How to List References on a Resume

One of the last steps in the hiring process is checking references. Candidates often wonder when and where they should include references. Another question asked is, who should I include as my professional references?

Below we'll address these questions and also discuss how many references you should provide for a potential employer.

Who do you list as professional references?

The best references are former or current managers who you had a great report with. If you don't have a manager who you feel comfortable using, consider other colleagues. Each company might request a different number of references.

You should prepare at least three people to be your references. It's a good idea to have a list of references ready when you start your job search.

Select people who you worked closely with during your career. Find people who can vouch for your experience in a positive way.

Pick someone who knows you have a great work ethic. You can let them know the main qualifications for the position and ask them to focus on those skills.

Let the person know what you would like them to say based on what you have shared in your interviews. Some references will ask you to write down what they can say. It's great to provide them an example of something you did in the past that will help get your point across.

Keep in mind, you won't be on the call or the email, so the final word will be up to your references. The best way to ensure you get a glowing reference is to pick a person you trust.

What information will you need from each reference?

Before applying or interviewing for a new job, collect your references' contact information. You will want their phone number and email address.

Always provide each reference's full name and job title. If you are providing a reference for an old co-worker, provide their current job title and their information from when you were colleagues.

Contacting your resume references

Make sure you speak to anyone you are considering using as a reference before you include them on your list of references. Your former colleagues do not want to be caught off guard. Take the time to reach out to people on our reference list and ask them if are they are comfortable being a reference.

You'll want to let them know a few details about the role you are applying for too. Share with them the company, job title, hiring manager, and human resources representative.

If you know a different member of the team will be checking your references, share that information also. The more details you provide to your references, the better reference they will be able to give you.

When do you provide your list of references?

Every company handles resume references differently. It's not necessary to include them when you apply for a job unless the job application specifically asks for them. Usually, they are requested at the end of the job hiring process, before an offer is given.

If you're sending out resumes, you can include language about your professional references at the bottom.

Here are some examples of what you can include on your resume.

  • References available upon request
  • Will provide references upon request
  • Reference sheet attached

It's not necessary to include references on your resume. If you want to send references with a resume though, include a reference page. If you put references directly on your resume, it can take away from the context of your professional background.

It's best to keep them separate. If you are attaching references, you can note that in your cover letter.

Interviews that go well with hiring managers are usually a sign that a reference check could be next. After you meet with a hiring manager, reach out to your references to give them a heads-up. Some employers will ask for both professional and personal references.

A personal reference is someone who can speak to your character and personality. Not all companies ask for both, but it's good to have a couple of candidates in mind for a personal reference.

The hiring manager might ask you to gather your references at the end of your interview. This is a great sign that it went well! You'll want to put your reference list together as soon as possible.

As a reminder, always include the phone number, job title, and email address of all of your references. The company will likely tell you how many references they want.

How to list references on a resume

As we have discussed, you don't want to list your references on a resume. Rather, have it as an attachment or separate reference list.

You can also just include a line at the bottom of your resume that states, references available upon request. This shows the hiring managers that you are prepared to provide your reference list at any time throughout the job process.

Make sure your reference list is clean and easy to read. Select a format that looks neat and professional.

At the top of the sheet, include your contact information. Then, list our your references.

Even if it's not needed, include their company address, city, and state. The more information you give, the better. Leave space between each of your contacts. Most importantly, all of your references on a resume should include their email address, phone number and job title.

Providing resume references will put you one step closer to landing a new job. Always say thanks to your references and ask permission to use them again in the future. Including professional references is going to be a part of every job search, so make sure you are prepared to provide them.

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Dave Fano

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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