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How to Write a Reference List on a Resume

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In a job search, the references on a resume can make or break whether you get the job. Choose your references wisely and write a reference list on a resume that will ensure the professional recommendations will help you in your career path.

Write your resume for your job search. Highlight the accomplishments in your career to date. Make sure you shine. Get several sets of eyes to read your resume for typos and wording. Now is the time to make the effort to look your best on paper.

Decide who you would like to use as professional references when you write a reference list on a resume. Choose at least three people, four or five is better, who have worked with you for at least one year in some capacity. This can be in a work or job setting, in a volunteer situation or in the community.

The professional reference doesn't have to be a buddy or someone you are friends with. Choose people who know how you work and will vouch for your good character and work ethic.

Call each person to let them know you are doing a job search. Ask their permission to use their name on your resume's reference list. Listen to their response. If someone pauses or seems to be uncomfortable in any way, thank them and move on to the next possible reference. Some people may simply not want to be bothered with phone calls.

When you get an enthusiastic okay, let the reference know that you'll be using their name on your resume reference list. Ask how they would like to be contacted. Telephone or email is acceptable.

Also, let the references know what types of jobs you'll be applying for in your job search to give them a head's up so they can be prepared when they receive a call or an email.

For each professional reference you will be using, gather their name, title, phone number and email and to us on your resume.

Write the reference list on your resume. Use an easy-to-read format for the three references using the information you gathered.


Be professional and courteous when asking permission to use someone's name on your resume's reference list.


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