One page. This is all jobseekers have to prove that they are the ideal candidate for the job they are applying for. That single page has to contain everything from the applicant’s personal information, skills, and past experience to studies and any relevant achievements. It’s not an easy task, but with lots of practice and the aid of the right tools it’s not impossible either.
But there are instances when jobseekers are asked to provide references so that employers can learn more about each applicant. And it’s at this point that many candidates fail due to not knowing how to properly deal with references and where to put them.
No Country for References
Unlike photos within resumes, which are allowed in some instances, the rule of thumb is that adding a list of references to the resume – or the cover letter – is strictly out of question. The reason behind this is pretty simple, since a resume is pretty limited already and adding a list of references and their contact details takes up valuable space that could be used for providing other more important information that is relevant to the desired job. And since applicants’ social media profiles are often checked during the initial screening – where former employers and workplaces are typically mentioned in some form anyway – a list of references seems completely unnecessary.
Still, there are people who think that they are cutting the Gordian knot by adding the phrase ‘References available upon request’ to the bottom of the resume. However, this isn’t a good idea at all: it’s stating the obvious, doesn’t provide any actual information, and won’t increase chances of getting hired in any way. In fact, including the phrase in the resume could even seriously damage your credibility – since there may be nothing to back up your claim – ultimately resulting in the opposite effect, namely the rejection of your application.
The Right Way of Referencing
Although the days of including references in resumes are long gone, there are still some job advertisements that require applicants to create a list of references anyway. If that’s the case then the most important rule to remember is that this list has to be either a separate document or included in the resume on a separate page.
However, while knowing where the list of references goes is one thing, knowing how to place them in a professional manner is the hard part. Thankfully, it’s not as difficult as it may seem; there are some rules to stick to in order to achieve success.
Finding the Right People
To have a really compelling list of references you first have to find the right people. Anyone from former colleagues and employers to business acquaintances can be a potential reference, provided that the chosen person is relevant to the job that you are applying for. It’s best to pick someone who is in a senior position and/or can effectively highlight your skills and achievements.
Would You Be My Reference?
This is one of the most important steps to make when putting together the list of references, because without the right people backing you up your chances for getting hired in the desired job could be gone in a millisecond. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to first contact your references and ask them whether they would be willing to give a reference for you in the first place. If the answer is yes, then tell them a bit about the job that you’re applying for and how they might relate to this job so they can properly back you up when the time comes.
However – and this is a big however – those people who won’t give permission to become a reference should not be included on the list. The same goes for potential references who cannot or are not willing to speak positively about you – and before you ask, yes, that’s sadly something that has to be taken consideration…
Making the List
As mentioned, the reference list can be a new document or a separate page of the resume itself. However, regardless of which approach is chosen, the it has to contain your name and contact information alongside the names and contact information of a maximum of three references in the following format:
- Phone or cell phone number
- Email address
Additionally, you can add the LinkedIn contacts of your references; although this may seem like a bit of overkill, it just further increases your credibility.
An Example of a Reference Page
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