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Resume reference person
August 31, 2018 1st Anniversary Wishes 2 comments

Never put your references on a resume. However It can be any esteemed person from your personal life: past teachers, non-profit leaders, instructors, etc.

Human Resources may want to validate the information in your resume. To do this, they may request for references. The list of references includes the names of people HR may contact to verify your skills and accomplishments. They may contact only one person or everyone on the list. Therefore, it is important that the people you cite as references can guarantee your qualifications.

Should You Put References On Your Resume?

If the job post specifically asks for references, then add a separate page for the list. Otherwise, there is no need to include references in your resume.

HR officers do not spend a lot of time on a resume. They will only scan for information that is required for the job. Keep in mind that the purpose of the resume is to get you to the interview stage. Hence, the space on your resume should be reserved for work experience, additional skills, and certifications.

The list of references is usually requested toward the end of the hiring process. For the reason that, at this point, there would be fewer candidates to qualify. Furthermore, it is part of HR’s job to verify all the information you shared in the resume and the interview.

Another reason why it is not a good idea to put references in your resume is that you may be identified as an older candidate. This is because adding references was a standard feature in resumes 30 years ago. In contrast, including references is no longer practiced by many companies today.

Finally, adding references poses a risk for the applicant. Even if they agree to be referenced, there remains a possibility they won’t vouch for your credentials. Second, what if your references have a poor reputation in the industry? Third, if you are currently employed, you obviously cannot include a reference from your present employer. This will make your list of references weaker.

Companies may have specific instructions on how to present your references. Unless otherwise stated in the job post, put your references on a separate sheet.

How To List References On A Resume

When you have completed your resume, put your list of references in a sheet called “Professional References Page”.

What information should be included in your Professional References Page?

  • Name
  • Designation
  • Name of Company
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Relation to Reference

It is better to leave out the addresses of your references for two reasons. First, hiring managers will not reach out to your references via regular mail. Second, your references may not want to openly share personal information.

For “Relation to Reference”, include a short summary about your association with the reference. If he/she was your manager or supervisor, indicate your position in the company. You should also state how long you have known the reference.

Here is an example of how an entry in the Professional References Page would look like:

  • Name – Robert P. Smith
  • Designation – Sales Department Manager
  • Name of Company – ABC Retailers Incorporated
  • Phone Number – (705) 998 6632
  • Email Address – [email protected]
  • Relation to Reference – Sales Agent; Robert was my immediate sales supervisor from 2015 to 2017.

How many references should you present on your list?

Once HR has narrowed down its list of candidates, they would want to move on to the final stage of the process which is to hire the employee. HR will not spend time contacting every name on your list of references. Therefore unless it is otherwise stated in the job post, limit your number of references to 2 to 3 people.

The number of names is not as important as the quality of the references. You have to be sure that the people selected as references will contribute to your job search.

How To Choose The Best Professional References

You can’t include every person who is willing to put in a good word for your job application. The most important criterion for selecting references is relevance. The people you include in the list should be relevant to the job you are applying for.

For example, if you are applying for the position of Software Engineer, a reference who works as an Events Coordinator will not be relevant for the job. However, a reference who works as the Chief Internet Security Officer of Microsoft would be an excellent choice. Therefore you have to target the best references for your list.

Here are 3 tips on how to choose the best references:

  1. Former Managers/ Supervisors – Former managers and supervisors from work are always good choices as references. They know what it’s like working with you. Managers can vouch for your skills and abilities. Supervisors can validate your accomplishments. Prioritize managers and supervisors from your most recent employer.
  2. Professionals in the Industry – Professionals are people who have been in the industry for a long time. They could be licensed and have built a good reputation.If you’re part of an organization, you would know a good number of professionals in your industry. Include professionals whom you have collaborated and have a good relationship with.
  3. Former Associates or Clients – You may have maintained contact with former associates or clients from work.Associates may be suppliers or contractors who were hired by your previous employer. Clients could be those of your employer or ones you handled on your own time.

    Associates can vouch for what it’s like working with you. Clients can give testimony on your skill level.

Should you include family members in your reference list even if they are relevant to the job?

Hiring managers may not put much weight on family members as references because it could be seen as self-serving. It is expected that they will give you a glowing recommendation. Hence, it would be better to choose references who are not related to you.

How To Request For A Reference

Before writing down a name on your list, make sure he/she has agreed to become a reference. Give details on the person who might call them:

  • Name of Company
  • Name of Person or Designation
  • The position you applied for

Lastly, give them an idea of when to expect the call. The usual practice in recruitment is to contact references the same week as the job interview.

Listing a person as a reference without permission could be detrimental to your job application. First of all, it shows lack of courtesy to the person. Second, he/she will not be prepared and may give a response that is not well thought-out.

How do you ask someone to become a reference?

