Personal Development
How To List References on a Resume and When To Do So

How To List References on a Resume and When To Do So

Shiken premium Upgrade Banner

Should You Include References on Your Resume?

Including references on your resume is not always necessary, as the focus of most hiring managers and recruiters is on the skills and work experience that are outlined. Additionally, many of the Fortune 500 companies now use applicant tracking systems (ATS), which makes simpler resumes easier to process. For university students and recent graduates, references can be a way of strengthening an application.

It is advisable to always prepare a resume reference list in case a potential employer requests it. This separate document should contain the contact information for the references that have been listed.

Choosing the Right References

When customizing your resume for different job postings, not only should you use language which reflects the job description and highlights the skills and experience that have been listed, but the references you choose should, too. Choose people with whom you have a strong professional relationship and who can speak about your relevant skills, work experience, and character.

Ideally, at least one reference you choose should have direct knowledge of your work habits, such as a former supervisor. Other people you may wish to include are colleagues from a job you've had, or professors and mentors from college.

What Information Do You Need for a Reference?

When creating a resume reference list, the following information should be included for each person:

  • Name
  • Relationship to you
  • Company name
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Phone number

Tips and Tricks for Creating a Reference Sheet

It is a good idea to create a separate reference sheet to have on hand in case it is requested. The format should be similar to your resume and contain the same key information noted previously. It is recommended to ask the references in advance if you can list them, and even provide them with a copy of your professional resume so that they can be better informed to talk positively about your skills and experience.

Your reference sheet should be a separate document from your resume, but if you are attending a job fair, it might be a good idea to print several copies of both documents. Make sure that the same references and contact information are listed on both documents.

A Resume Rolodex on the Ready

Having a reference sheet and list of reliable references available to provide to potential employers can be impressive. It is a great way to demonstrate that you have cultivated professional relationships and can further verify the skills and knowledge outlined on the resume.

Consider carefully who you choose to add to the reference sheet and the information you include. Choosing the right references and carefully constructing an organized and professional sheet could be the difference between getting an interview and not.


When searching for a job, having references you can present to potential employers can be helpful. Pick references who can emphasize your strongest qualities, skills, and qualifications. Make sure to be mindful of those you work with currently, and confirm that they are aware that you are actively looking for a job. It is good practice to obtain their preferred form of contact prior to sending any reference information. Although it is nice to thank them for agreeing to be a reference, make sure to be respectful of their time and let them know ahead of time if an interview is going well.

What Information do you need for references?

When constructing a reference sheet, make sure to include the reference name, company name and job title, brief description of your relationship, the number of years you were together, company address, phone number, and email address. On a resume, space may be limited, so only include the reference name, company name and job title, and preferred form of contact.

How to Include Professional References on Your Resume

You may include 'References Available Upon Request' at the bottom of your resume. Generally, it is a good idea to provide 2-3 references on your resume and 3-5 references on an accompanying reference sheet. Be sure not to include the reference sheet with your resume, but instead, save it for when an employer requests it.

Tips for Creating an Effective Reference Sheet

Creating a reference sheet is an opportunity to promote yourself to employers. Here are a few tips to help you craft an impressive document:

  • Only include professional contact information - no personal data.
  • Keep the relationship descriptions brief and professional.
  • Include a variety of references that reflect your experiences on the resume.

Asking for Professional References

An effective reference list is a key component to getting the job of your dreams. Start by making a list of professional contacts that you feel would make great references. When asking for a reference, it is beneficial to provide some guidance as to what information you'd like them to include, such as mentioning how successful a project was or how quickly you received a promotion. By being prepared and taking the initiative, you will be sure to leave a great impression on employers.

Join Shiken For FREE

AI-powered learning tools. Create, relax, learn.

Gumbo Study Buddy

Try Shiken Premium
for Free

14-day free trial. Cancel anytime.
Get Started
Join 20,000+ learners worldwide.
The first 14 days are on us
96% of learners report x2 faster learning
Free hands-on onboarding & support
Cancel Anytime