As you search for work, you’ve probably heard the words “reference list.” But what is this mysterious list? What do you include in it? Is it a requirement for every resume? Read on to find out more.
Reference List Explained
A reference list provides employers with some of your professional contacts. In a way, it helps employers perform a background check on you—they talk to your professional contacts and ask some pointed questions about your work history.
A reference list is a separate document that you include during the job-application process. Some job seekers include references on their resumes, but it’s best to keep this document completely separate.
How to Write a Reference List
A reference list is simply a list, and it looks like an entry in an address book. It contains specific information related to your chosen references so that your employers can contact them directly. A reference list should contain between two to four references and should follow this format:
Name of reference (John Smith)
Company where you worked together (Computers Inc.)
Phone number (555-755-5555)
E-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Relationship to applicant (Former coworker)
Remember, your reference list is a separate document from your resume. Therefore, create the reference list if you know that the job(s) you’re applying for require references, or if you feel that enabling your employers to talk to your references might strengthen the information on your resume.
Is a Reference List Required?
Depending on the job, the company, and the application requirements, including a reference list might not be necessary. In general, you shouldn’t include a reference list unless the job application requires it, the hiring manager requests it, or the job application allows you to submit additional documents.
What Else Is Required?
According to most human resource representatives, a well-written resume and cover letter are the most important components of your job application. So once you take care of your reference list, double and triple check these documents to make sure they’re 100 percent perfect. And pay careful attention to the following guidelines:
– Include a summary/objective statement.
– List career achievements.
– List your jobs in proper, chronological order.
– Don’t repeat information more than once.
– Make sure all information in your resume is related to your summary statement and the target job.
– If possible, use full employment dates and addresses of your previous employers.
If you want, you can include a statement near the bottom of your resume that tells employers you have a “reference list available upon request.” Sometimes, including this statement will give credibility to the information in your resume. But again, this isn’t necessary. Most employers expect that you’ll deliver references once requested.