The When and How of Listing References on Resume

You’ve undoubtedly heard of this term before – references available upon request. While many people include this statement whenever they create their resumes, it is not right. However, when a job description expressly asks you to provide professional references, it is only right that you name them. But how do you pen your resume references effectively?

Right below, we cover the “when’s” and “how’s” of penning references on resume. By the time you are through with this article, you will have learned the following:

  • Whether it is necessary to give a separate reference leaf with your resume.
  • The appropriate ways of giving references, in essence, correct styling and formatting.
  • Creating a reference section for your resume.
  • The proper amount of references to provide in your application.


Do You Put References on a Resume?

Generally, adding references to resume is considered unnecessary. Nonetheless, there’re instances when doing the same is okay. Case in point, when the vacancy advertisement or recruiter demands, then you have to pen a reference for a resume. The rest of the time, however, avoid giving a resume reference page.

How to List References on a Resume

If your situation calls for references on a resume, it is essential to familiarize yourself with doing it effectively. In that regard, below are useful tips to implement:

  • Provide the reference’s full name.
  • State their professional title.
  • Include their company’s name.
  • Provide the address of the company.
  • Specify the city, state, and zip code of the company.
  • Include the reference’s telephone number.
  • Include their email.

Here is a sample of how to add references correctly:

Anne Doe

Head of Marketing Department

123 El Paso Street

El Paso, TX, 79941

+1(123) 4546 7891


Above is the right way of writing references on a resume. You can provide as many personal references as you are requested. However, be sure not to provide other details in addition to these, unless when responding to instructions on the vacancy announcement or from a recruiting executive. Also, make sure to check out LinkedIn to identify the proper titles for your references. In the meantime, familiarize yourself with some things you should never do on LinkedIn.

Most importantly, ensure that your list of references is similar by providing the same information in each entry. That means the same order of name, telephone number, etc.

Do You Have to Put References on a Different Page?

Whenever you create a reference segment, ensure that you use a different leaf. It should be exclusive for your references, meaning you cannot add other details to it. Usually, the references page is the final thing in your resume.

Should You Always Write “Reference Available Upon Request”?

Writing this statement at the end of your resume is not often acceptable. Every hiring manager knows your references can be accessed after they ask for their information from you. As such, you don't need to jog their memory of that fact. Moreover, by avoiding to pen this cliché phrase, you save space on your resume and use it for other essential parts.

Do Not Send Your References Just Yet

There are many things to check before sending an application, but even a well-checked submission needs to be posted at the right time. In that regard, do not submit references during the early phases of hiring. Instead, wait until you have gotten more familiar with the recruitment process or until you attend an interview. This way, you will be in a position to match your references with both the employer’s and organization’s needs.


Choosing and Requesting References for Your Reference Page

How can you select the right references, and how can you request them? Find out more below:

What Is the Ideal Number of References?

The perfect amount of references for your resume is 3 or 5. But even with that said, remember to pick your people strategically. Providing more names, unless when requested, is just a waste of the talent acquisition officer’s time. Giving fewer names than the specified number shows that you lack persons that can corroborate your work-related history.

How to Choose a Great Reference for Resume?

The perfect person to provide on your reference page is an employed expert within your field but not a relative. Ensure that your list consists of varied professionals; in essence, not all of them should be managers. Below are individuals who can make your references:

  • Previous or current employer
  • Previous or current supervisor
  • Workmate
  • Project or business partner
  • Advisor
  • Mentor
  • A friend who works at the company you're applying to

Remember, provide names of persons who have good things to say about your abilities and accomplishments. Stay clear of any professional who can tarnish your reputation. Take some time to check out some useful tips for securing excellent references.

Requesting Someone to Be Your Reference

Do not just think about someone and proceed to include them in your resume as a reference. It is always thoughtful to inquire first. Apart from showing that you are courteous, it provides you with an opportunity to confirm the contact details of the person. A semi-formal telephone call or email is an excellent mode of making your request.

Personal Vs. Professional References

People whom you are related to should not be included in your resume as references. Such references do not hold any significance and can make it seem like you did not look for relevant experts who can vouch for you. So, always ensure to provide names of people whom you have a professional relationship with only.

How to Follow Up

Thank your reference after they accept your request. Also, consider providing them with a copy of your resume to ensure that they know what to say about you should they be called by a recruitment executive.


Formatting Your Resume References Page

As mentioned before in this post, write your references on a different page of your resume. Follow the following tips for writing specific aspects of your references section.

Creating References Page

The page with your references should match the format of your cover letter and resume. However, if the resume is different from the cover letter, be sure to make your references the same as the format on the cover letter. If you have trouble writing one, here are some powerful ways of starting your cover letter to get you motivated.

Your Name and Address

These elements should be put at the top of your resume, either left, right or center. Your address must include your telephone number and email.

The Body of the Reference

Right below your address, write the date and the address of the organization. These details should be on the left and just on top of your initial entry. After that, proceed to provide a title, for example, “Professional References” and then add your list of 3 or 5 experts.

Typically, references should not be provided on a resume. However, when expressly required, be sure to attach them. When doing the same, remember that the references need to be on their page exclusively. Nothing else should be written on their page. That said, always make a careful choice of references, meaning you need to provide names of people who are closely related to your field. Apart from that, you should always get the permission of someone before listing them as your reference. And when it comes to formatting, make sure to ensure that your references complement your resume.

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