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How To Make a Reference Page for Job Applications: Step-by-Step Guide Plus Sample

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After creating a powerful resume and cover letter, the next important step before submitting a job application is making a reference page. Don’t worry; it’s easier than you think.

In this guide, we’ll talk about how to make a reference page for job applications. We’ve also included a sample reference page so you’ll know how this document should look like exactly.

What Is a Reference Page?

A reference page is a document containing the names of three to five people who can provide insights into your professional skills and work ethics.

While your resume is the most important component in the hiring process, a reference page is a supporting document. It helps recruiters and hiring managers to learn more about you.

Checking references is usually the final step a potential employer does before offering you a job. However, you should know that references aren’t always included in a resume.

It’s a best practice to leave them off your resume. That’s because references aren’t typically a part of the application or the initial part of the interview. Nevertheless, you should keep a reference page on standby.

You’ll never know when the hiring manager will call you to ask for references. In that case, you should always prepare since crafting a reference page can take time too.

How To Make a Reference Page for Job Applications

Creating a reference page isn’t difficult but you have to do it right because it can still make or break your application. Here are the recommended steps you need to take to have a professional-looking reference page:

1. List Down Your References

On average, employers check at least three references for each job applicant. It’s essential to select the right people who can support the facts you stated in your resume.

So, who are the best people to include on your reference page?

  • Recent Bosses: It’s best to include at least one of your previous bosses or managers in your reference list. Not doing so might give the hiring manager an impression that you didn’t want your future employer to contact them.
  • Co-Workers: Find a friend or colleague familiar with your work and has worked directly with you in the past.
  • Professors: Professors in a field related to the job you’re applying for also make excellent references.

2. Get Permission From Your References

Make sure you’ve requested permission from everyone you put on your reference page. That is just so rude not to. Also, letting them know beforehand can help them prepare if they’re called upon to offer a recommendation. Certainly, you don’t want these people to get caught by surprise.

You can ask someone to be a reference for your job application through a phone call, letter, or email. Consider these suggestions when contacting potential references:

  • Be sure to give them enough time to respond before you apply for a job.
  • Attach a copy of your resume in your email or chat message so your potential references can review them as well.
  • If it has been a while since you last saw or spoke to each other, reintroduce yourself and explain how they know you.
  • Describe the job you’re applying for. This way, they can highlight the skills and work styles you have that are most applicable for your new role.
  • Confirm their contact information. Make sure you have their current and preferred information, such as email addresses and phone numbers. Ask your references how they would like the hiring manager to contact them.

3. Create the Reference Page

Once you have the names and information you need, it’s time to make the reference page. What should you include in this document?

  • Document Title

Give the document a title, so it’s clear what it is all about and what information is provided. The title can be “References” or “References for [Your Name].”

  • Reference’s Complete Contact Information

List their full names, titles, and the companies they are affiliated with. If your reference prefers to use post-nominal letters, such as CPA, MD, or Esq, use it.

  • Your Contact Information

Don’t forget to include your name and contact details. Since you are sending the reference page separately from your resume, you need to make sure the hiring manager properly and easily identifies your document.

tips on how to make a reference page for job application

4. Check, Edit, and Proofread Your Reference Page

Lastly, check for accuracy. Make sure that every bit of info is correct. It’s easy to get a typo error on details like phone numbers so check it twice, thrice, or even four times if you have to.

Also, check if the names got spelled correctly. Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn can be a helpful resource for confirming name spellings, contact info, and titles.

Sample Reference Page for a Job Application

Here’s a good example of how a reference page should look like:

Professional References

Jon Doe

982 Thomas Ave. Houston, TX 77026


[email protected]



James Griffith

Operations Manager, Sales Department

XYZ Company


City, State Zip



Ricky Cornett

Supervisor, Sales Team

123 Company


City, State Zip



Elizabeth Graydon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Texas State University


City, State Zip



You can also write a short description, one or two sentences, after each reference’s contact information to inform the hiring manager how you know or have worked with this person.

Here’s an example:

Elizabeth Graydon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Texas State University

601 University Dr, San Marcos, 

TX 78666, USA

(713) 123-4567

[email protected]

Elizabeth was my Marketing Professor in College. She was also one of my mentors for my marketing research paper in graduate school.

Wrapping Up

Many job seekers struggle with how to make a reference page for job applications. While writing it down is fairly easy, it takes time and effort to gather the information needed for your reference page.To recap, here are the golden rules you should follow when making a reference page:

  • Don’t include references in your resume but prepare it in advance.
  • Seek permission from your chosen references.
  • Get their updated contact information.
  • Double or triple-check the details. Make sure there’s no spelling or typo error.

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