  1. Call – If you know the person quite well, it will be fine to ask permission over the phone. Invite them for coffee if they are not busy to make it more personal.If it’s been over six months since you last talked, remind them of who you are and what you worked on together. Then give a short rundown of what you are currently doing.

    A personal phone call is ideal for references from work like managers, supervisors or associates. Once you have received their permission to use their names as references, confirm the arrangement via email.

  2. Email – Email is also an acceptable way to get permission. It is less intrusive and less immediate. Don’t just send an email that says, “I will use you as a reference in my job application.” Give the person more details.Always start out your email with good tidings. Let them know what you have been doing, why you are applying for the job and what you are asking them to do.

    Lastly, don’t be presumptuous. They may not agree on becoming a reference for reasons all their own.

Above all, whether your request is accepted or declined, always thank the person for his/her time.


References can boost your job application in a big way. Great feedback will help validate your skills, abilities and the achievements stated in your resume. Likewise, for the company, they can be assured of hiring the best person for the job.

Think of your list of references as your ace in the hole. If you show all your cards, there is nothing left to swing the game to your advantage.

Keep them face down until the proper opportunity presents itself. This opportunity will arise after the job interview. Therefore, it would be best not to include your references in your resume.

Do not even write “references available upon request”. Your resume is a valuable real estate. It should only contain information that will help you get the job.

Keep your references in a separate list. Submit it only upon request of HR.

Furthermore, choose your references wisely. You only have three names to put on your list. Make those names count. They should be relevant to the position you are applying for and qualified to vouch for your skills and experience.

Lastly, always ask permission before putting a name on your reference list. It is not a good idea to assume a person will agree just because you know him/her. As a sign of professional courtesy, get their approval first. Once they have agreed to become a reference, give them the necessary information about the call.

Last Updated on by Felix Tarcomnicu

The achievement statements give the employer a sense of your relationship to the reference person he or she is calling and how you were valued in your.

Should You Include References In Your Resume?

resume reference person


Should you include references on your resume? The short answer is no! Most resume and career experts agree that putting references on a resume is not a good idea and can even have a negative effect on your application.

One of the most basic rules of resume writing is the length: 1 A4 page for nearly all jobseekers; the exception is 2 pages for candidates with lots of relevant experience or specialist positions including a portfolio etc. Because of this rule, it is highly recommended to preserve the little space available for more pertinent information that can help a potential employer learn about you and your strengths by including an optional skills, honors and awards or voluntary work section.

Some online resume builders will allow you to include a list of references at the bottom of your resume but it is not recommended and usually will not be found as standard on many resume templates. The space on a resume is known as real estate to many career experts who advise using this valuable resume space for details which can contribute to your application.

What are references?

References are a method for employers to find out how a candidate applying for a vacancy in their business has performed in previous positions or throughout their academic career.

When a hiring manager requests a reference, they wish to establish an idea of how the candidate has used their skills, confirm any qualifications and ask questions about the conduct and general character of the aspiring employee.

It is a useful way for prospective employers to substantiate claims made by the candidate and get a feeling for their professional attitude and competency.

Generally, references are not one of the first aspects of a job application to be required. A good way to start is by reading our guide to how to write a resume or by trying an online resume builder which shows you how your resume will look as you complete the information.

Resume references: When to include or exclude

For the majority of job applications you will not need to include any references with your resume.

If you decide to do so and they have not been requested this could be detrimental to your application, simply because you are prioritizing references over other relevant skills or qualifications which could be included in this space and add value to your resume.

The most likely scenario for your jobsearch will be that the employer requests references from you after a preliminary interview or in any case near the end of the application process.

This is because hiring managers will only want to contact references of those few applicants who are shortlisted after the interview stage in order to save time and effort. It is time-consuming for employers to call or send messages to your referees and if they plan on doing so for various candidates, it can become counterproductive and inefficient due to the time spent.

The only time it is acceptable to include references with the resume in a job application is when they are requested directly in the job vacancy description. When this is the case, we recommend only including them on a separate piece of paper as a reference page. (Check out below for how to write a references page for your resume.)

TOP TIP: For those job applications that do not specifically request professional references from the jobseeker, it is not advisable to include them but it is always wise to be prepared!

Another possibility is to include testimonials from past clients directly on your resume or if possible on a separate page, but it is important to name your source, which means giving the referees’ information as a normal reference, explaining the relationship of the person cited to the candidate and where he or she works, including their position and a way to contact them via email or phone so the employer can verify the statements.

If professional references are not requested, the most acceptable form of ensuring that the prospective employer knows their availability is by including a line in your accompanying cover letter to indicate that they can be provided upon request. This way the hiring manager will contact you to get the corresponding information if you are successful in your application.

For other resume resources, you could use an online resume builder to help you create a winning resume from the very beginning.

