Job References: Adding to Your Resume

At some point in the job seeking process, you will be asked for references. Be prepared to hand them in. That means having them ready and waiting. It also means putting as much polish into your references as you would a resume and cover letter.

Find Your References

The number of references you need could depend on the position and the company. While three is the norm, you should gather as many references as you can. Former teachers and professors, past employers and coworkers, prominent community members, clergy, local politicians, anyone that can attest to your character, skill, and professionalism has to be considered. Do not use family, friends, or neighbors unless you have worked for them. In these instances, minimize the relationship, having them focus on your potential.

Contact each reference and ask for permission to use them as such. Ask for a recommendation letter and let them know hiring managers may be calling them. For purposes of their privacy, request the contact information the reference wants to use.

Work Closely with References

When you have a pool of references, you can handpick ones that best suit a specific goal. Make sure references tailor their recommendation letters to your needs. A college professor can talk about your integrity, willingness to grow, and communication skills. A former employer can speak of communication and technical skill, and ability to work well with others. Avoid having all your references saying the same exact thing. What every letter should have in common is why you’re a good fit for the job.

Be sure to send a thank-you note to all references.

Format for Reference Material

List references separate from your resume, while keeping the formatting of the resume. Include names, contact information, title, employer, business address, telephone numbers, and email addresses. List the professional relationship to you: professor, supervisor, coworker. Be prepared to rework the reference page as your references will change based on the position.

Get as many original copies of the reference letter(s) as you can, between five and 10. This way when you hand them out, you hand out originals.

Do not submit references with your resume, but take them with you on interviews. Wait until you are asked for them.

These tips will ensure you have references that impress. And Resume Builder can make sure all your credentials are formatted brilliantly.


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