Resume References

Resume references can make or break your career job search. Employers assume references will be provided upon request, so don't list them in your resume. The reason for this is that contacts change frequently. In addition, employers may keep resumes on file for several months and reference information can become stale during this time. By keeping a separate list, you have an opportunity to ensure contact information provided is current.

How To Format Your Resume References

The best way to format a references list is a simple columned list. This serves two purposes. For one, it's easy for you to maintain. Two, it provides a lot of space for an employer's staff to make notes as she calls. Professional contacts include people you have worked with, including co-workers. Professional references can comment on your work ethic and workplace attitude. Personal references might include close friends or non-immediate family. These references may comment on your individual personal character. Having both types of references on your resume helps give your potential employer a balanced view of your traits. Here's one suggestion for a reference list format:

References of John Zee

111 Address, City, ST, Zip Code, Phone, Cell Phone, E-Mail

Professional Contacts

Name

Position/Title

Company

Company address

Phone

Cell phone

E-Mail

How Long Known

Capacity

Relationship

Personal Contacts

Name

Professional Title

Home Address

Phone

Cell phone

E-Mail

How Long Known

Relationship

The list itself shouldn't be more than 2-3 pages. Use a font that can be easily read or scanned, such as Times Roman or Courier. Keep the font size at 12.

Lists for Your Records Only

Create a list of your reference contacts that is just for your use. If it's been a while since you provided your reference list to a potential employer, contact your references before you add them to your employer reference list to make sure they are still willing to be on your list. To create your personal reference sheet, list everyone you know and do your homework before you call. Write down names of former or current co-workers, supervisors, bosses, customers, clients, gatekeepers, secretaries, customer service reps, sales reps, company owners or any other business and professional contacts. List every potential contact you know, because you'll be surprised as to who will say "Okay" and who will decline. Use contact information listed below as a tool to refresh both your memory and that of your contact's:

Name
Position/Title
Company
Company address
Phone
Cell phone
E-Mail
Date met
Where
How Long Known
Capacity
Relationship casual or professional

When you call your contact, ask her how she prefers to be contacted. Can you list her business phone or would she prefer calls on her cell? The same with email. Business or personal? Some folks don't like to be contacted at the office for a variety of reasons. And with email accounts now being monitored, it's not a good idea to have personal requests flowing into somebody's business email account.

Keep References Updated

When you're actively searching for employment, update your list at least once every four-to-six weeks. Go through your list of contacts and get updated information. At the very least, you'll re-establish contact with your business and professional associates, which could lead to a job lead opening at a company you haven't considered. And touching base with your friends is always a good thing.

Resume References