Resume references can be an important part of creating an effective resume. However, not every potential employer wants or needs these references. Some companies will request references only after the appropriate person has reviewed your resume. Others will only ask for references on an application. Unless you are specifically asked to list references, you may want to leave them off your resume.
Who Is a Good Reference?
When you are considering whom to include on your list of references, you will want to cross any family members off your list. Employers know that most relatives will give you a good reference. Instead of using your Mom and Dad, you should choose business references. The best choices are those who have a direct knowledge of your skills, qualifications, and experience. These resume references might include a former supervisor, a co-worker or a department head. These people will be able to explain what you do and how well you do it to a potential employer.
Formatting Your References
It’s best to create a separate sheet for your resume references. At the top, center the word “References.” Underneath this header, you should include your name. This is a good choice should your resume become separated from your reference list. Begin listing your references. The order is up to you, but you should carefully consider which of your references would carry the most weight with a potential employer. For example, a co-worker who can attest to your office skills may not be as good a choice as the human resources manager that will say you’ve never missed a day of work and you have perfect employee evaluations. Most employers will not call every one of your references.
Each reference listing should include a first and last name, their job title, the company name, the address, at least one phone number, and an email address. Before you include someone on your list of resume references, you should contact these people. Make sure you have the correct contact information and ask them for permission to use them as a reference. This will give them time to consider what they want to say and they won’t be surprised when the phone rings.
You should use traditional fonts and font sizes on your reference page. This is generally considered Times New Roman 12. Leave the colored paper or inks for writing personal letters. You want this page to be as professional as your resume and cover letter area. Also, be sure to check over it carefully. One wrong digit in a phone number can result in a good reference that was never used. Your resume references will only help you if the potential employer can actually get a hold of him or her.
There aren’t many employers who ask for resume references to be turned in with your resume. However, it is always a good idea to have this page completed before you need it. If it has been some time since you have checked out the info on your reference page, it’s a good idea to recheck that info before you hand this page over.