How to List References on a Resume [Reference Page Format]

Resume Help

Should you include references on your resume?

Professional recommendations on resumes may be necessary in your situation, or they may be a massive mistake. How did you find out? You simply keep reading.

This resume references guide will show you how to:

Whether or not a work reference document should be included with your CV.

The most effective approach to format and style references on a resume.

How to create a reference page for a CV or job application.

How many recommendations should you include on your resume?

Do You Put References on a Resume?

References are almost universally frowned upon by career advisers and hiring managers.

Adding references to resumes was typical practice when I landed my first job. My high school advisor even advised me to do it.

But, as with most peer-pressured decisions in high school, I would not do it now.

Is that, however, a firm no? There are several exceptions where you can provide resume references, but you’ll recognize them when you see them. In general, if the job posting or hiring manager specifically requests a references page, include one!

Let’s go on if you’ve made up your decision and will be including references in your CV.

Pro Tip: If you can’t decide whether to put references in your resume, don’t. Maintain a résumé with no references.

How to List References

If you’ve concluded that listing resume references is unavoidable in your situation, you’ll need to know how to list references on a resume correctly.

The following is an example of how to put professional references on a resume:

Create a separate page for your references.
At the top of the page, write your name and the title “References,” for example, “John Doe References.”
For all of your references, use similar formatting: include their full names, professional titles, companies, and contact information.
Include a minimum of three professional references.
Before submitting a job application, make sure to notify all of your references and include their contact information!

Consider the following practical example:

Joelle Smith 

Operations Manager

134 Rightward Avenue

04019 Portland, Maine

(678) 757 9413

[email protected]

That is how each entry in a resume reference list should be formatted. Include as much as you can, and don’t include anything else unless specifically requested. How many references should a resume have? Don’t worry, we’ll get to that in a minute.

Pro Tip: Use LinkedIn to double-check that you’re using the correct job titles.

Should references be on their own page?

Definitely. Avoid the tired “Resume references available upon request” line. If you’re going to include a resume references section, make it a separate page that you may add as the last page of your resume.

Should I add “references available upon request” on my resume?

No, putting “references available upon request” at the conclusion of your resume is one of the most common resume blunders. Not only are you saving valuable real space on your resume for more crucial sections, but they are also aware that your references are available upon request.

Pro Tip: When creating your reference list, make sure to keep it consistent. Locate and include the same information for each (e.g., phone number), and leave the rest blank.

How to Choose Professional Resume References & How to Request Them

You’ll compile a list of references to include with your next résumé.

But you have to be picky, and you must ask permission first, even if you’re confident they won’t mind.

How many references should a resume have?

A CV should include three to five references.

If the job description or the firm specifically request that you submit a list of references (and this should truly be the only reason), three to five carefully selected people are adequate. Any more and you’re wasting people’s time; any less and you’ll appear to have few people who can give you a positive endorsement.

Who is an excellent resume reference?

The best references to include are working professionals who are linked to the industry to which you are applying but are not tied to you in any way. Make an effort to gather as diverse a group as feasible (not all direct supervisors).

Here are eight categories of persons you should include on your professional reference list:

Previous employer
Former supervisor (can be your direct manager)
Supervisor (not necessarily your direct manager)
Colleague (coworker or teammate)
Mentor (can be your teacher or professor)
Advisor (including your academic advisors)
Business or project collaborator
Friend (but only if they work at the company you’re applying to)

Include only those who can speak favourably about your experience, skills, and work ethic. Never include someone who is or was in a professional dispute with you.

How do you ask someone to be a reference?

Don’t merely scribble people on your resume references list as they come to mind. It is nice to ask first, but this gives you the added benefit of double-checking their contact information. To be semi-formal, make a phone call or send an email.

Personal References vs. Professional References

When writing references on a resume, it is generally not a good idea to provide personal recommendations. Why? Because it’s family, they won’t give much weight if they discover a reference entry is linked to you. Furthermore, it gives the impression that you couldn’t get enough expert references. If at all feasible, use professional recommendations (unless you are writing a resume with no experience).

Following Up With

After you’ve obtained a reference, it’s a good idea to thank them for their assistance. Also, provide them a copy of the resume you’re sending so that they’re all on the same page when the hiring manager calls. Finally, after you get the job, treat them to a lovely supper to show your appreciation!
Pro Tip: Send a quick follow-up email or note to thank your references. This is not only polite, but it also reminds them that they can expect a call from your possible employer in the near future.

How to Format the Resume References Page

If you opt to provide work recommendations, include them on a separate reference page that is attached to your resume.
Here’s how to make a professional resume references page:

Write your references page similarly to how you format your cover letter and, maybe, your resume. If the letterhead on your resume and the one on your cover letter differ slightly, copy the cover letter.

Your name and address should be at the very top, and they can be orientated left, right, or center (follow the same style as your other documents). Include your phone number as well as your email address.

Finally, before providing 3-5 entries of people who can vouch for your qualifications for a job, including reference titles/subtitles such as “References” or “Professional References.” You can include both professional and personal recommendations if you have them.

Follow the same pattern for references on a resume as we explained in section 2 of this article for structuring each entry.

Key Takeaway

A CV should never include job references.

However, references should never be included with a resume and should always be on a separate references page.
This is how to format a professional reference list (a references page):

Choose wisely – If you’re going to add any references, choose between three and five. Choose professional references over personal ones, and choose those that are most relevant to your line of employment.
Before naming someone as a professional reference, make sure to seek permission first. After that, thank them and remind them to expect a call.
Use proper formatting – There is a proper method to format the items on a reference page, as well as a proper way to arrange the reference.

Now all you need to do is brush up on the STAR method and some interview guidelines, and you’ll be ready for your big meeting!