How to format a list of professional references – Ladders

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Completing the job application process usually involves providing professional references. In many instances, you will need to supply a list of references for the prospective employer after submitting your resume or during the interview process. Either way, it’s best to be prepared with your references list to boost your chances of getting the job.

If you’re preparing for a job interview or in the midst of the application process, learn the format for professional references lists and what steps to take before submitting them, so that you will be one step closer to the desired job.

When an employer conducts interviews for a job, they look at several factors to help them assess the job applicant. They review the job application, which includes a person’s resume. The employer will also conduct an interview if the applicant moves to the next stage of the process. The interview allows the employer to meet with the applicant, ask questions, and get an overall feel for the person’s fit with the company.

The employer also requests a list of professional references. References provide information about an applicant’s work habits, skills, ability to be a team player, leadership qualities, and more. It gives the employer insight into how the applicant might perform in the position posted.

Submit a list of professional references when the employer asks for them. Often, the job application will indicate that you need to provide references. Other times, the employer will ask for them during or after the interview once they’ve narrowed down potential candidates.
Don’t put references in your resume because it takes up valuable space. Save your resume for listing just your experience and education, and create a separate list for references.

Before you create your list of references, consider taking these steps first:

Your professional references list should have your name at the top and indicate what follows are your references. Next is the information for your references, so the employer can reach them to discuss your qualifications. You may also include what your relationship is with the person. Information about the references should include:

Make sure your references list is left-justified and use a common font that is easy to read.

Unless the recipient specifies how many references they want, sending three is adequate. This is a sample of a professional references list:

References for John Dolan
Allen Avilla
Computer Support Specialist
Runkle Industries
41 Heather Street
Mayhoc, NY 22344
(555) 123-4567
Allen Avilla worked in the same department as I did at Runkle Industries.
Elaine Webb
Human Resources Manager
Glinko & Co.
1500 West Mill Rd., Suite 321
Orland, CA 21122
(555) 123-4567
Elaine Webb was the HR manager when I worked at Glinko & Co.

Helen Wade
Lexner Enterprises
219 South Third Avenue
Ashtabula, OH 41111
(555) 123-4567
Helen Wade was my colleague at Lexner Enterprises.

The way you send the list of your professional references depends on what the employer requests. You’ll want to mail a hard copy of the references in most cases. However, in some cases, the employer may ask you to bring your references with you to the interview. Then you can hand your hard copy to them in person.
Whether they ask you to bring them or not, have a copy ready with you in case they ask for them without informing you in advance.

Some employers may ask you to email the references during the job application process. If you are asked to email your reference list, you may want to “share” the original document as an attachment to retain formatting. You can do so by following these instructions:
Select “Share” at the upper right-hand corner of the Word document. Review the “Share” options and make sure to select the option that only allows the recipient to view the contents and does not let them alter it.

Next, you can choose to send it by email directly from this menu or choose to “Copy Link.” If you choose to send it directly to email, the email application will open, and you will type in the recipient’s address.

If you copy the link, you then need to open your email program and copy the link into the email.
Make sure you use an applicable subject line so that the employer knows the contents of the email and will open it promptly. Here are some options for email subject lines:


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