In this article, you will learn how to list references on a resume from step-by-step writing guides. See the reference-request email template and the examples of references on resume below, to write the most professional reference list on your resume.


What are references on a resume?

References on a resume are details of professional contacts who have previously worked with the candidate at school or at work. A recruiter might contact a few of the referees on the job applicant’s reference list, to gain further information about the candidate’s work ethic, professionalism, and personality.

Why are references important on a resume?

Mostly for the reason that strong references confirm the details provided on a resume and offer the recruiter an overall view about a potential hire. 

How important are references on a resume?

Adding references to your resume is not recommended except that it is specifically requested on the job posts or by the recruiters.

Here’s the reason.

Including your personal references on resumes can take up valuable “resume space” which a candidate should be using to highlight his/her qualifications and experience. Therefore, it is best to provide references to a recruiter once an interview has been conducted and references are asked for.

When should I put references on my resume?

If a job post specifically requests for references, then including your references on your resume is vital for a chance to be shortlisted. 

Some of the job seekers might be wondering, why don't you need to put "references available upon request" on your resume? It is not necessary to include “references available upon request”, as most of the companies will request for references if a candidate is interviewed and being considered for the position.

💡 Do note that due to cultural differences in recruitment among countries, references might not be necessary during the entire job search process in some cases. Job seekers need to pay close attention to the requirements & instructions on the job posting.

Another aspect to consider is the company’s culture. A traditional company would appreciate a resume that ends with “references available upon request”. While a modern company would request for references at the latter end of the hiring process, once a candidate is selected to further proceed with the interview process.


How to list references on a resume?

How to format references on a resume?

If you have made up your mind to include references on your resume, the reference section should be put at the end on a resume, as it is a part of a resume that a recruiter will only consider to read after fully reviewing a candidate’s credentials and experience.

When including references on a resume at the end of a resume, aim to include a minimum of two to three references. A reference section on a resume should provide the same information for each reference and follow the same format as the resume, in terms of font, structure, and tone.

Please refer to the resume references format below.

Example: resume references section format

NameCurrent positionContact infoRelationship 
Tim CookApple / CEO(012) 345-6789 /
tim.cook@apple.com
Direct supervisor

Creating a separate job references page can be a great way to organize your personal references on resume when recruiters request for the information. In this instance, ensure that your resume references format and style is the same as your resume. Often the job references page will be emailed to a recruiter when it is requested, together with another copy of your resume.

Please refer job references page format below.

Sample: reference page format for resume

  • Name of reference: Tim Cook
  • Title: CEO
  • Company: Apple
  • Company Address: Cupertino, California, United States
  • Contact number: (012) 345-6789
  • Email Address: tim.cook@apple.com
  • Relationship to the candidate: Direct supervisor
  • Reference’s opinion about the candidate: “It is my great pleasure to work with Kevin. He is intelligent and resourceful, and always keen with new technologies.”

You might wonder which resume references formats works the best. Here are the pros and cons of including references as a reference section on a resume or as a separate reference page.

Including a reference section on a resume has the following pros and cons:

Pros

  1. All your details are in one place – Adding your references in your resume, will provide a recruiter with all the information needed to short list your resume and guide it through the hiring process.
  2. Your recruiter may know your references – In some instances, recruiters may know or previously worked with your references, which may help candidates to get noticed and as a result shortlisted.

Cons

  1. Your resume may look cluttered.
    The space on a resume is limited. Hence, including 2 or more character references can create a cluttered resume, where important details can be missed by the reader.
  2. Recruiters reaching out to a reference prior to an interview.
    Some recruiters may contact a reference on a resume, prior to an interview. If a reference is not fully informed about the call/email, references may provide inaccurate information that may hinder the candidate’s chances of being interviewed.

Including a separate reference page for a resume has the following pros and cons:

Pros

  1. Your resume will look professional and uncluttered.
    Attaching your references on an additional page, can give the candidate more space on their resume for professional and personal details.
  2. You can provide additional details about your references.
    A separate reference sheet for a resume, can give the candidate a chance to explain their relationship to the reference as well as provide details about projects they have worked on together.

Cons

  1. You will require more references – An additional reference sheet, will mean additional space. Therefore, in this instance candidates would be expected to provide a minimum of 4 references or provide additional details on each reference.

