How to List Professional References on Your Resume

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You know you need solid references to land a new job. However, do you include them on your resume? Or do you just state that “references are available upon request”?

Generally speaking, the answer is no and no. References shouldn’t be a part of your resume and are usually submitted at the interview or afterward. In addition, hiring managers assume you have references available, and stating this simply wastes valuable resume space.

That said, there are exceptions, such as when a job posting asks for references to be submitted with your resume. When that’s the case, how should you handle listing them? Here are some tips to help you:

Include the right people.

Professional references are different from personal ones and include individuals you’ve worked alongside or underneath, such as your past supervisors, colleagues, a mentor or advisor, or a business partner. The most persuasive ones will be those most relevant to the position and those who supervised you in the past (think managers, team leaders, and bosses).

List them on a separate page.

Never try to stuff your references on the same page as your resume. There simply isn’t enough space. Instead, use a separate page with the headline “References” and include anywhere from three to five professional ones, unless the hiring manager asked for a different amount.

When you’re writing out your reference list, adhere to a consistent format across them, which should include name, job title, company, and contact information. Here’s an example:

Joseph Smith

Director of Marketing

CVC Corporation

1133 Main Street

Anywhere, USA 11222

(800) 222-3333

Ask for permission ahead of time.

Before you send out your resume with your list of references, reach out to each one and ask for permission. This is a professional courtesy and ensures they’re not taken by surprise when a hiring manager or recruiter calls. You’ll also be able to give them some insight into the job you’re applying for and why you’re a good fit. As a result, they’ll be able to speak in a more compelling way about their past experience with you.

Need more resume writing help?

At ResumeSpice, our professional resume writers can assist you with every aspect of your resume, from your Work Experience and Education to References and more. Whether you’re creating an executive resume or an entry-level one, we’ll make sure your background shines and sets you apart from other candidates. If you’re ready to learn more, call 832.930.7378 or contact us online.