Job References: How to Format and Present Them
How do you deliver job references to an executive recruiter or hiring manager? To start, remove ‘References available upon request’ from your resume.
By Lisa Vaas
You’ve got glowing references. How and when do you put them in front of an executive recruiter or hiring manager? Do you send them along with your resume? Do you walk into the interview with a prepared list of references to call?
The first thing most job seekers need to do is delete the phrase, “References available upon request” from their resumes, said Mary Schumacher, a certified professional resume writer who works with Ladders . “I don’t think any resume needs this kind of statement,” she said. “It’s a cliché and not necessary to include.”
Beyond that, the rules are similar to resume-formatting guidelines: Use standard file formats and fonts, save files using keywords, and don’t lie, said Schumacher, Steven Van Vreede and Dan Dorotik, also certified professional resume writers who work with Ladders.
How to format and submit job references:
File format: Save the file as a Microsoft Word or PDF document, separate from your resume.
File name: Save your references document as either “Professional References,” “(Your Name) references” or simply “References.”
Branding consistency: To ensure your references look and feel like the rest of the documents you’ve submitted for a job application, resume writers recommend taking a cover letter and saving it as a new document titled “References” or something similarly descriptive.
Cut everything but the header, which contains your name and contact information, Van Vreede suggested. “This way, a job seeker will have a consistent, branded framework for their resume, cover letter and references, giving them a more professional appearance.”
Reference information: The list should include at least three references, preferably from your most recent employers. Include name, title, company, business address, e-mail and phone (optional).Make sure contact information is current.
Print it: Print several copies of the reference list (in case you are interviewed by multiple people) on high-quality, ivory or white resume paper for an interview, Van Vreede said.
Post it: Schumacher noted that many people have references right on their LinkedIn profiles, as quotes from bosses or customers. LinkedIn makes it easy to request recommendations simply by e-mailing those in your network; just click on Recommendations on LinkedIn’s menu.
When to submit: Provide references during the interview phase.
Submission exceptions: Submit before interviews if you’re in a field where it’s required, such as education, or if specifically asked.
Lisa Vaas covers resume writing techniques and the technology behind the job search for Ladders.