How To Put References on a Resume (With Template & Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 28 August 2022 | Published 26 June 2021

Updated 28 August 2022

Published 26 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

During your job search, you may be required to provide references. Professional references are a list of contacts that your potential employer uses to get a third-party opinion on your skills, job performance and values that you would bring to their organisation. Knowing how to put references on a resume can help you communicate your best professional attributes to the employer. In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide on how to put references in a resume with a template and a few examples.

Related: What Are References? (Types, Benefits And Examples)

What Is A Reference On A Resume?

A reference on a resume lists the contact and background information of professionals with whom you have previously worked. An employer may contact people on your list during the hiring process to learn more about you and the kind of employee you are. Usually, employers rely on these references and background checks to fact-check your resume, interview answers and verify details of your work history. So, it is a good idea to know how to put references on a resume and it is required to include contact details of credible people who speak highly about your accomplishments, character, work ethics and qualification.

Here are people entry-level professionals and fresh graduates can ask to be a reference:

  • Teachers and professors

  • Coaches and leaders

  • Contacts from volunteer work

  • Employers from your internship

Experienced professionals may be able to use the following as references:

  • Former colleagues and employees

  • Former supervisors and managers

  • Industry colleagues

Those who are freelancers or seasoned professionals could ask these people to be a reference:

  • Past employers

  • Supervisors and managers

  • Professional mentors

  • Business or project partners

Related: What Is a Reference Letter? (With Tips and Example)

Why Are References Important?

While your resume carries every detail about you, employers prefer talking to someone who can attest and vouch for your skills and working habits. These references help an employer ensure that they are hiring the right candidate for the company and team. For example, suppose an employer is hiring for a role that demands punctuality and the ability to address conflicts. In that case, they might prefer talking to your previous or current supervisor to understand your behaviour.

How To Put References On A Resume?

Use these five steps when you put references on your resume:

1. Determine the number of references to include

The number of references you want to include in your resume depends on your work experience. For example, when you apply for a senior role, you may put a long list to showcase contacts from different points in your work experience. But, if you apply for an entry-level position, you may need a list of two to three people. Often, employers mention the number of references required in the job description.

Related: How Long Should a Resume Be?

2. Set up your reference page

In general, it is a good practice to list all your references on a separate page. This page is usually the last page of your resume. Also, when writing such a list, ensure you maintain consistency with font style, font size, margin and colour scheme across your resume. This showcases your professionalism.

3. Mention your personal details

Before listing the contact details of your references, try to include your details on the page. You can include your name, address, phone number and email address as it appears on your resume. Just below your details, add a title to your page. The title could be “Professional references” or “References.”

Related: How To List Certifications on a Resume (With Examples)

4. Arrange references to your advantage

While it is advisable to use them in chronological order, you can always arrange them to your advantage. List those contacts first, which give you a competitive edge over others. When arranging the contact details, list them based on the following:

  • People who work in the same industry as the job you are applying to.

  • People who can best highlight your skills based on the requirement of the job.

When mentioning your references, always consider the length of your relationship with that individual. Usually, people with whom you share a long relationship are more likely to provide better feedback on you and your job performance. When creating a list of such people, you can write the length of your relationship with them as it helps you narrow down the best options to add to your resume.

Related: How to Write a Recommendation Letter (With Examples)

5. Decide on how to send your reference list

You are required to send your list only when the job description explicitly requests references in your resume. Otherwise, wait until the employer requests you to send one. Also, never mention “references available upon request” in your resume. If an employer requires it, they might ask you regardless of whether you put this line. So, you can save space in your resume by not including this line.

Related: How To Prepare for a Job Interview

Tips For Listing References On A Resume

When listing your references, follow these tips:

  • Ask permission: it is a basic courtesy to ask permission from each person you want to put on your list. You can send them a copy of your resume so that both of you are in harmony when your potential employer calls.

  • Choose based on the job: it is always good to mention people who give testimonials based on the job description and requirement of the job role. For example, if you want to show your leadership skills, give details of people you managed in your previous jobs.

  • Do not put details of family members: employers rarely prefer names of your family members as references. This is because your family member's opinion is unrelated to your resume. Additionally, it might appear that you do not have enough people to confirm your job performance and qualities.

  • Avoid people you have conflicts with: it is best to avoid people with whom you have had a professional conflict in your previous job. You never know whether these people hold a grudge against you. It can spoil your impression.

  • Never make it a part of your resume: never place your testimonials on the first page. Always create a separate page and attach it to your resume.

  • Keep your list updated: creating and maintaining an updated list is important because it is a key strategy for a successful job search. So, keep your list updated by contacting them now and then. There is no point in sharing an out-of-service phone number of a reference as it makes you look unprofessional and reduces your credibility.

  • Make sure the references are comfortable: this is useful, especially if they are someone with whom you are currently working. Make sure that they are comfortable with you searching for a new job.

  • Never include the personal email address: it is not a good practice to share the personal email address of your references. They might not prefer sharing all of their information. So, always include their business email.

  • Send a thank you: After the hiring process is over, you are required to thank your references for assisting you in your efforts to find a new job. Whether you call, email or send them a text message, expressing gratitude is always essential.

Related: 10 Resume Writing Tips To Help You Land a Job

Template For Writing References On A Resume

It is always a good idea to list your references based on the chronological order, starting with the person you worked with recently. Here is a template of how you can format them:

[Your name]
[Phone number]
[Email address]

Professional References:

[First and last name of the reference]
[Professional job title and company]
[Company address]
[Phone number]
[Email address]

[Reference description that mentions when and where you worked with them.]

Examples Of Resume References

Consider these resume reference examples as an inspiration when creating your own:

Example 1

Vivek Jain
Associate Director, Clitch Rating
Amandeep Tower-2, 45-52,
Tolstoy Road, New Delhi 110001

Vivek was my manager while working as a credit analyst for Clitch Rating from 2018 to 2020.

Example 2

Poonam Gupta
Senior Manager-II, Suchi Soya Private Limited
405, Part C-3, Gagandeep Tower, 9th Floor
Ajay Nagar, Indore 452020

Poonam was my colleague while working as a senior sales manager for Suchi Soya Private Limited from 2015 to 2019.

Example 3

Rajiv Sharma
Associate Professor, Superior Business School
45, Block 7, Sector 5, Rajendra Nagar
Ghaziabad 201008

Rajiv Sharma was my brand management professor when I was enrolled in the MBA course at Superior Business School.

Example 4

Madan Sachdeva
Associate II, FanMerg Industries
Sandar Embassy Business Park
Building G3, Tower 2, Bengaluru 560067

Madan was my supervisor when I interned at FanMerg for six months.

Related: How to Write A Referral Letter (With Sample And Example)

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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