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Where On Your Resume Should You List Professional References?

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

Many online resume templates, as well as resume writing advisors will tell you to place ‘References available upon request’ on your resume, when applying to a new job. Others will tell you not to include this sentence, but instead to include references at the bottom of the resume, regardless of whether the employer has asked for them or not. The truth is – you should never list your professional references on your resume anywhere.

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What are professional references?

References are people who can back up the claims you have made in your resume and your cover letter. They are basically people you have worked for, or with, in the past, and who have witnessed your skills and achievements firsthand.

They can recommend you to your future employer, and are essentially a good thing to have, but you should carefully consider who to list and how, so that it does not backfire on you. Placing the ‘References available upon request’ sentence on a resume is redundant – the hiring managers already know that. That’s why it’s a bad idea to write your professional references on your resume, anywhere! If you're not sure how to create a professional references list for employment purposes, seek a professional resume writing service in Phoenix AZ.

Why you should "never" place references on a resume

There are a couple of reasons why you should never list references on a resume, but the three most important ones are wasting space, preparing both yourself and your references, and protecting them from crooked employers.

First reason – you’re wasting space. Any reputable top professional resume writing company in AZ will tell you that you should only list the most relevant, most important information on your resume, because you’re short on both real-estate (amount of space on your resume) and time. References are not essential to you being called in for interviews and they’re particularly not essential in the first step. Also, employers will more likely want you to bring that information with you to the interview, if you pass the first interview stage.

Second reason – it gives you and your references time to prepare. If the hiring manager decides to ask you for references, it gives you time to react. First, you can choose a couple of highly relevant and most recent references. Second, it gives you time to call your professional references first and let them know the hiring manager will be calling them. This also gives your former employees and / or colleagues time to prepare.

Third reason – protection. There are people out there who will abuse the privilege of getting your references’ contact information. Your previous employers might be people of particular interest to them, which might even turn your references against you. Be jealous and vigilant with your references, and use that information wisely.

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Where and when to list your references

References should only be provided per request. You should carefully consider which references to list, keeping in mind the position you’re applying for. Consequently, if you’re not providing a list of references together with a resume, it should be sent as a separate attachment/document.

What information should you include on a professional reference list?

A reference list is a very simple, straightforward document. It needs to have all the necessary information so that the hiring manager knows exactly who you worked with / for, what you did, where you were located and what your relationship with the referred person is.

Make sure to include the following items on your professional references list:

  • Name (name of the person you’re referring to)

  • Job Title (the title of the job they held/hold)

  • Company (Company name)

  • City, ST (Company address)

  • Phone

  • Email

  • Relationship (Your relationship with the person you’re referring to – for example manager, professor, friend, etc.)

What format should your professional reference list be in?

As usual, that file should be in an MS Word (.docx) format, with one of the standard fonts. If you’re unsure which fonts to use on your resume and professional reference list, hire the largest and most established professional resume writing company in Arizona.

Always start the document with your first name and last name, followed by your address, phone and email. Make sure to title it ‘REFERENCES’, so that there is no confusion what the file is about. The file name itself should also contain the word ‘references’, together with your first and last name. Every item on the list should be placed in its own row, so that you have enough space to fit it all, and still make it look nice and tidy.

If you’re serious about the job, submit a professional reference list to the employer

A reference list file is an important element in your job seeking efforts, and should not be neglected. If you are a serious candidate, chances are your hiring manager will ask for your references, so make sure to create a simple and straightforward document, and to provide all the necessary information. There are many steps where you can prove your professionalism and expertise, and properly handling the references list is one of them.

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