Resume references, or references for your job search, are a pretty straight forward part of the job hunting process. The first thing to remember is to keep them separate from your actual resume. Your references go on their own page.

Keep it in the same style as your resume – same nice paper, same font, with your name and contact information across the top, identical to your resume itself. The heading under your name should be, simply, “References.”

Resume References

Never include your reference sheet with your resume, unless you are specifically asked to do so. Also, don’t include the line “references available upon request” on your cover letter or resume. It’s redundant, since if you’re applying for a job, it’s implied that you can provide references.

Now, who should your resume references be? Ideally, they should be three to five people with whom you have worked closely, who will be able to give positive examples of your skills, work ethics, and personality.

Resume References

Former managers and bosses who were pleased with you are the best references, although clients and vendors with whom you had a good working relationship are also impressive. Coworkers can be great references, too. Just make sure you choose people who can speak eloquently about your attributes.

It should never be a surprise to someone that you’ve used them as a reference. Always call ahead of time and ask them if they’d be willing to act as a reference for you. Be sure to provide an “out” for them, in case they are not comfortable doing so, and don’t be angry with them if that’s the case. Simply move on to the next person on your list.

Resume References

Keep your references handy when you’re applying for jobs in person or going for interviews. Almost all job applications (which you will be required to fill out!) ask for references.

Lastly, once you have received a job offer, thank your references. Send them a nice, handwritten thank you note, or better yet, take them out for lunch or a drink to show your gratitude. Basic manners go a long way in the business world, and they will keep you on good terms with your resume references.