The Internet has made it easier than ever for employers to check your references. Companies no longer have to wait until they have finished interviewing to begin investigating. Many job applications now request that you include your references in your resume. Even if they don’t, it’s always a good idea to have them ready to go so you aren’t surprised with a request during an interview.
Always try to get more than you need when it comes to obtaining references. You never know who will actually get around to doing it in a timely fashion. You also can’t always predict what will be written.
Request letters of recommendation from anyone you can think of that you have had a positive professional or educational experience. This would include professors, deans, employers, former employers and anyone you have done volunteer work with. You also should consider coaches and fellow athletes if you were ever involved in sports, as well as members of the clergy.
Ask your letter writers to be as specific as possible. You want them to highlight your best skills, and most positive character traits. For instance, ask them to emphasize qualities such he fact that you complete your work quickly, follow directions well, or always show up on time for work.
Deciding Which References to Use in Your Resume
Even if all of the reference letters are positive, you don’t need to include them all. References in your resume should be limited to three or four names.
Look at your reference list carefully to decide which ones are best for you to include in your resume. You’ll want to start with the letters that are from those with the highest positions and the most clout (i.e. the dean instead of the professor). You’ll also want to make sure your references are varied. For example, include one from someone who knows you well at school; another from a current or former employee; and a third from a well-respected person in the community.
After you decide which references in your resume will work best, take the time to call each person. Thank them for writing the letter and ask if it is alright for you to give out their contact information. Also ask what phone number and email they prefer to use. You don’t want them caught off guard by an inquiry from a potential new employer.
Formatting References for a Resume
If you are asked to include references in your resume, they would look best on a separate page. Include your education, work history and pertinent skills and awards on one page, followed by a reference list on page two.
You should title the page “Reference List” so there is no doubt what the list of names is for. Each reference should contain the person’s name, title, company, address, phone number (indicate if it is an office, cell or home number) and email.
Keep in mind that your resume – and the references in your resume – may need to be altered slightly as you apply for different jobs. Always tailor your references and your skills to what pertains most to the job you are applying for. LiveCareer offers a resume builder that allows you to put together a resume with references that will help you land the job you want.