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How To Write Your References On A Resume

How Many References Should You Have

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

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.

List Your Best References At The Top

Not everyone on your references page will be contacted, soit makes sense to arrange your list to prioritize your fans first. Of course, you should make sure that everyone in yourlist can give a positive recommendation but if youre being honest, Im sureyou can pick which one of your references is most likely to give you animpressive recommendation.

How Many Jobs Should Be On A Resume

How Many Jobs Should You List on a Resume? You should list as many jobs on your resume as you can assuming they are all relevant and youre not going beyond the 10-15 year limit. The number of jobs typically varies between 7 and 3. As long as each job or position is relevant, you shouldnt worry about the exact number.

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Done With Mistakes Do This Next

The job search doesnât have to trip you up at every turnbut there are a whole lot of turns to contend with. Prevent unnecessary headaches by starting off on the right foot. Meaning, get your resume in shape. Not only will a strong resume impress hiring managers, itâll also show your potential references what youâve accomplished so far in your career. Need some help making sure youâre giving them something to talk about? Get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monsterâs Resume Writing Service. Youâll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resumeâs appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiterâs first impression. Itâs a quick and easy way to avoid the little mistakes that can have a big impact.

When Is It Ok To Include References On A Resume

Cv Template References

If an employer specifically asks you to include references on a resume, forget everything weve said and do it! But you will rarely if ever find this request, so this issue will not come up very often.

If an employer is seeking references, thats totally understandable, but be sure that the employer wants the references to be listed on your resume. It might be a better idea to include references in a separate attachment that is not actually part of your resume.

Every resume needs to have five components:

  • Header: Your contact info
  • Employmenthistory: Your professional track record
  • Education: Where did you go to school?
  • Skills: What are you actually good at?
  • Thats a lot of information to include in a one-page document, and most experts agree that a resume should be only one page. Two pages are sometimes considered OK, especially if your job history is so stellar that you were both an astronaut and a brain surgeon. But for ordinary mortals, no hiring manager has ever complained that a one-page resume is too short.

    So references will almost always present two problems: 1) Nobody was expecting them, and 2) References will usually make your resume spill over onto a second page.

    Even worse, this second reference page in a resume might be totally blank at the bottom, containing nothing but references, in just a few lines at the top. This is a sure sign that you are a bad resume designer who doesnt know how to trim your text.

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    What Information To Include On Your Reference Sheet

    On your reference sheet, you should list each reference with the following information:

    • Name
    • Phone Number
    • Email Address
    • Reference Description: Write one sentence explaining how you know or have worked with this person, where, when, and for how long.

    Theres no need to include your references home or work addresscompanies arent going to be mailing them anything. And if a reference expresses a strong preference for a certain method of contact, its OK to put next to that line on your reference list.

    To keep things easy for the hiring manager, its also a good idea to include your own name, phone number, and email at the top of the sheet .

    First Decide How Many References To Include In Your Reference List

    While some employers may specify the number of references theyd like to see, others will not. In the latter case, think about where you are in your career. If youre attempting to enter the job market for the first time, three references are enough, but if the role you are applying for is higher up, such as a supervisory or executive role, you can include a larger number of references from different points in your career. Be sure to follow any guidelines the employer gives you during the selection process.

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    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:

    Your name


    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.

    Work Experience: Professional Experience

    Creating an Effective Resume – Compiling your references

    If youve chosen the Reverse Chronological format , then this section is the backbone of your effective resume.

    This is not only the place where you list your most impressive past employment, but you may also elaborate on each position by giving important facts, achievements and figures that describe you as a great professional. Its not necessary to include your entire employment history. Tailor your job mentions so that you impress your future employer with the most relevant work experiences for this specific job ad. This also keeps your resume short, clean and concise.

    If you can name percentages, numbers or specific projects that prove your productivity in past jobs – do so. Did you help save your company money? Did you participate in a company-wide initiative? Did you lead a design team? Maybe you increased the score of user reviews for an online service. Recruiters appreciate specific data.

    Each position should be outlined in the following approximate format:

    • Job title, company name, location of employment
    • Month and year started and left the position
    • Between three and six bullet points briefly outlining your results and role at the company

    Its a great idea to keep a separate file or list with you can consider to be your milestones, achievements, projects and numbers. That way, you always have an arsenal of illustrative facts ready to go. Take a deeper dive and learn more about this important section in our dedicated Work Experience guide.

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    Should I Put References Available Upon Request On My Resume

    In todays age of digital resumes and LinkedIn profiles, a common question that job seekers might ask is whether or not they should put References available upon request on their resumes.

    Is it still necessary? Is there value in adding this phrase?

    To help answer these questions, we asked career experts if you shouldor shouldntinclude it in your resume.

    Valerie Fontaine

    Legal Search Consultant | Founding Member, SeltzerFontaine LLC

    Understand How To Ask For Job References

    Make sure you take permission from the person you want to use as a reference.

    Have a friendly conversation and find out what they would say about your performance and character before listing them.

    Also, let them know beforehand what you are applying for and when they can expect a call or letter.

    Remember that when you provide your former managers contact information, the potential employer assumes youve told him/her to expect the call.

    Its believed that he/she will be available to talk about you.

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    Do I Need To Include References On My Cv

    The answer is both yes and no, depending on the circumstances.

