When to Include References in a Resume

When to Include References in a Resume

Generally, you should not include your references in a resume. You have limited space to “sell” yourself, and adding references takes up valuable space. Always keep a list of references vetted and ready to provide after the initial interview. However, there are times when you may need to add references. 

Some job descriptions include the requirement for references. Higher-level positions often require references as well. It’s important to be prepared to include between 2-7 references depending on the level of the position and your experience. References are helpful even if you are applying for general labor jobs Toronto.

The only hard rule is never to include the phrase “References available upon request” on your resume.

Adding References to the Resume vs. Creating a Separate Reference List

Adding character references in a resume to the end or creating a separate document depends on the job, your experience, and how many quality references you have.

If you have little experience, you can likely fit two references at the bottom of your resume. You may still want to use a separate page to focus the resume on your abilities and skills.

Those with more experience or looking for a higher-level position are better off using a separate document for their resumes. Professionals with significant experience should include 5-7 references, which will take up an entire page.

Who to Use as a Reference?

Your best references are professional colleagues, managers, and trainers. If you are fresh out of school or lack experience, look to college professors, mentors, and guidance counselors. 

Professionals with significant experience should seek references of equal standing for the position you are applying for, if possible. Include supervisors, past clients, and other managers.

If you know someone who already works at the new employer, place them first on your list. Sometimes, a current employee who speaks well about a candidate carries significant weight.

The most important trait for a good reference is someone who can really sing your praises. Your reference in your resume should be able to tell a prospective employer about your strengths, weaknesses, and special skills.

Under no circumstances should you use a family member as a reference. Mom or Auntie love and support you, but your employer wants a professional point of view on your abilities.

Contact all potential references to confirm you can use them and what their preferred contact method is. Be sure you have a good working relationship. Finally, thank them, even if you don’t get the job. 

Formatting your Reference List Page

  • Start with your strongest reference. You want your greatest professional or educational fan as your first listed reference. Many employers reach out only to one or two references.
  • Keep the formatting of your references the same as the rest of your resume.
  • At the top of the page, in the same format as the contact details in your resume:
    1. Your name
    2. Address
    3. Phone number
    4. Email address
  • Format each reference in the following manner:
    1. Last name, First name
    2. Professional position
    3. Name of company
    4. Business Address
    5. Phone number
    6. Email address
    7. A short sentence explaining your relationship and how long you’ve known them.

Make sure your list is clear and well-written. Avoid grammar and spelling errors and make it as professional as possible.

A strong reference list can add significant value to your resume. Choosing the right people as your references is key. Team Global can help you choose your character reference in your resume and format your list. Our dedicated team members will work with you to round out your resume and create an impressive reference list. Contact us to get started.

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