How to List Business References

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The references you provide a potential employer can often play a major role in whether or not you get the job you're pursuing. Employers, however, do not just pay attention to what your references say about you. They also take note of how you provide such references. Are there misspelling errors on your reference list? Did you neglect to include key information? Worse yet, are the submitted materials wrinkled and spotted? In order to make a favorable impression on your potential employer, you need to list business references correctly.

Create a reference list on a separate sheet of paper. Keep in mind that employers generally require three professional references and three personal references (See resource section for example).

Opt for an 11 or 12 point Arial or Times New Roman font.

Enter the title in bold letters, a colon, space and your name. Another option is to type your name in bold, all capital letters. Enter your address and contact information underneath the name and then double space. Enter your title, professional references, in bold all capital letters. Double space and proceed to list your references.

List your reference’s complete name and job title. Also include the company’s name, complete address, contact number and with your reference’s permission, include the e-mail address.

Include your relationship to your reference—supervisor, business associate, employer or co-worker.

Remember to single space your references; double space between references. You can left align or center your information.


When asking references for permission to use them as a reference, find out what they will say if contacted and whether they are willing to rehire you.

Use a word processor to create your reference list. Do not write it by hand. If you don’t the capabilities, ask a friend to do it for you or pay to have it done.

Print your reference list in light gray, white or off-white linen or high quality bond paper.

Once your job search is over, express your appreciation to each of your references with a thank-you note. It will help you keep your contact list up-to-date.


Make sure to remove any reference from your list if you see the possibility of negative feedback.