Employers usually check references before making a hiring decision. Therefore, it is important to get your references together as early as possible in the job search process.
Here are some general guidelines regarding references:
- References should be your biggest supporters and fans. When contacted, you want your references to rave about you. So obviously pick people who will speak of you in a positive light.
- You should typically have 3-5 references ready and available.
- Make sure your references have agreed in advance to serve as references (i.e. write reference letters or answer phone calls concerning your candidacy).
- Never list someone as your reference unless you have their permission to do so.
- Your references should come from professionals (either academic or work related) and must be able to address your performance and professional abilities.
- Never list personal character references.
- Politely keep your references up-to-date on the progress of your job search.
- It is advisable to give each reference a copy of your resume as well (i.e. helps them to speak confidently about all of your experience).
- Always express appreciation to your references. They are doing you a favor.
- As a general rule, don't write "References available on request" on your resume. It's not necessary. Plus, it just takes up valuable space on your resume.
- Never put your references on the resume itself. Always put references on a separate sheet of paper.
- On the reference page, it is standard practice to provide prospective employers with a list of your reference's names, their contact information, their title, and the organization they are with. See references example