References are individuals who can speak to your qualifications in support of your application for a job. References ideally should be individuals in supervisory positions or positions of authority who can comment on your performance in work, academic, or extracurricular organization/community service settings.

The guidelines found on this page will help you develop a references page, but please be sure to also view our Sample References Page

A Few Things to Note About References

  • The phrase "References Available Upon Request" is optional on your resume.

  • Reference information should be placed on a page separate from your resume, not on the resume.

  • Do not include a references page when submitting your resume, unless requested. Instead, bring copies of your references page in a portfolio to the interview.

  • The references page should contain the same header as your resume, with the word REFERENCES underneath. No page number is necessary. 

  • Three to five is an appropriate number of references to list on your references page.

  • Always ask permission to list someone as a reference, and give the reference a copy of your resume. This will be helpful to them if contacted by a prospective employer.

  • List each reference's name, current job title, place of employment (including city and state - mailing address not necessary), and work telephone number including area code (NOT home telephone or cell phone number unless given permission to list).

  • Character references (e.g., a friend, minister of your church, etc.) should be avoided. 

Letters of Reference or Recommendation

Many companies/organizations are only interested in a references page, not letters of reference or recommendation. However, if a job ad asks for letters of reference or recommendation, here are some guidelines:

  • If possible (without causing inconvenience to the person recommending you), letters should be addressed to the person responsible for hiring (the contact person listed in the job ad).

  • If this is not possible, the letters may be addressed: "Dear Human Resources Director," "Dear Hiring Manager," "Dear College Recruiter," or "Dear Search Committee Chair," etc.

  • Letters of reference should be current - i.e., dated within the current year.

  • Letters of reference should, if possible, be tailored to the type of position for which you're applying. Giving your references a copy of your resume and mentioning to them key points you would like for them to emphasize in their letters is both appropriate and helpful to the reference as they write their letters.