Should I Include References in My Resume?

As you create a resume that is designed to catch the eye of hiring managers and boost your chances of landing the job, you may wonder whether references need to be included. While the general rule is that a reference list is not a requirement for your resume, there are times when prospective employers specifically request that you send one. In this case, you need to take care to properly format your reference list and include it where appropriate.

Creating a Reference List

When you format your reference list, you will start with the same heading that you used for your resume. The fact that it is your reference list should be identified under the heading, and the contact information for your references will be aligned to the left of the page.

Where to Put a Reference List

Where to include your reference list in your application packet typically depends upon the instructions that you received from a hiring manager or in a job posting. It is common for hiring managers to ask for references to be included in the back of the packet, so you will probably stack your cover letter and resume on top of your references.

Consider the fact that references are the last thing that hiring managers worry about when they are evaluating whether you would be a good match for the company. Your cover letter gives details about who you are and why you want to work for the company, while your resume details your relevant training and experience. If the hiring manager determines that you are a good match based on your details and experience, then your references will be contacted.

Informing Your References

Before you use a person as a reference, you have to ask their permission. While you could just add references without keeping people informed, they may be taken by surprise when being contacted by the prospective employer. As a result, you may get a mediocre or even negative reference from someone who would have otherwise been willing to give you a glowing review.

Once you get permission to use someone as a reference, be sure to keep them informed when you actually send their name to a prospective employer. Provide a few details about the employer and the job posting to ensure that your references are able to give feedback about how you would perform in the particular position.