The Resume: References

by Rachel Whitmire |

This part of the resume is important, so make sure that you don't skip this step.

First of all, you need to decide who to use as your references. Take a moment and brainstorm all of the people who would have good things to say about your character or work performance. Don't forget to include teachers, religious leaders, mentors, coworkers and friends. The one group of people that you should avoid, though, is relatives. Using a relative as a reference hurts your credibility. The general belief is that your relatives will have good things to say about you, whether they are true or not. Employers will view your relatives as biased, so it is better not to include them.

Once you have a list, narrow it down to at least three, but no more than five people. Think about those who have known you the longest, those who have known you in a professional environment and those who you believe have a high opinion of you.

Now that you have your list, call each person. First, ask them if you can use them as a reference. After that, get all of their contact information and be sure that it is accurate. A potential employer is not going to spend the time to hunt down the correct phone number or address for one of your references. Have all of the information readily available for your employer so that your references will be given the opportunity to do their job - which is to say nice things about you.

Finally, I recommend that you not put your references on your resume. Instead, state that references are "available upon request". Put your references on a separate sheet of paper with the same heading as your resume. If an employer asks for your references, then you give them a copy of this reference page. Why go to all of this trouble? It is out of respect for the people who are acting as your references. This way, they are only called by those who are serious about offering you a job.

Above all, make sure that you take the idea of references seriously, your future employer definitely will.

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