Where to put references on a resume?

When including character references in your resume, consider adding them at the end of your resume, after your personal profile, qualifications, and work experience details. This will give recruiters the chance to decide whether they would like to read or omit this section, once they have read through your qualifications and work experience.

If you opt for a separate reference page for your resume, include it as a separate sheet. However, your reference page should follow the same format and structure as your resume. A separate reference page could be sent to a recruiter once references are requested.


How to write references on a resume?

 What information to put for references on a resume?

 5 essential references details to be included on a resume:

  1. Your reference’s first and last name.
  2. Your reference’s professional title.
  3. The company/institution he/she works for.
  4. Your reference’s phone number.
  5. Your reference’s email address.

5 optional references details to be included on a resume:

1.    Your reference’s work address.

2.    Your relationship with your reference.

3.    How long you have known each other.

4.    The projects you have worked on together.

5.    A few lines from a letter or a statement that your referral has written about you.

 What to avoid while listing references on a resume?

  • Inaccurate reference contact details.
    Providing inaccurate contact numbers or email addresses will mean that a recruiter will not be able to reach a reference.
  • Not providing sufficient references on a resume.
    Including a single personal reference on a resume will mean that a recruiter will not be able to gather sufficient information about a candidate’s professional and general background. Aim to include two or more references, depending on your position and experience. Always include current character references in a resume from recent positions you have held.
  • Providing references that may not have a positive online footprint.
    Often recruiters will Google a reference to check if details provided are accurate. If a reference has negative information online, chances are that they would be deemed as unreliable. To avoid such instances, always Google your references and assess the first few links that arise, before adding them as a reference.

 How many references to put on a resume?

The number of references a candidate has to include would depend on the job title, the candidates experience level and any specific details requested by the recruiter.

In the case of a reference section on a resume, as space is limited, aiming for two references is sufficient. If on the other hand, a candidate chooses a separate reference page for a resume, it is ideal to include at least 4 references. A separate job references page will also provide the candidate the space to include additional details about a reference and their working relationship.


Who to put as references on a resume?

Who are the best people to put as references on a resume?

For freshers (fresh graduates)

  • Professors & advisors
    References on a resume for fresh graduates should include professors and educators, whom the candidate has closely worked with and those that can attest to the candidate’s professionalism.
  • Internships or part-time work supervisors/colleagues
    If a candidate has worked as an intern, a reference section on a resume can include a coordinator or manager who was their direct report.
  • Friends & family members
    A fresh graduate’s professional reference list can also include friends as long as the candidate has previously worked with them in a professional academic or work setting.

 

For experienced job seekers

  • Current or previous supervisors
    If a candidate is working and has informed their immediate boss that they are looking for work, the resume references can include their current boss. This can be followed with a candidate’s previous supervisors with whom they have had a positive working relationship.
  • Current or previous coworkers
    It is a good idea to include a current or previous coworker on a job reference page as it provides an overall view of a candidate. In this instance, including either the coworkers at a lower (e.g. one who directly reports to you) or higher positions than you is a great way to define your work ethic.

How to ask for a reference? (reference request email format & writing tips)

Writing tips for reference request emails:

  • Tone
    When writing to request for references on resumes, ensure that the writing tone is appropriate for the position that the reference holds and your working relationship with them. For example, if you are contacting a professor or a previous boss, write in a formal tone and avoid personal details.
    Avoiding personal details to keep the email short and formal, as most often a boss will be short on time or their emails may be read by a personal assistant. If on the other hand you are contacting a work colleague for a character reference for your resume, your email could take a casual & personal tone.
  • Attach a recent resume
    Most often references may forget significant details about a coworker, therefore attaching a recent resume will jot their memory and help them recall important facts about the candidate.
  • Include a contact number
    Always include a contact number in your reference request email, just in case a reference needs to reach you regarding the reference process.

Reference request email samples

Hi / Dear (Name),

depending on the work relationship

Hope you are well.  

I am currently looking for work and would like to require your permission to include you as a reference on my resume.

I chose you as a potential reference since we have worked together for many years, and I know that you would have a good understanding of my work ethic and abilities. I have also attached a recent copy of my resume for your kind consideration.

 If you wish to contact me, please reach me on (contact number).

Hope to hear from you soon.

