How to List References on Your Resume (With Examples) – Zippia

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When you’re applying for a job, it’s important to have people who can back up the claims on your resume by verifying your skills. That’s where the reference list comes into play. This is a list of people you have worked with in the past who can confirm your qualifications. A strong list of references can be the difference maker in landing your dream job.

Some employers may ask for references as part of the application process, while others may wait until they’ve given you serious consideration for your position before looking at your references. In any case, you should prepare a list of these things before you start applying for a job, so that your references are 100% “available upon request.”


  • What? no Include references on your resume or the phrase “references available upon request”. They will take important places.

  • Create a reference to another document. What? no provide references only when requested.

  • Choose references that will speak professionally about your skills and that are relevant to the job you are applying for.

  • Submit your references at least one week after the hiring manager can reach you.

  • Unless otherwise specified, provide at least three references.

How to List References on a Resume (With Examples)

Should You Put References on Your Resume?

The short answer is emphatic no. Your resume should be one page, two at most, and including references here will take up valuable space that could be put to good use.

Also, experts agree that you should always avoid including the words “showing availability on request” at the bottom of your resume. Hiring managers take this for granted, making it as pointless as writing “questions available upon request.”

Of course, you don’t need to include references on your resume.

Instead, make a separate document which is just like your voice list. So should you send it along with your resume? Maybe not. Hiring managers don’t have time to screen every applicant, so it’s a waste of time for them.

If they decide that you are a strong contender for the position, they will reach out and ask for your resume.

One caveat to this advice: if the job description clearly states that references must be included with your work, do it!

How to Choose Your Referrals

Just because references aren’t necessary at the beginning of the job, doesn’t mean you should forget about them until the employer starts asking for your references. Be thorough and select your top references before you start applying for jobs.

It’s good to get a variety of references that can tell you different aspects of your personality and skills. Start talking about people in the following categories:

Therefore, you should choose references that will be able to demonstrate your skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for. When considering whether or not to hire someone for your current job, make sure they know you’re looking for a new job. Obviously, if you’re submitting a fraudulent application, don’t put your current employer as a reference.

How to Request References

Okay, so you have a list of things to say, but you’re not done! Contact these people to make sure they know you plan to use them as a reference. This is also your way of checking whether the information you have is accurate and up-to-date.

Not only is it polite to reach out to your posts before adding their names to your list, but it has the added benefit of giving them time to prepare. This means that when they receive a call or email from a potential employer, they will be prepared with the best examples of your skills.

Depending on how far your working relationship is from what you can describe, consider sending them a copy of your resume, so they can explain your experience and the qualities you’re trying to highlight.

If they have a lot of money in your success, consider posting a job description. The more content your book has, the more likely it is to give you the best possible impression.

Always follow up on referrals who agree to be on your list by sending a thank you email. It’s not just about being good; It also serves as a reminder to expect a phone call or email from your prospective employer.

How to Write a Request Email

Follow these steps to find the perfect email application:

  • Provide high quality information. You can’t expect busy professionals to be ready to speak on your behalf at short notice. Ask someone to be your pen at least a week later to meet with the supervisor.

  • Use a professional email format. Make sure your subject line is specific (eg, “John Doe – Reference Request”), your contact details are clear, and you’ve created your email using business-friendly characters.

  • Start the situation. After a short “how are you” write a hold, go directly to your email. Let them know where you are applying and ask for permission to list them as references.

  • Tell them why you chose them. You can play on people’s vanity a little with compliments or just let them know that they are a good person to talk to about your special skills in XYZ – whatever the reason, share it so they can understand your point of view.

  • Give them more. You can wait until they agree to reach this stage or include it in your first email. You can give them your resume, cover letter, job description, and anything else you think will make their job easier.

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

How to Choose Your Sponsor List

Your resume references should be its own separate document, not part of your resume. However, what type of reference list you choose depends on how your resume and cover letter appear. This means sticking to the same theme, color scheme, fonts, and margins.

