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Where To Put References On Your Resume

How Do I Ask For A Reference

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

You need to ask someone to be your reference do not assume you have their permission. Not only is it polite to ask if they will be your referee, but it will also give you some indication of what they may say. Plus, they will be divulging personal information about you , so the whole process needs to be as transparent as possible.

How you ask the person will all depend on your relationship with them. If you’re in regular contact, asking them face to face or on the phone is best. You can openly discuss your job hunt and the roles you’re looking for so they know what to expect. Plus, this is the opportunity for you to thank them in advance.

If you haven’t spoken to your potential referee in a while, a polite email or message may be the best way to get a conversation going.

If the person agrees to be your referee, you need to obtain their first and last name, job title, company name, and contact information including phone number and email. It’s also best to double-check with your referee how they would prefer to be contacted.

What Should A Resume Reference Page Look Like

A reference page for a resume should be an A4 page with the name and contact information of the candidate at the top, with a clear heading or title. To maintain a consistent structure it would be more professional to use the same style and layout as used on the resume for the name and basic details.

When it comes to listing references to present to a potential employer, you must ensure to order your list by descending significance. That means placing the most impressive reference at the top.

For the reference information, make sure you use all of the following:

  • Full name with corresponding title where appropriate
  • Job title or position
  • Name of company or organization
  • Contact phone number
  • Contact email address
  • Relation to you.

It is no longer necessary to include a physical contact address as references will no longer be contacted through traditional mail and it is inappropriate to share this personal information. We do recommend including a city or town name, simply to locate the business or association.

You can take a look at ResumeCoachs helpful guides to how to write a resume objective, work experience or other resume sections.

Also, you can find practical advice and examples on how to write a cover letter or an introduction to different resume templates for all types of jobseekers.

How Many References On A Resume

The ideal number of references on a resume is three to five.

There are certain companies that may specifically request for a certain number of references or whether you should include a list of reference in resume. Ideally, three to five individuals should be chosen to be your reference. Choose individuals who can provide a positive endorsement and ensure that they will vouch for your skills and achivements. It shouldnt come across like you have too less or too many people who will provide a positive feedback.

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When To Put References On A Resume

So, if it is typically not expected to have references included on an initial resume, when is the best time to include references on a resume?

Creating a reference section or page can be necessary depending on a number of situations, including:

  • If the employer has specifically requested for references to be included in the job description
  • If you have progressed further down the hiring process and have been asked to provide references before or after an interview
  • If you are applying to governmental or institutional position, such as a federal job, that will require strong references and a background check

Quick Tip: If you have impressive references, such as a company CEO or another recognizable figure, be sure to make these the most noticeable references and the first ones you list in your reference section.

Overall, the golden rule is to wait to provide references until they are requested.

Job References Format References For Resume

How To List Your Resume References [With Formatting Examples]

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.

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Examples Of References On Resumes

Letâs take a look at a few examples of references on resumes to learn more about common mistakes made when crafting a reference and how to correct them.

It is highly important to include the necessary information to contact a reference â just a name and company is not enough. You should always include at least an official business number and an official business email in your references.


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.

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What Do References Mean On A Resume

References make your resume complete and credible. Employers can use references to verify a candidate’s credentials. References should serve as positive recommendations from people who understand your career performance. Excellent references can boost the odds of a prospective employer hiring you for a particular job.

The best references will give a prospective employer insights into a candidate’s potential and overall job performance. Credible references reflect well on a prospective employee. Hence, every job seeker should include credible references in their resumes to increase their chances of getting recruited.

How To Ask For A Resume Reference

Should You Include References On Your Resume?

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

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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.

Use A References Upon Request Statement

Unless specifically asked in the job application or listed as a requirement, do not add references in the resume or job application. Simply stating that references can be furnished upon request should be enough. If needed, the interviewer might convey it during the interaction. The biggest reason is that it is best to provide the most relevant reference someone who can testify to the presence of the most required hard or soft skill in you. This might require you to change the reference as per the application. Furthermore, if you permanently add a reference from your last job or college on your resume, with time, their significance may reduce. It might be best to select the reference as per the job. Finally, dont forget to ask permission before quoting someone as your reference.

