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Format for References in a Resume

When putting together employment references for your resume, the first thing you should know is that a separate references page is preferable to including your references directly on the resume document itself. In addition to making a more professional presentation, a separate references page lets you change the references you use on a case-by case basis depending on the job you're targeting without having to redo your resume with each submittal.

Format for the References Page of a Resume

Use the same heading at the top of your references page as you use at the top of your resume. Just "cut and paste" your resume heading to the top of a new page. If you do the same with your cover letter, you'll have an attractive and professional-looking package. Center the heading "References" an inch or two below your top heading. Below that, list your references, centered on the page. The information about your references  to include on your references page includes:

  • Name

  • Title

  • Name of Company

  • Company mailing address

  • Company telephone number

  • Company email address

What References Should I Include on My References Page?

The best references to use on your references page are those people who have direct personal knowledge of your work performance. This includes supervisors, department heads, and others who give you work assignments and who monitor/review your work efforts.

The least valuable references to include on your references page are friends and family members. Generally, they don't know anything about your work performance and their opinions about you tend to not be very objective. Don't include those at all.

Other possibilities to include on your references page include co-workers if they held positions of responsibility and business contacts at other companies if they were people you worked with as part of your job duties.

How Many References Should I Include On My References Page?

There's no right or wrong answer to how many references to include on your references page. As a general rule of thumb, three references are probably not enough and 7 are probably too many. But use your own judgment on this. Sometimes prospective employers will tell you how many and what type of references they want. If you're asked to submit references, it's OK to ask what type and how many references to include on your references page.

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