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How To Include References In Your Resume

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How To Include References In Your Resume

Aside from your resume, the references that you list are an extremely important part of the job hunting process, but one that often gets left behind with little thought. Our references should be able to give employers a clear picture of who we are, our character, strengths, and experience, so they can be just as valuable as your resume itself.

However, there is always some confusion in terms of resume references and when it’s appropriate to list them on this professional document. For many job seekers, they feel it’s easier just to leave them off altogether and wait for the employer to request them, and this trend seems to be increasing in recent years.

The world of job applications is not so black and white, though, as many employers still prefer that you list these on your resume, and so it’s all a matter of using your judgment and finding which you think is the best move.

lady typing resume

Once you know whether or not they’re required, you can then work on the best way for how to list reference on resume that’s professional and to the point.


When To Put References On Resume

The trickiest part of the job seeking process is knowing whether or not you’re doing it the right way, as many hiring managers can be extremely picky about what’s listed on a resume. Whether or not to put your references on there at all is something that many people struggle with, so you might feel completely in the dark about when it’s appropriate.

References can be a great way to showcase the real you and give you some personality and life that just isn’t possible from reading a resume. If a job advertisement makes a point of requesting that you list relevant and recent references on your resume, then you should always follow this instruction.

As you do, though, be sure that you’ve contacted your referees to let them know that someone might be contacting them for a reference check.

When a job requests that you specifically add references, they will usually make some other specification about what’s expected. Some might want references from within the last 12 months of employment, others will want a mix of professional and personal references, and the rest might make no stipulations at all.

It’s all about reading the job advertisement carefully and ensuring that you can follow their instructions.

If you find a job posting doesn’t make any specific requests for references, then it’s best to leave them off. There are a few potential issues that can come from listing your references, and that is an employer calling them before they’ve checked with you that it’s okay.

While this shouldn’t be an issue if you’ve already forewarned your referees, there is a chance that it can come as a surprise and throw them completely off from the conversation.

How To Put References On A Resume

If you’ve done your research and believe that the situation calls for it, knowing how to list references on a resume should be done a particular way to ensure professionalism. There’s no hard and fast rule for the way to list them, however, there are a few tips that will help you list your references the way that hiring managers want.

  • Use a separate page – You should always have your list of references on a separate page to your resume so that they’re easier to find. Give the page a title such as “Reference List” so that the recruiter is aware of what the names mean
  • Insert letters as appendixes – If you’re using previously typed letters from your references, add these as separate pages for each one and make note of them in your reference list. These reference letters should be recently dated and you should also list their additional contact details for further information
  • Contact details – Each referee should have their contact details listed, including name, professional title, company/organization, relationship to the referee, type of referee (professional or personal), and phone number and email address
  • Be varied – Consider the job you’re applying for and if your references are a good fit, as some might be more appropriate in certain situations. Try to include one from different areas of your life or relevant previous positions so that you’re offering them some variety

Before you add these names to your resume, though, be sure that you have phoned them personally to see if they’re okay with it. Once you’ve applied for jobs, phone them again to let them know that someone may be in touch with them and give them a rundown on the position that you applied for.

A little bit of forewarning is not only courteous, but it means that your referees will be prepared to give you the best possible reference that they can.

Treat Every Job Application As Unique

If the statistics are anything to go by, over 20% of potential candidates are knocked back due to poor references, so this is not an area to take lightly.

Spend some time thinking about who would make a respectful and professional reference before you add them to your resume, and don’t be afraid to alter this with each job you apply for.

Just as it is with any part of the job seeking process, you should always treat each application as something unique and adaptable.

Resume References

Sending out one uniformed resume to every recruiter will make you look uninterested and disrespectful, and everything right down to your reference list will need to be changed to suit.

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Matthew Gibbs

Matthew Gibbs

Matt is the Co-Founder of Recruiterly and a veteran recruitment professional. He has worked for, managed and owned recruitment agencies in the UK, Australia and Asia.

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