It is standard practice for employers to ask for a list of individuals they can contact to learn more about you and your work or academic experience. An employer may ask for references at any point in the application process. If a job posting doesn’t request references as part of the application process, don’t include this information at this stage of your application. When the job posting does request references as part of the job application process, send a separate page with the list of references. It’s good practice to have this document prepared in advance.
Whom should I list?
- Employers typically ask for two references. You may want to have a few others on hand in case one is unavailable or an employer seeks more. Do not list family members.
- If you’re a recent graduate one of your references will likely be your academic advisor or professor.
How do I make sure the references will be good?
- Always ask potential references if you may list them.
- Give your referees a sense of what you are applying for and the required skillset.
- Send your referees an updated resume to familiarise them with your other experiences.
- Target requests and select referees appropriate to the job.
- Make sure references say good things. Not sure? Ask.
- Use a separate page and list 2-3 people with their exact title, organisation, work address, phone number and email.
- Listing your references on your resume, or saying “references available on request” is considered dated.
- Lend context by describing the referees relationship to you.
Stay in touch with your references by sending a thank-you note. Proper etiquette aside, it will help keep your contacts current.