The Right Way to List References on Resume

Your references serve as some of the most powerful testaments to your abilities and qualifications. They give the hiring manager someone to contact and ask how well you performed your duties. A few positive references on resume documents help you secure the job, which you can find on ZipRecruiter.

But knowing when and how to list a work reference on a resume is crucial. If you do it wrong, you risk looking unprofessional. On the other hand, well-presented references make the hiring manager’s job easier and help you showcase your abilities.

The Right Way to List References on Resume

In this article, we’ll get into how to list references on resume files. Keeping these tips in mind will make it easier for your potential employer to get an idea of how well you work!

Know When to List References

references on resume

ZipRecruiter is the #1 job site in the United States. It allows job seekers to create free profiles and browse thousands of listings. It also lets employers invite you to apply, tripling your chances of getting the position.

Yet, not every role on ZipRecruiter requires you to provide references. Read the job description carefully to see if the employer wants references from candidates right away. Most companies have a hiring process already nailed down. Providing before they ask may look unprofessional.

In some cases, hiring managers want to see your references right away. If this is the situation, take a look at how they want you to submit your references.

Some companies will want you to submit your references as part of the online application form. In other instances, they might want you to give them the references on resume pages or on a separate document.

Figure Out Who to List

references on resume

Once you know you need references, figure out who you should list. Different employers may request contact information for different types of people.

Most companies will want you to include at least 1 or 2 professional references. These can include your supervisor or colleagues. Even former coworkers or bosses can serve as professional references.

If you’re in college, you can list your professors as references. Sometimes, employers will accept people who supervise students doing volunteer activities as references. When in doubt, you should contact the employer to see what types of people they want to hear from.

Companies may also ask you to provide personal references. These people can be your friends, but you should refrain from listing relatives.

Ask for Permission First

references on resume

It’s best practice to always ask people for permission to serve as your references. Doing so benefits you in 2 main ways.

First, you’ll preserve your relationships. If your friend or coworker is busy, they might not have the bandwidth to become a reference. Giving them the chance to say no may help you avoid irritating them.

Second, asking gives them a heads up. It lets them know to look for messages from employers in their inboxes or voicemails. In general, you should also message your friend or coworker to tell them every time you provide an employer with their name. If possible, tell them who will contact them and a little about your new career.

Listing Your References on Resume Files

references on resume

Most of the time, your employer will want you to list your references in a separate document from your resume. If they want the references in the same document as the resume, create a new page.

For each reference, you’ll want to list the following information:

  • Their full name
  • Their title
  • Their company
  • The company’s address
  • Their phone number
  • Their email address

Then, add a short sentence describing your relationship to the reference. Use the same fonts and colors that you used on your resume so you can submit them as one document if needed. After each entry, add a line break to make it easier for your hiring manager to tell where one ends and the next begins.

What’s Important to Keep in Mind

references on resume

Before you submit your reference list, keep in mind that these people will give the employer insight into your work performance and personality. As such, you should only include contact information for people who think highly of you. If you know you don’t get along with your boss, ask a colleague to serve as a reference instead.

You should also review your document in a careful manner. Check your spelling mistakes, especially in phone numbers and email addresses. If your employer can’t get through to your references, they might discard your application.

As such, you should always reach out to your references to make sure their contact information hasn’t changed.

Find Your New Job with ZipRecruiter

Now that you know how to list references on resume files, you can start looking for a new job. Using ZipRecruiter is the best way to connect with employers looking for workers like you. On ZipRecruiter, you can upload your resume and tell companies more about your skills and qualifications.

Then, ZipRecruiter shows your profile to businesses looking for workers like you. Employers can then indicate that they’re interested in you. Meanwhile, you’ll get matched with hundreds of job posts that mention your skills! You don’t have to worry about a lengthy application process, either. ZipRecruiter lets you apply to jobs with just one click, saving you time. You’ll also learn how strong of a candidate you are for each job.

Ready to find your next job?  Create your free account on ZipRecruiter, which is rated the #1 job site on the web!

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