Should You Include References on Your Resume?

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Should you include references on your resume or should a list of references accompany your resume when you apply for jobs?

A list of references is a list of the people who the employer might contact to learn more information about you. These people should be able to vouch for your qualifications for a job. Sometimes an employer will contact only one person on the list, and other times an employer will contact everyone.

The employer might speak to your references via email, or on the phone.

A list of strong references is a great way to demonstrate your qualifications for a position.

If a job posting doesn't request references, the answer is simple: don't list any references on your resume or send any references with your job application.

When the job posting does request references, follow the instructions in the job posting when you submit your references. Unless instructed to do so, do not include the list on your resume. Typically, you will create a separate list of three references to send to the company.

When an Employer Requests References

In some cases an employer will request references in the job posting. For example:

Application Instructions

Applicants must submit the following documents online:

  • Resume
  • Cover letter
  • A list of three professional references with telephone numbers and email addresses

When references are required as part of the job application, send or upload a separate page with a list of references.

This list should include each reference’s name, job title, company, address, phone, and email address.

If the job listing asks you to submit a list of references but does not tell you how many you need, include three in the list. This is the typical number of references that employers want for each candidate.

How to Request a Reference

When you give out someone's name as reference, first of all, be sure that you have permission to use them as reference.

Secondly, let them know they may expect to be contacted. This will better prepare them to provide a strong recommendation for you if they are contacted.

Provide some information on the job you have applied for, so your reference can relate your experience to the job and give you the best possible reference for the job. You might also provide the person with an updated resume or list of your skills and qualifications.

If possible, select people who can speak to your skills and qualifications as they relate to the job you’re applying for. Only choose people who you know will give you a positive recommendation. These are typically employers, business acquaintances, professors, or even customers or vendors.

Sample Reference List

Below is a sample reference list. You can use it as a template for your own reference list.

Reference List

Your Name
City, State Zip
Cell Phone


Sam Wyatt
Human Resources Manager
ABC Company
City, State Zip

Louisa Christopher
Associate Director
XYZ Company
City, State Zip

Jorge Martinez
Executive Administrator
123 Company
City, State Zip

Here is another sample reference list for employment for you to use as a template.

Say Thank You

Always remember to say thank you to your references. Consider sending a handwritten thank you note or letter for a personal touch. You can also send an email, particularly if time is of the essence. Show your references that you appreciate their help in your job search.

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