possible reference for you. Typically, it is more advisable to ask your contact to be your reference either in person or through a formal email rather than via text message.

If your contact agrees to be your reference, then you should make sure to check what their preferred mode of contact is , the times they are generally free to speak, and what their up-to-date contact information is.

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Before You Submit Your References

Listing your references on the page isn’t your last step in this process. If you haven’t already, ask permission from each of your references. It’s important only to submit the names of people who have agreed to serve as a reference.

Even if all of your references are happy to be on your list, it’s a good idea to provide a heads-up that someone may be reaching out to them to ask about you. This is a great opportunity to share some information about the job you’re applying for, provide some key points from your resume that you’d like them to emphasize, and generally remind them about your skills and accomplishments, especially if it’s been a while since you worked together.

Once you’ve done all that, review the list of references one last time to make sure there are no typos and that all contact information is correct and up to date. Here are some helpful proofreading tips for job seekers.

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.

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Then Ask Your Professional Contacts To Be Your References

As mentioned above, it is important to ask your contacts if they are willing to provide a reference before you submit their names. This is a common courtesy, as many people prefer to keep their contact information as confidential as possible. You also want to make sure theyre comfortable providing a reference for you. Checking with your references also allows time for them to expect a call from the employer and prepare what they want to say about you with examples and specific praises.

How Many References Should You Have

Resume Examples References

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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Ask A Contact Before Including Them As A Reference

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.

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.

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How To Include References On A 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 3,553,822 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.

How To Format Your Resume Reference Page

Resume Writing: 4 Tips on How to Write a Standout Resume | Indeed Career Tips

The best and easiest way to set up your job reference sheet is to simply match it to the structure of your resume.

What does that mean in practical terms?

  • Use the same font you used on your resume.
  • Be consistent with headlines. Keep them the same size and style as the headlines on your resume.
  • Most Important – Ensure the header at the top of the page matches with the header on your resume.
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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.

    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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    What To Include On Your Resume Reference Page

    Now you know how to set up your job reference sheet. But what information should be included on that page?

    For each job reference, you should include the person’s:

    • name

    Additional information you can include on your reference page:

    • how you know the person
    • how long you have known the person

    Including a brief description of the nature of your relationship with the reference can be helpful. For example, you could note someone was your supervisor at ABC Company, or the office manager at XYZ Company.

    Adding this information is particularly helpful if the nature of your relationship is not obvious.

    For example:

    One of your references might be someone who was your direct supervisor at ABC Company for 8 years. You still work at ABC Company, but your reference has recently changed jobs and is now a manger at XYZ Company, where you have never worked.

    If your job reference sheet indicates this person is a manager at XYZ Company, it won’t be clear that person worked with you at ABC Company. If you add a line to that person’s entry on your reference sheet to indicate they were your supervisor at ABC Company for 8 years, it will help clarify that relationship.

    How To Write A Reference Request Email

    Personal Letter Of Reference Template Elegant Example Of ...

    Follow these steps for a great reference request email:

    • Give advanced notice. You cant expect busy professionals to be ready to speak on your behalf at a moments notice. Ask someone to be your reference at least a week before they could potentially be contacted by the hiring manager.

    • Use a professional email format. Make sure your subject line is direct , your contact details are clear, and youve formatted your email using the standard business letter layout.

    • Introduce the situation. After a brief how have you been type catch-up, get straight to the point of your email. Let them know the position youre applying for and ask permission to list them as a reference.

    • Tell them why you chose them. You can play to peoples vanity a bit with compliments or simply let them know theyre a great person to speak to your specfic skills in XYZ whatever the reason, share it so they understand your reasoning.

    • Give them information. You can wait until theyve agreed to get to this part or include it in your initial email. You can give them your resume, cover letter, the job description, and anything else you feel will make their job easier.

    • Thank them. Finally, thank your reference for taking the time to consider your request.

    Then again, theres one more thing you can do.

    Make a new resume and get more interviews.

    Plus, a great resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our resume builder here. Heres what it may look like:

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    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

    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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