Who do you list as a reference?

Each candidate will need to consider their personal experience and at what stage they find themselves in their career to decide who to use as a reference.

Who to ask for a reference depends on these aspects because there will be a variety of possibilities for different jobseekers.

  • For example, jobseekers with a student resume may not have much professional experience in the working world but still have a selection of possible individuals to ask for references such as guidance counselors, tutors, advisors, coaches and of course teachers or professors from their academic career.
  • Whereas entry-level resume candidates may have some professional experience and wish to use former colleagues or managers. Another possibility is a project, master or doctorate supervisor from their most recent studies who will know the candidate’s dedication and interests well.
  • For professional resume applicants this step of the job application may be easier as their network of contacts will be more accustomed to giving and requesting references and will therefore know what is useful to mention as well as how the candidate in question behaves in a workplace environment.

It is highly unconventional and discouraged to use family members or friends as references. This is simply because they will not be objective in giving their opinions and generally do not know the candidate’s working practices or abilities.

  • Another option for those who do not have many professional contacts to rely on for references, is to ask a well-respected member of the community who will be able to give a character reference.
  • Also, perhaps you can think of someone with whom you’ve worked, studied or volunteered who would speak highly of you and highlight your relevant abilities to the hiring manager.

For you personally it is important that you consider which references are most suitable to use for the position and company you’re applying to.

Before making a resume reference page or sending the contact details of anyone to a potential employer, it is imperative to ask permission from all of the references you would like to use.

When you first think of somebody to use as a reference for a job application, you must ask their permission not only to use and give out their contact information but directly if they would be able to provide a reference as some people may prefer not to. Additionally, this person will then be able to give a prepared answer when they are contacted regarding your reference.

Finally, remember to give thanks to everyone who you include as a reference on your resume even if they are not contacted in the end. A little appreciation can go a long way.

Resume Reference Page

No matter your sector or career ambitions, it is always useful to know how to write a professional reference list just in case you are required to supply a resume reference page.

Writing a reference page for your resume is not a complicated task, it is straight-forward and can usually be done from scratch with no problem, but for those who require it, there are resume reference page templates and examples of reference pages to help guide you to create one which suits your application.

  • It is customary for employers to contact 2-3 different references for each applicant thus it is not advisable to include more than 4 references. This means you could ensure to include a reference from different positions or who can vouch for different skills you claim to be able to bring to the role.
  • A resume reference page is generally a sheet of A4 paper which can be sent upon request including the details of 3-4 contacts of the candidate who have agreed to supply a reference attesting to the character and professional conduct of the jobseeker in order to give the potential employer a better idea of how this person will perform in their company.
  • References can also be cited here in the form of statements made about the candidate or you can send a letter of recommendation from a previous employer as an attachment.
  • Finally, just as you would with each aspect of your resume and professional cover letter, your resume reference page should also be tailored to suit the role and company you’re applying to.

Remember that it is now very easy for companies to check your background and investigate you simply by typing your name into a search engine.

With all the various marvels that the internet offers us and the dozens of social media pages we sign up to, hiring managers can find out lots about us at the click of a button so remember to keep these channels professional and creative to serve as references too.

Each contact in your professional network knows you a certain way and will be able to provide an account of your achievements and strengths for different jobs thus it is essential to customize the reference page according to the skills and qualities you will need for each vacancy.

Formatting your professional reference list

Learning how to structure a reference page for your job application is just as vital as other sections of your resume or cover letter because if you present a sloppy, badly-formatted reference page to a prospective employer they will not be interested in seeing more of your work.

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.

Or take a look at ResumeCoach’s 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.

payment confirmation email template
Invitation for celebration of achievement
supporting letter for job application sample
Professional collection letter template
writing a nomination speech
I came to love you
sample personal loan collection letter
Example of a announcement

References for a Resume – Sample Reference List

resume reference person

Should I Include References on my Resume?

No. Nope. Never! References do not belong on a resume, period. The space on your resume is valuable real estate, so don’t waste it by adding information that 99.9% of employers don’t require up front. Instead, you should use this space for an additional resume skills section, a resume introduction, or more accomplishments for resume bullet points. Including these details will be much more enticing to employers than a list of names and phone numbers.

References do not belong on a resume, period.

In most cases, references aren’t requested until after the final in-person interview or near the end of the hiring process. HR departments don’t have time to contact every candidate’s list of references; it’s much more efficient for them to wait until they have narrowed down the candidate pool to 2–3 final applicants. So, if you reach this point in the hiring process and the manager asks you to provide a list of references, then what’s the best way to present them?

How To List References

Before you begin your job hunt, gather your references onto a “Professional Reference Page. Include each reference’s name, title, organization, phone number, and email address.

List your references starting with your most impressive or important reference.

