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Where Should I Put My Professional References?


Are you confused on how to share professional references during the job application process? Look no further!

What is a list of references?

First off, a list of references is different from letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation are documents created by the reference and used to send to employers, grad schools, etc. A list of references is a one-page document comprised of 3-5 professionals that can attest to your professionalism, work ethic, style of work, personality, etc. It will include their name, title/position, company name, phone number, email, and the description of the reference in relation to you. There is no need to put "References available upon request" on your resume as this takes up space on your document and is implied if you wish to continue on as a candidate.

Who should I ask to be a reference?

These references can be current or former managers, supervisors, professors, colleagues, direct reports (if you lead/led a team), clients (job dependent), professional mentors, or athletic coaches. You should avoid using family as they are seen as too partial towards you. It is important to note that you should only be adding references that will provide a positive reference for you. Prior to adding the references to your document, make sure to call the potential candidates and ask them if would be a positive reference if called. With them officially a part of your job process, give them a heads-up on the potential companies that may be calling, share information on the position that you applied for, and remind them of skills or accomplishments that you would like them to highlight. ECS has a sample reference request in Correspondence Samples within the Handshake Resource Library.

When/why is a list of references necessary?

Employers request this to have others attest to your qualifications on your resume while also gauging your ability to do a job well. Your professional references may be requested at any point in the application process. This document request may come at the beginning when you submit your application; they may ask for it explicitly or it can be added into the supplemental document section. It's also possible that they ask for this later during the interview portion of the process.

“Network continually – 85% of all jobs are filled through contacts & personal references.” – Brian Tracy

Category: Resumes