Skip to main content
Co-operative Education
Special Projects Assistant

flower petals
Many people don’t understand what this reference page should look like and end up providing little information or omitting other valuable details.

Now that the resume and cover letter have been mastered, it seems all that remains are interviews – but don’t forget the reference page.  A reference page could be the difference between landing the job and searching for another depending on the quality of your references. Many people don’t understand what this reference page should look like and end up providing little information or omitting other valuable details. 

Typically, references are brought to the interview and handed to the interviewer upon request. Include them on a separate sheet of paper from your resume and use the same header on your references as you did on your resume.

They Love Me, They Love Me Not

Selecting the references is a difficult decision because they add credibility to your work habits and experiences previously stated.  Although family friends appear a good choice, do not include them because they can only discuss character or personality.  Instead, contact previous supervisors, co-workers, and even professors as references.  Ensure that the references can discuss “the most successful periods of your career and characterize you in the best way” (ResumesExperts, 2005).  The references must be able to grasp and communicate your abilities and discuss how you react in a work environment.

With a list of possible references, contact each to determine the best candidate.  A reference expressing a sense of excitement is a positive indication of a quality reference.  In order to provide your references with an idea of what to say to the prospective employer, discuss the position you are interviewing for and what the job entails.

They Love Me

Once the references have been confirmed, request contact information and compile the references page.  Here is an example of what should be on the page:

  • Name

  • Position/Title

  • Company

  • Company address

  • Phone

  • Cell phone

  • E-Mail

  • How Long Known

  • Capacity

  • Relationship: describe the relationship you have with this person.

Ask your references which form of contact is preferred; not everyone appreciates business calls to their cell phone or through personal e-mail.  The average number of references to provide is three or four.  However, the number of references isn’t important, what each has to say is crucial – quality over quantity.

Talk to your references before you give their names and contact information to a prospective employer. If they are aware that they will be receiving a call from an employer they will be more prepared to give an appropriate appraisal of you.

They Love Me More

Some employers will skip reference checking when they have a letter of recommendation from your listed reference. If you are asked to provide reference letters, and if the references do not oppose, write the letters yourself. This way you have control over what is said. Send the letter to the reference for approval and signing.

Or before you leave an organization, ask supervisors for a letter of reference, but make sure letters are kept as current as possible, if the person is still at the company, ask for an updated letter. Letters of recommendation are great as you will have a good idea of what they will say and the letters can be presented to the interviewer in addition to your list.

Remaining Flower Pedals

During your career search, take the time to send a letter of thanks to your references, along with an update of how your search is going.

Works Cited

ResumesExperts.  (2005).  Resume Reference.

Love to know Business.  (2007).  Resume Reference.

Beyond the Blog

Co-operative Education
Special Projects Assistant

You Might Like These... Career Exploration, References, Co-operative Education, Professional Development

two women talking to each other
How to Ask, Pick and Prepare your References

If you’re looking for a new job, applying to a graduate school or another program, chances are that you are going to need references to go along with your application, resume, and cover letter. You’ll learn how to ask people to be references, how to pick from your reference list and finally, how to guide your references once you’ve selected them.

conversation exchanged between two people
Some Respect for References

Liesl Jurock is back with more advice - this time on references. She explains that while picking the right references can be tough, it's also important to give them the respect and gratitute they deserve.

a man writing notes
Bon Voyage: How To Ensure Smooth Sailing As You Wrap Up Your Co-op Work Term

With work terms winding down to a close, most co-op students can’t help but reminisce warmly about friends made, skills gained and career opportunities uncovered while on the job. During this time, it is important to take advantage of a few tips for smooth sailing as you wrap up your work term.

You Might Like These... References

a person handing in their documents
How to Ask for Reference Letters From Your Professors

Asking your professors for reference letters is an important part of applying to professional programs, graduate programs, and scholarships, and it is a lot more complicated than just sending a quick email. Eric Cai explains how you can make this process easier for your professors, and more beneficial to you.

a man picking up a call from his office
What Goes On When Your References Are Checked

You did it. You successfully finished the interview, hopefully feeling satisfied. But what about those references you gave to the interviewer – what happens to those now that your interview’s done? Read on to find out!

Article Banner
How References Can Make or Break Your Job Offer

Most people don’t maintain solid relationships with their references. Don’t be one of those job seekers scrambling to put together a list of references before an interview. Follow these basic practices to maintain connections and maximize your chances of landing the job.