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Resume Writing: Employment References

Updated on October 20, 2015

Employment References

The References section is the final segment on a résumé. It should list three reliable people you have worked for or with that will give you a positive recommendation to a potential employer.

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Placement and Layout

There are two options for how to present your References section. The first is to include it directly at the end of your résumé. Under the heading "References", include the person’s name, job title, the company they work for, and a phone number they can be reached at during the day. This is usually their work number, but some may prefer to list their cell phone number. It is always best to double-check with your references ahead of time to see what number they would like listed.

Reference's Name
Job Title
Phone Number

Available Upon Request

Alternatively, you could simply type the words, “Available upon request” under the Reference heading and create a separate page solely for references. In this case, you would use the exact font, format, and paper used for your résumé. Bring it with you to the interview, in case the potential employer asks for it.

Why the two options?

There are two schools of thought from professionals when it comes to listing references on a résumé.

Employment Service Providers

Employment service providers believe that adding references gives someone else the power to create your first impression with the employer. They advise against include references on a résumé and recommend instead that you bring your references to the interview separately. If you chose this option, your reference page should use the same layout and font as your résumé, including your name and contact information at the top of the page.

Other Experts

Other experts believe that including your references on a résumé can improve your chances of securing an interview and possibly even the job. They feel that your résumé is your first impression with an employer, not your references. If your résumé is sufficiently impressive, the potential employer will then contact your references which have been hand-picked to give you the best recommendation.

Employers Say ...

In fact, most employers prefer to check references before scheduling interviews and encourage applicants to include them with their résumé. With glowing recommendations from your references in their mind during the interview, some employers are more inclined to hire you on the spot if the interview goes well.

Whichever school of thought you follow regarding references, always let your references know when to expect a call from a potential employer so they can be prepared to answer questions about you.

Lastly, remember to thank your references when you are hired.

The Job Hunter's Guide

This information and more can be found in my book, The Job Hunter's Guide. This easy-to-use book will guide you through your job search process, step-by-step. It includes helpful tips on:

  • Networking and Research;
  • Informational interviews;
  • Writing resume and cover letters;
  • Preparing for a job interview;
  • Interview do's and don'ts, what to expect, how to answer difficult questions; and
  • Follow-up.

The Job Hunter's Guideincludes valuable examples and is a must have for employment service agencies, labour boards, career coaches and job hunters alike.


You can also get a free copy of Samples and References: A Companion Book to The Job Hunter’s Guide which includes worksheets and helpful checklists.

© 2011 Rosa Marchisella


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