References are an important part of the job search process, but they are not the first step in an employer’s screening of candidates.

Most employers first review resumes, then conduct interviews, and only then check references. For this reason, job seekers don’t typically include references on resumes. If you wish to provide a prospective employer with a list of your references, prepare a separate sheet using your good resume paper.

Provide the following information for each listing:

  • Individual’s name
  • Title
  • Organization
  • Complete mailing address
  • Phone number, including area code
  • Email address
  • A brief statement describing how you know the reference

Review sample references.

Additional Suggestions

  • Identify the individuals you want to ask to serve as references and contact them personally to ask for their assistance. Remember: the best references are former or current employers, faculty members, or others who are qualified to discuss your professional skills and abilities. These people should also know you well enough to discuss your personal character.
  • Provide each reference with a copy of your resume, which will help them accurately discuss your experience and qualifications. Also tell them some of the kinds of jobs you will be pursuing.
  • Start the list with your strongest reference, and then list the rest in descending order.
  • Choose three to five people.