If you want to know where you're supposed to put references on a resume (or whether you should include them at all), then you've come to the right place. In this article, we'll cover the following topics:
- Whether you are supposed to put references on a resume
- Why you should (or shouldn't) include references at all
- Where your references belong — and how to write them up
Let's get started!
No, you are not supposed to put references on a resume
When it comes to writing your resume, you only get so many pages to work with — don't waste that space by putting a resume references section or adding the phrase “References available upon request” at the end of your document. Many employers usually won't ask for this information until you're further along in the interview process, and they know you'll provide references if they request them.
Including references on a resume is simply a waste of space
You only get a small number of pages, usually 1–2 pages in the private sector, to share your career narrative and convince employers and hiring managers that you are qualified for the job they're filling. Don't waste any of this precious resume space to list references — something an employer won't need to look at until you're much further along in the candidate selection process.
Instead, focus on providing the details that will convince a recruiter or hiring manager to contact you for an interview. Remember, your cover letter and resume are designed to get you the interview. The details you highlight on the resume during the job search should support this goal.
While it varies from company to company, most employers won't ask for your references until they're ready to reach out to them. This typically doesn't happen until you've made it through the initial interview rounds and are among the final candidates for a job. If, for any reason, an employer wants your references earlier in the process, rest assured they'll give you a chance to provide them. There's no need to place references on your resume when they won't be used until you're one of the final candidates.
That said, you should brainstorm a list of potential references as soon as you start submitting job applications so you're ready when a prospective employer has specifically requested your professional references.
Rather than putting references on your resume, type them up on a separate document
In a separate reference page, include the person's first name and last name, current title and company name, email address, and phone number. Be sure to check with each of your professional references ahead of time to confirm that the person is willing to be your reference and to verify which phone number and email address they'd like you to share with employers.
It's also helpful to add a line that explains to the reader how you've come to know this reference. For example, it could be as simple as mentioning that you “worked together in Company XYZ's marketing department from July 2015 to November 2017” or that another professional reference was your “direct supervisor at ABC Institute between 2018 and 2019.” You don't have to write a paragraph explaining your relationship to a reference, but it's nice to provide the employer or hiring manager with a little context.
When you type up your best references, consider using the same header information and font style that was used for your resume so that the documents appear to be part of one overall package, even if they're not attached to one another.
Resume references example: How to write your references
For example, if we were writing up references to accompany Alexa Campbell's resume, they might look something like this:
When choosing your professional references, select 3–5 people who you have insight into your hard and soft skills and who you trust to say good things about you and your job performance. Click on the following link for more information on how to select the right references for your job search.
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