References are generally requested and checked after a successful interview and just before offering you a position. Often a potential employer will request a list of 3-5 people you have worked with as references. References can serve as a final confirmation of your skills, abilities and verification of positive on-the-job performance.
Below are some suggested things to consider in selecting and preparing your references:
Who Should Serve as a Reference?
- References can be individuals who know your work style, can attest to your performance, time management, punctuality, professionalism on the job and ability to do the work.
- References can be selected from a part-time or full-time job, an internship, volunteer or paid work experiences.
- References might include current or former supervisors, faculty mentors, campus staff or advisers, coaches or anyone in a professional position who can speak about your character, skills and work ethic.
- References should NOT be family, friends or peers.
- Do not choose people who are not well versed on your background and accomplishments.
- Choose people who have known you for a minimum of three months, though the longer they have known and worked with you the better.
- If you must choose between several people who know you well, select those who witnessed you in positions most related to the prospective job.
Preparing Your References
- Always ask permission from your references BEFORE you use their names. Ask if they are willing to provide a strong, supportive recommendation.
- Make sure you have current contact information (i.e., name, position, organization, email and phone number).
- Ascertain if they are available via phone or email during your critical search time.
- Prepare them in advance by sharing your current resume or CV and cover letter, and the position description.
- Be sure to thank your references after the selection process is complete; it is always best to maintain a strong, ongoing, and professional relationship.
When Submitting References
- You will need to bring at least one copy of your reference list to your interview. Some employers may ask for it before the interview.
- If an employer does not ask by the end of the interview, you should ask them if they would like reference information.
- Create a consistent and professional application packet; your list of references should have the same font, format and paper choices as those used for your resume and cover letter.
When a Reference Letter is Requested
- There are some applications that may require a letter of recommendation (i.e., fellowships, scholarships, jobs and/or internship programs like the Washington Program and UC Center Sacramento).
- Follow the aforementioned process to identify, prepare and thank your letter writing references.
- Formally ask your references via phone, email or in-person meeting with ample time to allow them to write a letter.
- Remember—a reference can be asked about your performance, skills and abilities. They may also be asked about your interpersonal skills, leadership qualities, communication style, conflict resolution capacity, decision-making and whether you have a clear understanding of your field of study or a specific type of work.
- Any inconsistencies between what you say about yourself in an interview and a reference’s responses could eliminate you from consideration for a position.
Free download below shows you a professional resume on references format.
The best way to put your references on a resume is to use the names of professional associates you have come to know and trust.
Avoid using friends or family as resume references, but focus on putting down people on your references list that you have worked with in your career and who can vouch for you and your professional work.
References on your resume should be people you have worked with who are also in the same industry as you.
Think about it, if you’re seeking a job as a programmer with Microsoft, and one of your resume references is a bread maker you used to work with many years ago, then no matter how many good things the bread maker says about you, it just won’t carry much weight with Microsoft.
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But on the other hand, if your resume reference is from another large software company like Oracle, then the Oracale references will carry much more weight with Microsoft, and in some cases, the right job reference is like gold and get get you hired at almost any company.
Job References Format – References for Resume
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 you’ll find a sample reference list.
To begin putting your references on a resume, you’ll want to format your page as follows: – see free resume reference page below.[Title – Centered]
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.
Company where they work, their position
Phone or Cell Phone number: 216-555-1212
Then proceed to the next reference.
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Here is a Sample reference list that shows you can download for free:
Resume References Format – Sample List of Job references
You want recent references from people who can not only vouch for your character, but the quality of work that you do. Having another programmer as one of your references is much more powerful than a bread maker. The bread maker is a huge over exaggeration, but I think you see my point.
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Make sure you call each one of your job references and personally ask them if it’s okay if you put them down as a resume reference. And most importantly, make sure you are positive these people will give you a good reference. If you are slightly unsure about someone, then don’t use them.
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 they’ll ask you. Avoid volunteering references too – it’s 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.
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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. It’s 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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