Selecting References for Your Resume
If you are applying for a job, it is likely that you will need to provide some references for your potential employer to contact. Some applicants will choose to list their references directly on their resume. Others will choose to have a separate sheet with references to give to the employer. What you prefer is up to you. If your resume has some extra space, you might want to consider adding the references to fill it up, but most employers recommend putting them on a separate reference list.
Try to include at least three references on your resume. Start by making a list of individuals who would present you positively to a prospective employer, preferably choose those who can discuss your work habits. If you are unsure about what the reference would say about you, have one of your friends call them and get a reference. Keep in mind that employers will usually only answer very basic questions, such as dates of employment, position, and reason for leaving. Some might also give you the salary and whether or not you are eligible for rehire. If you are going to screen one of your references, make sure to keep it simple, professional, and brief.
So, who should you get a reference? Here are a couple ideas:
Supervisors (past or present)
Co-workers (past or present)
Professors or teachers
Other business acquaintances
Avoid listing clergy members and friends if possible.
Make sure that you ask permission of the reference before giving out their name. Some people may not feel comfortable answering questions about you, and you should be prepared to respect this request. You might also want to consider sending your references a copy of your most current resume. Also, don’t forget to thank them for being a reference.
One myth about references is that nobody calls them. It may be true that the company that you are applying for the job with won’t call them, but it is very probable that someone will call them. There are employment verification companies that exist for the sole purpose of verifying the information that you provide to employers. One example of such a company is The Work Number. Make sure that you are completely honest when you list your employer, position, dates employed, salary, and job duties. Assume that every employer will verify every sentence on your resume.
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