References are very important when job hunting. They are a short list of people who can verify what you have claimed on your résumé. This will give you instant credibility with an employer. Don't use a reference unless the person has agreed to be one. You should discuss your job search goals and the specific employers who may be calling with your references.

References should be listed on a separate sheet of paper from your résumé and should be brought with you on all job interviews. This sends a message to the employer that you are a well-organized, conscientious applicant who is backed up by other reputable individuals.

Types of References

There are three main types of references. It is best if you can have several references representing the different types:

  1. Employment references include past employers and co-workers who can speak about your specific employment experience.
  2. Academic references are instructors and vocational counselors who can speak about your academic endeavors. These references are most appropriate for current students or recent graduates.
  3. Personal references are people who know you personally and can describe your personality and abilities. This would include a friend, classmate or family member. Personal references can be appropriate to complement your existing employment and academic references. The potential employer may assume a bias in the relationship; therefore, you should not use only personal references.

Select people who honestly know you and will speak objectively. Examples of good references include your current supervisor, previous boss, a co-worker, an instructor, and a program coordinator. Avoid references that may be controversial or may concern the employer. Examples of these types of references are members of the clergy, counselors, or social workers.

The reference sheet should be constructed as follows: Your name and contact information should be copied from your resume onto the top of the page of your reference sheet (your name and contact information should look exactly like your name and contact information on your résumé). Identify the document by typing the word "References" under your name and contact information. You should list 3-4 references, listing each one's name, title, company, address, and phone number. You may also include his/her email address if given permission to do so by the reference. Center or left-align data, and center the document vertically.

Other Sources

Besides providing a list of references, you can provide copies of letters of recommendation from former employers. Copies of written performance evaluations may also be helpful.

Sample References

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