How to list references on a resume

Gustav Tornby


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References on your CV

How does your potential future employer ensure that the jobs you postulate you have had and the work tasks you have reportedly performed are not just garnished on your resume to capture your future employer’s interest in a close job search race.

You are in the process of making your application and your CV. In writing your CV, you list all your competencies as well as work experience, however, like so much else in life, it is an advantage to have evidence for your postulates. Here, references come into the picture.

In the course of previous job searches, you may have attached written recommendations from your former employers in your applications, but in an ever-changing digital world, it can be hard to freak out about an A4 page’s praise.

In addition, it is conceivable that the company you have applied to has received a large pile of applications, which means that there is quite a short time to examine each one.

A survey conducted by recruitment firm Moment Professionals shows that references make up about 10-15 percent of the total assessment of a potential candidate.

And if you are at the forefront of the field in the selection race, your choice can be decisive for whether you are pushed over the finish line, or whether your closest candidate is ultimately at the top of the job podium.

References: Where and when? 

First of all, it is a good idea to contact the people you intend to list as references.

This allows you to prepare your references that they will potentially be contacted by a potential future employer and thereby prepare your references on what profile you would like them to convey.

You can advantageously interrogate concrete references about what they intend to convey further in a possible conversation. If you do not want to contact your references, you can make a point on your CV where you write that you can provide references if they wish.

An employer does not contact all applicants’ references, as it is a cumbersome process for many applicants. Thus, it is typically after the first separation process that references are drawn on.

Contact your references

It’s usually common courtesy to contact your listed references before you apply for a position, informing them of the fact that you have them listed. Therefore, your reference can at least in part mentally prepare for being called by your potential employer.

Inform you that you are applying for a position, and have them listed among your references. Ensure that your prospective reference is comfortable being on your reference list.

What if I recently graduated

As a recent graduate or graduate without much work experience, it can be a challenge to find more relevant references that one can present.

If you are in that position, you can use your supervisor from the study as a reference or a reference from a study-relevant job, a voluntary work, or a relevant reference from a potential internship.

Who to pick?

Generally, go for people who you think have enjoyed working with you, and would give a glowing review of your professional capabilities. When you are in the process of selecting what references to include on your resume, consider selecting the people who you think would be able to best speak to your qualifications and qualities.

  • Current/former manager/supervisor
  • Academic advisor
  • Professional mentor

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