Warm Regards,
 (Name)


10+ References on Resume Examples

1. Samples: resume references section 

Mr. John Smith

Title: General Manager
Company: McCallan’s logistics PLC
Company Address: McCallan’s logistics PLC Building, Washington DC.
Contact number: 011-555 4321
Email Address: john@mccallen.com
Contact number
: 222- 54678192

2. Examples: resume references section 

Name of referenceCompany & TitleContact number & EmailRelationship to the candidate
Mrs. Jenny LabroidGE Group /
HR Manager
(545) 326-4724 /
jenny@generalelectric.uk
Recent boss

3. Example: resume reference page 

Mr. Jacob Pereira

  • Title: Human Resources Manager
  • Company: Majestic Appliances Group
  • Company Address: 44, Rampart road, East Hampshire, London
  • Email Address: jacob@majestic.uk
  • Contact number: 222- 54678192
  • Relationship: Jacob was my boss for over 4 years at Majestic Appliances, when I was working as a Human Resources Executive.
  • Endorsement statements: “Jill has been an asset to the department. During our time together, Jill demonstrated excellent talents in communication and interpersonal skills.”

4. Sample: reference page for resume

Mr. Greg Green

  • Title: Marketing Manager
  • Company: Sainsbury Group
  • Company Address: 22, Makelmore Street, James Road, London
  • Email Address: greg@sansbury.uk
  • Contact number: 111 - 5689 0021  
  • Relationship: Greg was part of my Marketing Team and he directly reported to me for over 2 years, when I was the Group Marketing Manager.
  • Endorsement statements: “Sara was a pleasure to work with. She always made sure the team was well informed on projects, which helped our team meet deadlines and exceed expectations at work.”
  • 5. Resume reference page example

    Mr. Radley Shaw / Group Facilities Manager @ Hilton Hotels

    Contact info - 
    Radley@hiltonhotels.uk / 011- 9998796 

    Relationship
    Radley was my immediate boss for 1 year when I was working as a Facilities Executive for Hilton Hotels.

    Endorsement statements - 
    “Nick was a hardworking Facilities Executive, who always went the extra mile to ensure projects met deadlines. I was sad to see him leave and hope he will join Hilton once again.”

    6. Reference page for resume sample

    Ms. Chad Andrews (Restaurant Manager at Shangri-La London)

    Contact info: chad@shangrila.com (email) / 066 - 567892177 (mobile)

    Relationship: Chad was my direct manager at Shangri-La for over 5 years.

    Extract from the  reference letter: “Kai worked with me and my team at the Golden Globe Restaurant Shangri-La. He was a hardworking server who had excellent customer service skills.” 

    7. Resume references example

    Mr. Sam Smith (The Branch Manager when I was working as a Branch Executive for London Telecom)

    Current title & company: Branch Manager / London Telecom

    Contact information: 099- 33445566 (mobile) / sam@londontelecom.com (email)

    Endorsement statements: “Henry was a hardworking, skilled Branch Executive who always found ways to upsell while maintaining excellent customer relationships.”

    8. References on resume sample

    Referee: Ms. Jane Rogers 

    Current title & company: Administration Head @The London Eatery

    Contact information: 044- 67892351 (mobile) / jane@londoneatery.com

    Relationship with the referee: 
    Jane was an Administration Executive, when I was working as a Junior Accountant at the London Eatery. 

    Endorsement statements: 
    “Shane was at The London Eatery when I joined the company. He was very helpful with guiding me through the standards and procedures at The London Eatery.” 

    9. References on resume example

    Mr. Michael James (Editor at The London Times)

    Company address: 4, Rover Road, London

    Contact info: 055- 88997700 / michael@thelondontimes.com

    Relationship: 
    Michael hired me for The London Times as a senior writer and I have worked with him for over 7 years.

    Endorsement statements: 
    “Ben has been a Senior writer with my team for over 7 years. He has produced award winning articles for The London Times and has won numerous prizes for his work.”

    10. Resume references template

    Ms. Cary Russell

    • Current position: Salon Manager @ Style Craze Salons
    • Contact info: 022-567 891 / cary@stylecraze.com
    • Relationship: I have worked under Ms. Cary for over 10 years at Style Craze Salons as a Stylist.
    • Endorsement: “Greg is a talented stylist and has been recommended and requested by a number of our clients for his talent and consistency of work.”