Along with your resume and cover letter, a strong application consists of an applicant’s references. References serve as individual’s a potential employer can contact to learn more about a candidate’s academic and work history. Like most things in life, preparation pays off, and so having a strong list of references when you begin the job search.

Write it:

A reference page should have the same header as your resume, and then neatly list your references’ names, titles, organizations, and contact information. Check out a sample reference page here.

Keep these things in mind:

Aim for 3-5 people. Providing a varied list of individuals enables your potential employer to hear about you from a variety of perspectives.

Select individuals wisely. A strong list of references includes professors, supervisors, or co-workers with whom you’ve had a strong relationship and can speak to your abilities and competencies. Do not include family, friends, or significant others.

Ask permission. It benefits you to ask permission to use your references as such. Ask them if they’re able to speak well of you in terms of academics or employment. If they respond positively, provide them with some framework: Give them your resume, and tell them about your career plans. It is acceptable to coach them on what you’d like them to say about you. Ask them about the way they’d prefer to be contacted. Failing to take this step might look badly on your part in the application process (a surprised reference is rarely a strong reference).

Selecting references for your first position out of college can be a nerve-wracking experience. To talk over your options, speak with a UMF Career Counselor.

  • Click here to make an appointment with Stephen Davis.
  • Click here to make an appointment with Cyndi McShane.