Buchtel College of Arts & Sciences - Careers

Skills - References

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It is no longer necessary to say, “References Available Upon Request” at the bottom of your resume unless a driving force within you insists. Employers assume you will provide them with a list of professional references, when requested, if you are interested in working for them.

While most companies will request contact information from only three to five references, it is advisable to have a listing on hand of between eight and ten reliable individuals from various segments of your life such as employment, academia, community affiliations.  You need individuals who can speak to your academic ability, your work ethic, and your character as a whole. This will provide a greater pool from which to select individuals who can provide the best information about you for any given position.


It's Important That You:

  • Obtain permission from each prospective reference
  • Ask each prospective reference if s/he “can provide a good [or 'strong'] reference”
  • Obtain preferred full address (home, work, email) or phone number for each reference 
  • Provide each reference with updated copy of resume and position description
  • Use identical paper as used for resume and cover letter
  • List on page, best matches for particular job sought/ résumé used
  • Use same heading as that used on résumé
  • Include underlined/bolded word “References” centered beneath heading
  • Include name, title, address, phone number, email of each reference
  • Include sentence showing connection between you/reference [Optional]



  • If a prospective reference hesitates, perhaps you should reconsider whether or not to include that individual on your list. Find another individual who you are certain can provide a strong reference.
  • Choose the references you list according to the position you are pursuing. Each individual holds different information about you that can benefit your search in numerous ways. It is up to you to make the best match of individual to position for your reference sheet.
  • Provide each individual who agrees to act as a reference with a copy of your current, updated resume. If you have applied to a company and believe they will soon begin to call your references, personally contact your references to inform them of an impending call and to make certain that they have not lost your resume. If they have no copy, provide them with one as soon as possible. Each time you change your resume for any reason, you must provide an updated copy to your references if you are still in the job search market and there is the possibility they will be called.
  • Do not provide references if you are not asked for them. Respect those individuals who are providing positive information about you by waiting for a request of their contact information.


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