Once you have permission from your references to send their information to employers, it’s time to construct the official sheet for the hiring manager. But how should a job references page look? Follow the tips below and choose the job references template you like best to create a reference page that looks clean and professional.
Reference Page Tip #1: Use Consistent Formatting
Your resume, cover letter, and job references format should look like they belong together. The header with your contact information should be formatted identically on all your application materials. Similarly, type the job reference list in the same font as the body text in the other two documents.
Reference Page Tip #2: Order Meaningfully
If you are at the beginning of your career, you might have certain references that are significantly more relevant than the others. Because some employers may not contact every person on your job reference list, you should push your best references to the top of the page. While there is no guarantee that hiring managers will call your top contacts first, it’s a good way to boost your chances.
For job seekers who have been in the workforce for several years, however, all your job references may be equally strong. In this case you should create a list of job references that is organized alphabetically by last name or chronologically from the time you last worked with them.
Reference Page Tip #3: Eliminate Distractions
How should a job references page look? The answer is rather simple. The best job references format is clean and straightforward. Your job references page needs to give prospective employers a quick and easy way to identify and contact the people who can speak to your experience, work ethic, and abilities.
Take care not to clutter the page with extra details that will confuse or frustrate the reader. When listing contact information, include only the best ways for hiring managers to contact each reference—that means one phone number and one email address per person.
Additionally, unless the employer specifically requests otherwise, keep your job reference list to 3–5 individuals. Any more than that is overwhelming and unnecessary. Plus, including fewer contacts gives you more control over who the hiring manager speaks with.
Job References Template #1: The Standard Format
The job references format you choose should depend on what the employer asks for. Unless the hiring manager explicitly asks for both personal and professional references, your best bet is to provide professional references only.
As you can see on from the template, this type of job references page will look like one list of professional references without sections or headers.
After a header with your own information, type each contact’s information using the following job reference format:
[Prefix] [First Name] [Last Name] [Suffix, if exists]
[Position Title], [Company Name]
Formerly: [Position Title], [Company Name]—(Optional. Use if position has changed since you worked together.)
Download a full standard job references template at the top of this article.
Job References Template #2: The Categorized Format
When employers ask for both personal and professional references, use this format to categorize your job references. Distinguishing which contact falls within each group helps employers decide which references to contact and what questions to prepare ahead of time.
This job reference format utilizes subheadings to visually separate the page into two job reference lists. Use the same font size and typeface for these labels as you did for the section headers on your resume. Furthermore, the final line for each person on the list should describe how the contact knew you (“Relationship to Candidate”), as a personal reference’s ability to speak to your character largely depends on how they know you.
Download a full categorized job references template at the top of this article.
After submitting your job reference list to the employer, make sure to update your job reference tracker. You should also get in contact with your references to let them know they might be receiving a call sometime soon and say thank you. After all, their help could be the key to landing your dream job!