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How To Write A Great Reference Page For Resumes

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Are you struggling to craft an effective resume resulting in requests for interviews? You might be missing a critical element: an impactful reference page. Many job seekers focus too much on the resume’s core and overlook this final finishing touch.

In this article, we’ll cover reference page basics, selecting the right type of references to include, and proper formatting. By the end, you’ll be ready to construct a resume reference page that will clinch the jobs you’re after.

What Is a Reference Page for a Resume?

After listing your skills, experience, and credentials, a resume should have a concise collection of credible persons and a perfectly curated reference page for people who can vouch for you professionally and personally.

A reference page attaches to resume documents to support a potential employee’s integrity, making them more desirable as a prospective hire.

Do You Need a Reference Page for a Resume?

Not all applications explicitly request a reference page, but it is crucial to prepare one since most employers will ask for references either with the initial application or during the final hiring stages.

When To Include a Reference Page With Your Resume

Provide a list of references to any employer specifically requesting one. If you are applying for a senior position, the company most likely expects a reference page with the initial application.

You can assess each application and determine whether or not to include the reference page at that stage.

Check out our guide for listing references on resumes

Who Should You Ask for References for Your Resume?

So, you’re ready to compile your list of references. How do you know the right people to include? Here are the main categories of relationships you should explore to ask to serve as references.

Professional Connections

An example of a professional connection is a client you have successfully provided services for who can offer feedback about your performance and professionalism. This works especially well for those with freelance work in their background.

Another example could be a professional acquaintance who is prominent in your industry or carries a high-profile job title that can vouch for you in more detail than just saying, “she is great.”

You can also include references from a previous internship or volunteer positions as professional connections.

Former Employers

Potential employers regard former or current bosses as the best quality reference on a reference page for resume when considering a new hire. Hiring managers value the impartial assessment a boss can give concerning someone’s conduct and work ethic.

Make sure to ask your boss ahead of time for permission to use them as a reference so they can prepare to receive the phone call. Don’t ask a boss with whom you have a contentious relationship or who has fired you. You need to list someone who can speak to your professional strengths.

Always provide a reference list of former employers, and also a cover page. Here are tips on creating a cover page. 

Former Coworkers

It is preferable to list a former manager or supervisor, but anyone who worked with you previously and can attest to your skillset qualifies. It could be a former coworker with a high-ranking title in another department or someone who worked with you in a team setting on a particular project.

Again, be careful to ask a coworker who will state positive things about your work ethic and can offer credible examples of your credentials.

Here is a breakdown of resume tips.

Personal Mentors

A personal mentor is anyone with significant professional standing who provides guidance and support on a more personal and confidential level than a boss or manager. This person does not have to work in the same industry that you work in or in the job you are trying to secure.

A beneficial mentor reference is someone with a recent and preferably long standing relationship with you who provides insight into your work ethic and the personal qualities that make you desirable as a potential hire. It could be a former coach, professor, or career counselor.

How To Add References to a Resume

Once you lock down the references to include, it’s important to present those references correctly. Here are some guidelines for constructing the reference page.

Keep the Format the Same

Consistency in formatting displays organizational and communication skills that potential employers value.

Maintain the same order of information throughout the reference list and have it match the formatting style as the rest of the resume paperwork, including font, font sizing, headers, and margins.

Check out some additional tips about adding professional references.

Include Contact Information

How is a potential employer going to reach your references without accurate contact information?

Include the reference’s full name, current job title, place of employment, company address, and the phone number and email address the reference supplies you with.

Verify the accuracy of the contact information before submitting it with a reference page to make sure the hiring managers can reach your references.

List Them on a Separate Page

Earlier, we talked about using a separate file for a reference list so that you can decide when to submit it with a resume. Even if you include the references with the rest of the resume documents, be sure to list them on a separate page.

Resumes have limited space, and you don’t want to clutter the pages with excess information making them more difficult to process. Each section of a resume should be clear and concise, leaving professional references to the end in their own category.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to the most common questions about reference pages.

Can I use a friend as a reference?

Friends can make excellent references as long as they have worked with you and can attest to your skills in a professional environment.

How should a reference page look?

Your reference page for your resume should share the same formatting as the rest of your resume documents, and you should order the references by relevance.

Place your best references at the top of the list since many hiring managers do not contact everyone.

Here are some extra points about how to make a reference page

Wrapping Up

A solid reference page can seal the deal during the final hiring stages. Choose references that are high-quality professional connections, former bosses, coworkers, or personal mentors. Provide accurate contact information and present consistent formatting on a separate page.

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