    Sometimes it may be necessary to include references on your CV, for example when requested by the employer, and other times it may be best to leave it out as references may not be required at this early stage in the job selection process.

    How Employers Use References

    How To List Your Resume References [With Formatting Examples]

    References are more commonly called after your interviews have gone well and the employer is in the final stages of deciding whether or not to offer you the job. For many employers, references are used to confirm many of the positive attributes they observed during the interview and to verify details of your work history that you may have shared. For this reason, they arent typically a part of the application or early interview process.

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    Reference Sheet Template And Example

    You can use our template to make sure you have everything you need for all of your references.

    Heres one example of what your reference sheet might look like:

    References for Monica Medina

    Keeping references off your resume is not only the standard now, its also more thoughtful toward the people youve asked to speak on your behalf. By only submitting their names and contact information when asked directly , youll know when a prospective new employer is actually going to contact themand you can give them a heads up, pass on any important information about the job or company youre applying for, and thank them for their help.

    Regina Borsellino is a NYC-based editor at The Muse covering job search and career advice, particularly resume best practices, interviewing, remote work, and personal and professional development. Before joining The Muse, Regina was an editor for InvestorPlace, where she also wrote about topics such as investing and biotech companies. She holds a BA in English language and literature from the University of Maryland and an MFA in creative writing from American University. Find her on and .

    Use References Available Upon Request Sparingly

    References and relevant experience give potential employers an accurate estimate of how well you operate in a real-life setting. If you have them, dont be shy to show them off.

    Also, prospective employers will almost always ask for references, so you can save everyone some time and avoid unnecessary back and forth by indicating the contact info right from the get-go.

    However, if you plan on indicating the references available upon request line on your resume to limit the people contacting your references, I suggest going with a different strategy.

    Yes, you might not have bad intentions. Unfortunately, carelessly using references available upon request comes off negatively to most hiring specialists, plus you cant really explain the reason behind your choice, right?

    A good alternative here is to use emails instead of contact numbers. The former is far less intrusive. This tip best suits individuals who feel uncomfortable about having multiple HR personnel bug their chosen references on background checks and such.

    Dr. Talaya Waller

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    Get Permission Prior To Including A Reference On The List

    If youre currently working, you might want to use your supervisor or a colleague as a reference, but you don’t want them to be contacted prior to letting them know about your job search. If you’re not ready to let your employer know you’re job hunting, consider choosing alternate references for your list.

    Before you write you up your reference list, youll need to figure out who will be your references. Be sure to ask them first.

    Make sure that youve requested permission from everyone you’ve asked to be on your reference list. Not only is this polite, but its also going to help them if theyre called upon to offer a recommendation. Theyll be better prepared to endorse you as a candidate if they know in advance that someone may contact them, as opposed to having to recommend you if they receive an unexpected phone call.

    Select references who are able to speak specifically about your qualifications for the job for which you are applying. Let them know about your job search and what types of jobs you are interested in so they will know which qualities to highlight.

    If you know in advance that your references may be contacted by a specific company, you can share your resume and the job description with them. You may also ask your references to write you a letter of recommendation.

    How To Format My References For A Resume

    How to write a great resume – How to handle references

    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.

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    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 Write References On A Cv

    Important guidelines to follow when writing your CV references:

  • Your references must include the following details about each of your referees: full name, job title, address, telephone number and email address.
  • Ask permission of your referees before you give their details to recruiters. This will also make them aware that they might receive a phone call about you.
  • State the job title of your references. Without it, they could be just your mates or any Tom, Dick and Harry!
  • Do not disclose personal telephone numbers but instead, use your referees work telephone number .
  • Use your most recent employer as a reference, as is common practice. Otherwise, an employer may wonder Why didnt he/she include his/her most recent employer as a reference? What has this person got to hide?
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    How To Write A Resume

    Having a perfectly honed and well-written resume is like having a superpower during your job search.

    While most people walk up the hiring ladder, you put on your crimson cape and soar upwards at supersonic speed. This how to write a resume guide outlines the most important building blocks for creating exactly this type of amazing resume.

    In this making your professional resume guide you can find:

    Rule #: Match Your Resume & Reference Sheet Styles


    Before you begin adding your references, you want to make sure your reference sheet matches the same style and format of your resume.

    This means using the same colors, the same font, and the same general layout. If you scroll back near the top of this post, you can see an example of how I did this with an example resume and reference sheet.

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    Should I Include References If My Resume Is Too Short

    No, a short resume is not a good enough reason to start listing references on a resume. If youre just starting out in the world, like a high school or college student who hasnt even graduated yet, pump up your resume with your academic achievements, summary statement, internships, volunteer work and/or job-related skills. Tell your own story, and dont expect someone else to tell it for you via references on a resume.

    How Many Pages Should A Resume Be

    The short answer is that one page is the ideal resume length for most candidates. However, if you have a lot of relevant work experience, it can be two or even three pages.

    Just note that unless youre applying for an upper-management position or an academic post, one page will be enough for hiring managers. Even Elon Musks resume could be tightened into one page.

    If youre applying for an academic position, youll need to send a CV instead of a resume. Keep in mind that CV templates are often several pages long, and contain more information to show the progression of your academic career.

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