Reference List Template and Tips

As I have mentioned in previous posts, your references are people who can verify the experience and skill set that you have on your resume.

Employers usually will not ask for references until they invite you in for an interview and decide that they might want to hire you.

Typically, you will want to have around 3 or 4 references.

However, if you are applying for a senior position, you should consider having 5-7 references.

Most of your references should be what we call professional references.

That is, supervisors, managers and other forms of superiors.

However, it can behoove you to add what we call personal references as well.

That is, co-workers, teachers, coaches and anyone else who has known you for a long time and can attest to your personality and skill set.

Do NOT use a family member as a reference.

Here are a few reasons why.

1.) They are biased

Even if you believe that your family member can give you an unbiased reference, the hiring manager will likely assume that any positive feedback made on your behalf is a product of nepotism (favoring relatives in the workplace).

2.) They do not know how you work

Unless your family member has worked with you, he/she does not know how you act or work in a professional setting.

He/She might highlight your positive personality attributes, but that does not always equate to your working habits and abilities.

3.) It looks bad

Ironically, using a family member as a professional reference makes you look unprofessional.

The hiring manager will wonder why you could not find anyone else to put in a good word for you.

The last thing you want is for an employer to question your integrity before getting to know you.

Parting Pro-Tips

1.) Always ask before putting someone on your reference list.

It is important that he/she is comfortable vouching for you.

You also want to make sure that his/her contact information is still up-to-date

2.) When you list your references, make sure that you indicate his/her relationship to you as well as that individual’s phone number and email.

You want to make your information as clear as possible for the hiring manager.

3.) Always inform your references when you are applying for work.

That way, they will keep an eye on their email and voicemail inboxes.

Simple Reference List Template

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