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Job Reference List: Who To Include, When & Examples for 2023

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References are crucial for jobs, school, and other applications. They are used to vouch for your professional skills, as well as your personality and character. They provide insight that cannot be gained by looking at a resume, cover letter, or personal essay.

As a result, it is crucial to have people to be able to call on for references if they are required promptly. The best thing you can do is stay prepared for emergencies by having a job reference list.

What Is a Job Reference List?

A job reference list is not a term you hear often in professional environments. You will hear about the need for professional and personal references when applying for jobs.

However, you are unlikely to hear many people talk specifically about job reference lists. As people learn how to better prepare themselves for applications, more people will produce job reference lists.

A job reference list is a list of references you keep on hand. They are a list of people you could ask for references if you need them.

You should include information about your relationship, what they can provide, and what type of reference is best for them to produce.

However, there are times when you must send a job reference list to an employer. Employers might want to pick and choose which references to contact.

So, they will ask for a job reference list.

Why Do You Need a Job Reference List?

Many of you will probably look at a job reference list and think it is unnecessary. After all, if you need a reference, you can ask someone without consulting a list.

However, if you are in a time pinch, it can be challenging to figure out who to ask for a reference. It is easy to make a mistake and ask the wrong person.

However, if you have a list of references, you can consult it before contacting someone to help you out.

What Is Included in the Reference List for a Job?

When producing a job reference list, it is crucial to understand what you should be including.

Without keeping your job reference list organized, it will not be very useful for you. Here are a few things you should try to insert on your job reference list.n

1. Your Name

Since you must ensure the list is available for hiring managers to view, you should include your name.

We recommend placing your name at the top of the page. It should be centered at the top of the page with your contact information below it.

You can then start listing your references.

2. Professional, Employment, Academic, and Personal References

The most obvious things to include in your job reference list are the things that relate to the references. You should fill the page with all the different types of references.

Professional recommendations are a must-have because of how often they will be asked for by hiring managers and employers. You will not find many corporate jobs that do not require you to present professional references in the hiring process.

Employment references are often needed for applications for things like houses, apartments, and car purchases. These references are proof that you are employed and receive a regular paycheque. You will need to update your employment references every time you change jobs.

Academic references are also valuable, especially for younger candidates.

These types of references are often used by people that do not have access to many professional recommendations.

People starting their careers after college or university likely do not have much work experience. As a result, they cannot deliver many professional references. Academic references from former teachers and professors make adequate substitutes.

Finally, you should have a list of personal references.

Personal references are references from family members, friends, coaches, neighbors, and other people from your personal life.

They are from people who you do not work with but have a close relationship. These references are not as valuable in the corporate world, especially for older candidates.

However, young people that are missing professional references can use personal recommendations.

3. Reference Names, Position, Relationship to You, Company Contact Info

When you list a reference, there is lots of information for you to include.

Notably, you should insert the name of the reference, followed by their position and relationship to you. You should include company and personal contact information.

Additionally, it does not hurt to insert a short blurb about what information that reference can provide to the hiring manager.

How Many References Should You List?

There is not a set number of references for everyone to have at all times. Some jobs require applicants to submit more references than others.

As a result, it is best to have a few extras on your list, just in case. However, most entry-level and standard positions will not ask for more than four references.

However, you can expect to be asked for more references as you climb the corporate ladder. Senior positions often ask candidates to submit between five and seven references.

Fortunately, by the time you are applying to senior positions, you should have an expansive job reference list.

When Should You Present Your Reference List?

It is not challenging to figure out when to send your job reference list to a potential employer. There is no need to include the list when submitting your initial application.

Employers do not look at references when they are initially going through candidates. Instead, they are focused on resumes and cover letters.

You can submit your job reference list when the hiring manager asks for it. There will be a point in the interview process when they ask for a list of references. At this point, you can send them your reference list.

You can choose to hand-deliver your reference list if you want. However, most people prefer to email their list because it is easier, and they do not have physical copies.

How Your Job Reference List Should Look

There is no one way to format a job reference list. However, several things are commonplace. Here we will discuss the ins and outs of formatting a job reference list.

How to Format a Reference List

To format a reference list, you must first compile your references. You can then get to work on formatting.

The top of your job reference list should have your name and contact information. The hiring manager needs to know whose reference list it is. You can then write Professional References in bold text.

Following the title, you can start to list your references. Some formats have one column, whereas others use two columns. Single-column formats usually have short blurbs about each recommendation.

Conversely, double-column styles tend to only include basic information. They are more compact and allow for adding more references.

Regardless of whether you include a single or double-column format, there are things you should always include.

Notably, you should include the name, position, company, and contact information of all references. You can include a short blurb for your recommendations too, but it is not a requirement.

Reference Title Examples

When you are compiling a job reference list, it is crucial to include several titles throughout the list.

Here are the titles we recommend including:

  • Your personal titles – You should include your current titles in your application if you are employed.
  • Titles of those you report to – Include all of the titles of your supervisor and others you report to at your current job.
  • Titles of all references – You should include the titles for all references on your job reference list. Even if they are a personal reference, you should include their title.
  • The title above your list of references – Finally, you should include a title near the top of the page to indicate when you start listing references.

Job Reference List Templates

When you assemble a job reference list, it is best to start by looking at a template. Here are a few templates you can follow:

  • A single-column list with a large blurb describing the frame of each reference.
  • A single-column list that only includes basic information about each reference or a short blurb.
  • A double-column list that allows applicants to list more references with only basic information included.

Sample Reference Page Examples

Here we will provide three reference list page examples. Remember, a reference list should not exceed a page.

Here are three fantastic example reference pages you can use as a baseline.

High Information, Single Column Job Reference List

Professional References of Your Name

Your Address

Your phone number and email address

Reference Frame of Reference

Name of Reference A three to four-sentence description of the reference.

Reference Title

Reference Company

Contact Information

Repeat this format until you have no more room on the page.

Single Column, Low Information Job Reference List

Your Name

Your Address

Your Phone Number

Your Email Address

Reference List

Name of reference, job title, company

Company address

Phone number

Email address

A single sentence detailing the relationship you have with the reference.

Repeat this format with other references until the page is filled.

Double Column, Basic Information Job Reference List

Your Name

Your Address

Your Phone Number

Your Email Address

Professional References

Name of Reference

Reference Title


Company Address

Phone Number

Email Address

Name of Reference

Reference Title


Company Address

Phone Number

Email Address

Keep following this double-column format until you run out of room for references on the page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions you might have before we wrap up.

Can You Use a Friend as a Reference?

Yes, you can use a friend as a reference, but only as a personal reference. Friends should not be professional references.

Who Should I Give Reference to For a Job?

You can give your job reference list to the person interviewing you. They will likely ask for references once the interview process has started.

Wrapping Up

A job reference list is a useful thing to have on hand. You can provide it to employers if they want to learn about you.

Alternatively, you can use it to make it easy to figure out who to ask for a reference.

Make sure you follow our formatting guidelines and tips while gathering your reference list.

Having your information written accurately and set up properly can make a huge difference in whether or not you land the job of your dreams.

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