Joe Flanagan, VelvetJobs

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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.

Image description

  • Reference description

  • Should I Put References On A Resume

    resume references

    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.

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    What Do References Do On A Resume

    The references section on your resume contains a list of people who can vouch for you and provide your future employer with more information about your abilities.

    These can include your teachers, advisors, coaches, colleagues, employers or your direct supervisors. They know how you used your skills in the past, can confirm any qualifications that you stated on your resume or vouch for your character.

    References help your future employer find out how you performed in your previous jobs or throughout your academic career. They can get an idea about your professional attitude and competency before hiring you.

    Employers usually only contact your references once they get to the last stage of the hiring process. Or sometimes, in case youre a freelancer, they may ask you to provide references in advance.

    Boost Your Linkedin Profile With References

    Networking sites like have become a hot spot for employers. They often search for LinkedIn profiles that suit their needs.

    This is relatively new, but the trend points towards an optimized chance of getting employed if your profile is filled with references.

    Besides that, if you have a public recommendation in your LinkedIn profile given by your former boss or the former HR Director of your company, they will probably keep their opinion not to contradict themselves or simply because they liked your job performance.

    While looking for references on LinkedIn, it is necessary to know how to get recommendations on the website and who you can ask for references. Sufficient research on how to manage the received recommendations is also required.

    The old-school ways of getting references still retain the same importance. But the professional networking sites are gaining prominence as more and more employers are looking towards them to scout for employees.

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    Should I Have Personal Or Professional References On My Resume

    A professional reference attests to your professionalism and past achievements. As a rule of thumb, most hiring managers would prefer to receive a set of professional references or letters of recommendation since an attestation from a professional contact provides more insight into the applicants core competencies and workplace behaviors. This is why it is generally better to use professional references on your resume.

    However, you may use personal references if you dont have enough work experience or want a reference to validate your character and work ethic. Personal references are perfectly acceptable for students, entry-level workers, volunteers, or professionals in the service industry.

    How To Format A Resume References Section

    Should You Put Your References In Your Resume?

    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.

  • Start off at the very top with your name, address, and phone number. You should place this information on that side of the page that fits the look of your cover letter and resume. .
  • Next, write the date. Then start with your employer’s information in this specific order: name, job position, company name, and company address.
  • Finally, follow up with a preferred title/subtitle: name the section References or Professional References.
  • 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?

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    Alternative Ideas For Utilising References

    If youve gathered some great references, you will want to show them off. But if youre not including them on your CV, what is the best way to get them seen by recruiters? Here are a couple of suggestions:

    1. Reference list – Create a reference list in a separate, professional document. This way, once you are asked by a potential employer for references, you can send them across quickly in a clear, easy to understand document. Dont forget to ask permission of anyone you plan to include first.

    2. Use LinkedIn – Dont forget to ensure your LinkedIn profile is as up-to-date as possible and ask for endorsements and recommendations. As the world’s largest professional network, you can guarantee that a hiring manager will review your profile, so while not adding references on your CV at the application stage may be the correct etiquette to follow, having an active LinkedIn profile full of testimonials is the most up-to-date way to showcase your work experience.

    Proceed with caution if you do decide to use references available upon request. Ultimately, you want to make every word in your CV count and ensure you have relevant and up-to-date references available when required.

    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

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    Whether You List Them Or Tell Them Later They Should Be Specific To That Job Opportunity

    I think that putting referrals upon request shouldnt deter you from a job offer because, typically, employers are supposed to tell you before they start reaching out to people.

    This might be useful for people because sometimes certain referrals might be busy or going through personal issues of their own and may not have the time to make recommendations.

    Also, you want to tailor your referrals by the position, industry, and/or company. So whether you list them or tell them later, they should be specific to that job opportunity.

    Maciek Kubiak

    Head of People,


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