Other than that, just follow these tips to build your referral list:

  • Contact information. Start with your personal information (name, location, phone number, email address), using the same format as your resume/cover letter (eg, if your information is relevant to your resume, put it in the middle as well)

  • Head. Add a clear title in a slightly larger font than your link. Something like “Professional References” is a safe bet. Just let the reader know what this document is about.

  • Order. Start writing the following references and facts as follows:

    • Full name

    • Expert Head

    • Company/Institute where you work

    • Full address of the company/organization

    • Phone number

    • Email address

    • A brief description of your relationship with references, including when/when you worked with them.

Sample Reference List

Phillip Dunne
987 Elm Street
Lewiston, ME 04240
(222) 543-2109

Technical Tips

Randy Halton
Director of Sales, Northeast Region
Company XYZ
444 Main Street
Augusta, ME 04330
(999) 000-1234

Randy has been my direct supervisor for 2+ years during my time as a regional sales manager.

Phil Collins
Sales Manager
Opinions of the company EZ Solutions Inc.
123 Apple Court Lane
Bangor, ME 04401
(777) 987-54321

Phil was my boss for 3+ years when I was a sales representative.

Amelia Bedelia
Intern Supervisor
Company Profile GoGreen Co., Ltd.
550 Tremont Street
Lowell, MA 01850
(333) 321-9876

Amelia was my supervisor for 6 months while I was at GoGreen Co.

Jane Doe
Professor of Business Management
Bates College
2 Andrews Road
Lewiston, ME 04240
(333) 999-4321

Jane was my professor and mentor through my MBA.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How many references can I include?

    If the company doesn’t specify how many references you should send, try at least three. This is a good investment to give you good ideas that the hiring manager can pull from. It is best to send no more than five, unless requested. For higher positions, consider bumping up to between five and seven.

  2. How should I order my documents?

    When ordering your references, start your list with your highest quality articles. It’s unlikely that the company will call for everything you’ve written, but they’ll probably start at the top.

    If all your references are the same, then put them in chronological order – people you’ve worked with recently should remember you well.

    This plan, and even the people you include as references, may vary depending on the field you are applying for. Just as you would tailor your resume to a specific job, do the same with your reference list.

    For example, if you’re going into management, start with people you’ve managed, but if you’re looking for an IT job, start with people who can speak to your skills.

    Consider: How can these people validate my skills in a way that is relevant to the job I am applying for?

  3. Who should I not put on my referral list?

    Do not include family members or co-workers with whom you have had an abusive relationship in the past as references. Including family is a no-no on your vocabulary list. Not only does it make it clear that you don’t have a very deep bench of fans, but it’s obvious to everyone that the family member singing your praises is more questionable than your ex or boss.

    On the other hand, if you had a real working relationship with a family member, and (ideally) they have a different last name than you, do it.

    Additionally, don’t include anyone you’ve met in the past. Even if you think it’s water under the bridge, it’s best not to accidentally do it unless you’re struggling to fill your list.

  4. How do I include the references I’m currently working with?

    Including the references you are currently working with depends on the situation. If you’re keeping your investigation private from your employer, it’s best not to include anyone you work with, even your favorite co-workers. You never know how gossip goes.

    On the other hand, if you are leaving your employer for reasons unrelated to the job (for example, moving to another country) feel free to include your employer or management. Be sure to talk to them good already including them as a guide.

  5. When should I not provide a list of references?

    If the job doesn’t ask for a list of references, don’t include one with your application. Sending unsolicited testimonials can make you look like a dinosaur, as this practice has been discontinued.

    In general, consider that employers don’t want a list of documents until they ask directly (but still have a list ready to go, when you start applying for a job).

  6. Can I use my references?

    Generally, no, you should not use your resume or personal information when applying for a job. They are not as important as references from someone you have worked with professionally. Plus, it makes you look like you don’t have many professional relationships or people in your corner.

    On the other hand, if a job posting requires five references, and you only have four professionals, using your last type of reference won’t hurt your chances. When thinking about the best ways to describe yourself, try to choose someone who has seen your skills at work (perhaps in an academic or volunteer setting) and is not a family member.