How to Write a Reference Page
By Stacie Heaps
Including a reference page (a document that contains a list of your references) with your résumé is essential. Your references are individuals who know you fairly well and who can vouch for your ability to work hard and do well at a position for which you are applying. It is becoming increasingly more common to include a separate reference page with the résumé, rather than including the references on the résumé itself. Among the benefits for doing so are that this allows more room on your résumé and, because the references are on a second page, this gives you space to explain your relationship to the people you are using as references (see below for example sentences).
When you include a reference page with your résumé, you make contacting your references easier for the person reviewing your application. If you merely include the statement "References available upon request" at the bottom of your résumé and the person has to track you down and get the information from you in order to contact your references, he or she may not feel that doing so is worth the extra effort. For this reason, it is important that you make the effort to find good references and that you likewise take the time to prepare a reference page and include it with your résumé.
Eight Tips for Creating Successfull Reference Pages
As you create your reference page, follow these tips:
- You should generally include three to six references on your reference page, and most of those should be people you know on a professional level.
- Always make sure to ask permission from potential references before including them on your reference page.
- Organize your references so that your strongest contact or contacts are first.
- Your professional references can include, for example, former or current employers or managers, co-workers, colleagues in your field, and professors or deans.
- If you feel it is appropriate to do so (particularly if you don't have many professional references yet), you could include a couple of personal references, as well, such as ecclesiastical leaders, classmates, members of community organizations for which you have volunteered, and the like. If the person is part of a community or civic organization, include his or her contact information within that organization.
- Give a copy of your résumé to those that you include as references so that they will be familiar with your qualifications, experience, education, and so forth. Reviewing your résumé will jog their memories if it has been a few years since you worked with them, and it will help them to be prepared for questions when they are contacted by your potential employers.
- Whenever feasible, let your references know the job you are applying for or at least the type of position you are seeking.
- This should go without saying, but before including someone as a reference, make sure that he or she will give you a positive recommendation.
Format of the Reference Page
On your reference page, you should first include your contact information. If your contact information is in a header format on your résumé, duplicating that format adds a nice continuity to your reference page.
Next, you should include the name, company name or department, title or position, address, and telephone number of your references. You could also include the person's e-mail address, if he or she gives you permission to do so. As you draft your reference page, make sure that this information is accurate so that potential employers can easily contact your references.
Finally, under the person's contact information, include a sentence explaining how you know the person.
The reference page is an important addition to your cover letter and résumé, so treat it as such. Writing a reference sheet and including it with your résumé is one way to show that you are prepared and professional, and, again, it may make the difference between whether or not you are granted an interview or hired for a position.
Sample Reference Page
1234 Sunrise Circle
Fairview, CA 44332
John D. Boss
Supervisor, XYZ Corporation
555 Sunny Way
Sunset, CA 12345
John was my supervisor when I worked at XYZ Corporation (my most recent place of employment).
Jessica Z. Webb
Managing Director, ABC Enterprises
222 Simon Street
Sunny City, CA 33333
Ms. Webb is the managing director of ABC Enterprises, where I worked for almost five years.
Professor Danielle Williams, Ph.D.
Business Department, Doe University
555 Commerce Way
College Town, CA 12333
Professor Williams was one of my professors as well as my academic advisor while I attended Doe University.
Director, Doe City Chapter of the United Way
333 Johnson Boulevard
Doe City, CA 77889
Lynn is the director of the local chapter of United Way, where I have served as a volunteer for the past three years.