Although some people suggest that you provide the addresses of your references, we recommend that you leave them off for two reasons. First, hiring managers won’t be contacting your reference via snail mail. Second, your references most likely don’t want you to share all of their personal information. Don’t forget to clarify your relationship with each reference and how long you have known them.

Creating a reference page is actually simple, but if you want to save time, then download our free reference list template:

Click Here to Download Our Reference Page Template

Want more free resources to aid your job search? Check out our downloadable resume samples and cover letter examples.

How to Choose your Professional References

Your Options

The best references are managers or former colleagues because they have first-hand knowledge of your skills and abilities in a work environment. However, for a student or recent graduate, finding a set of professional references can be difficult. So, for those who lack work experience, teachers, professors, coaches, advisers, and guidance counselors are all suitable alternatives to a professional reference.

Teachers, professors, coaches, advisers, and guidance counselors are all suitable references for those who lack work experience.

Neither friends nor family members are great options and should only be used as a last resort. Family and friends do not hold much weight for employers since they are likely to only say positive things and aren’t aware of your abilities in a work environment.

Ask Permission

It’s never too early to begin compiling a list of reference options. The more choices you have, the easier it will be to provide references to potential employers. However, before you can add anyone to your reference page, you must first ask their permission. Not only is it polite to do so, but it also allows them to prepare their response.

Don’t forget to give your references a heads-up before you start applying for jobs.

Listing someone as your reference without asking permission could be detrimental to your job hunt. An unprepared reference will lack a well-thought-out response and could end up making you look bad in front of a potential employer.

Target Your References

Unfortunately, you can’t add every person who you know is willing to put in a good word for you. HR departments aren’t going to call dozens of your acquaintances. Many employers will limit you to only three references, so you have to choose wisely.

There are a few details you should consider when choosing who to include:

  • Which of my references are most relevant to the job I am applying for?
  • Do I have references that work in the industry I am applying to?
  • Which person would best highlight my skills that are applicable to the specific position?
  • Who is not suited to giving me a reference for this particular job?

Asking yourself questions like these will ensure that you narrow down your list to a few highly targeted references.

Offering an employer a tailored list of recommendations will maximize your chances of being hired over the other final candidates.

Finally, after you get the job remember to thank your references. They helped you convince the employer that you were the right candidate for the position. The least they deserve is a nice thank-you note.

Written by Mark Slack, CPRW

Mark Slack is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) with over 6 years of experience sculpting interview-landing resumes and cover letters for clients from all walks of life. He has a bachelor’s degree in English... more

When in doubt, do NOT add a list of references on your resume. references aren't requested until after the final in-person interview or near.

References on the resume

resume reference person

You’re down to the last line on your resume and just typing in the words makes your stomach flutter: “References available upon request.” You know you’re going to need them, but who are you going to get? Do you really have to ask them first? Maybe you can just throw some potential names on a list for now and deal with it later…

According to a Harris Interactive study conducted for CareerBuilder back in 2012, you’d be better off to go ahead and do your due diligence right now and make sure you have some folks lined up who will speak well of you should they be contacted by a potential employer. Here’s why—

  • In their study, 80% of the 2,494 hiring managers and human resource professionals surveyed said they do contact references when evaluating a job candidate; 16% contact references before they even set up an interview.
  • 62% said that when they contacted a reference listed on an application, the reference didn’t have good things to say about the job candidate.
  • 69% said they have changed their minds about hiring a job candidate based on the input received from a reference.
  • 47% said they had a less favorable opinion of the job candidate after speaking to a reference; just 23% reported having a more favorable opinion.
  • Only 31% said references didn’t sway their opinion of job candidates one way or the other.
  • 29% reported catching a fake reference on a candidate’s application.

The take home message is to make sure the references you choose are people who will truly help you along in your search for a job. Consider these some tips—

  • Ask your references for permission to use them as references before you put them on your list. Also ask whether they would be comfortable giving you a good recommendation. If they can’t answer “yes” with enthusiasm, move on to someone else.
  • Confirm the reference’s contact information and be sure to ask whether they would like to be contacted at work or home, or if both are okay. Find out if sharing the person’s cell phone number would be acceptable as well, and ask if there are specific times of the day when they would prefer to be contacted. Then make that clear on the reference list you provide to prospective employers.
  • Make sure your references will be available to speak with potential employers before you put them on a specific job application. For example, if you know someone will be on vacation during the critical time, don’t use that person for the current application.
  • If you plan to apply for a number of positions, don’t burden 3–4 people by having them serve as references for all of them. Have a list of 7–10 references you can choose from and spread them out over the positions you’re applying for. That way no one will get burned out answering calls from your prospective employers.

A resume reference list is a document that provides contact and background Whether you call, email or ask your prospective reference in person, be sure it's.

resume reference person
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