Many people write references on their resume when it's actually unnecessary, on the other hand, there are others who don't write references on their resume when a hiring manager actually requires them. We provide you a brief run-down on best practices with writing, or not writing your references on your resume. Plus we also provide a new idea on how to place your references into your resume.
OK, first things first.
What is a Reference?
Simply put, a reference is a person, possibly a previous employer, teacher or even a co-worker or friend that is willing to pass on a positive recommendation of your skills, achievements and overall personality to a future employer or educator.
This person of reference is then translated into written form on your resume or job application with their main contact details: Full name, company or educational institution, phone number and/or email address.
Where is a Reference Written on the Resume?
9 times out of 10 the references are written at the bottom of the resume in a new section called “References” or “Recommendations”.
As this information is not usually of primary importance compared to the bulk of your resume, especially your professional experience and education sections, it takes its rightful place at the base of your resume.
There are, however, other ways you can write your reference(s) on your resume. Consider placing your reference contact details under each job position instead. By doing this you are able to capture more valuable resume real estate as you are now not required to enter a new “References” section. It also helps the Hiring Manager who is reading your resume to easily connect each reference to the company they are listed under.
As you may imagine, Hiring Managers love to skim read through a resume first time around (if it even makes it past the automated filtering systems), so for you to make their job easier will definitely go down well with them.
When to Write References on a Resume?
Some professions are more likely to be accepting of references on the resume. These include:
- Academics: Especially professors, teachers, students applying to college or university and academic researchers, and who may even be writing functional style resumes.
- Candidates with little work experience: References help to bulk out the resume and also allow a HR Manager to find out more about your personal profile due to the lack of information on the resume
- Government positions: A resume is not usually the standard form of application for government roles but you may be expected to write your references on their application form
When NOT To Write References on a Resume?
On the other hand, if an employer explicitly states in their job description “References not required” or any words along those lines, save yourself the time and effort and refrain from using references on your resume.
As mentioned earlier, it takes up valuable space that could be put to better use writing about your stellar achievements or those additional skills that could make or break your chance for an interview.
Interestingly enough, according to The Society of Human Resource Managers, 53% of resumes and job applications contain at least one falsification.
At first glimpse of this you may expect most employers would like you to write your references on your resume, but you’d be wrong.
You see, most employers think the best reference is actually YOU, most employers are so confident in their abilities to cut the wheat from the chaff that by the interview stage alone they believe they will be able to tell if you have lied on your resume.
It is also at the interview stage that you may be asked to provide references; this is where we recommend you print your references out on a new piece of paper and bring with you to the interview, so that if you’re asked you will be prepared.
What about using “References upon Request” on a resume?
This is the equivalent to writing “I’m available for interview, upon request” or “I’ll wake up out bed an hour early to get to the interview, upon request”.
To us, there’s just no point writing this on your resume, the employer is usually fully aware they can request references from you if needed. Save the space on your resume, highlight your great qualities instead and be prepared to provide references when and if an employer requests them.
Extra Resume Reference Tips
If an employer requires references make sure to find out if they require professional references (previous employers and educators) or personal references (friends, family and possibly co-workers).
Make sure you ask permission of the references you have listed either on your resume or on your separate piece of paper. In fact, be sure to let them know a possible time range a Hiring Manager may call them, so they can be prepared to provide a glistening reference about you.
Of even more importance, check with each and every one of your references if they will provide a strong recommendation of your overall profile. The fundamental question may be do they know you well enough?
An ideal amount of references would be three personal and three professional references, but no more than that.
Best of luck at your next interview!