References are the group of individuals that you hand pick that will speak on your behalf to a prospective employer. Your references can be friends, past employers, other volunteers, athletic team coaches, teachers and professors.

Without doubt, solid references are critical when it comes to your overall resume package, but is it important to list them on the resume itself? And if not, how do you get them to an employer?

When it comes to proving that you are as good as you say you are on paper, there is no better proof than what your references have to say.

First, your resume is all about you, and your references are there to back you up. With a resume of only two pages, three maximum, you don’t want to sacrifice that space on your paper. You need that room to showcase how good you are, and why you are the best candidate for the job. Sharing that precious space with anything other than your background is not something I would recommend.

When it comes to writing your resume, remember the old KISS rule “keep it short and sweet.”

Second, including references on your resume is like shaking hands when you meet someone for the first time and then giving them your whole life story in the first five minutes. The resume is the “shaking hands” part of the job seeking process. At this point in the business relationship you are building with an employer, they want to get to know you on paper first.

Write an excellent resume so the employer can draw a clear picture of you – – the person who has the qualifications that they are looking for. Let them reach the decision that you are a quality candidate. Then, provide your references when they are requested by the employer.

Getting permission also gives your references time to consider what they will say on your behalf. It’s a win-win!

Third, be sure to ask the reference for permission to use them as one. Not everyone is crazy about having total strangers call them out of the blue to talk about you. However, once you ask them to be your reference, they will usually cheerfully oblige. It’s up to you to let them in on what you are doing so they can expect correspondence from the company you are applying with.

If references don’t go on the resume itself, where do they go?

Usually kept on a separate document, and listed in two separate parts, personal and professional references are provided by you on request by the employer. The alternate way to submit references is if you are requested to list them on a job application. This short video will show you how to format your references on a separate sheet that you can submit when asked…