Who Should and Shouldn’t Be Included as References on a Resume

A commonly asked question from job seekers is when they should bring out their references. You want to look your best from the start and if you have stellar references, you’re eager to showcase them. Keep in mind if the job description or email doesn’t ask for them, don’t add them; wait until you’re asked.

When you start applying for jobs, you’ll want to be gathering your references, so you’re prepared when a future employer asks for them. It’s smart to have several different options, each one picked for the strengths they will highlight. Be sure to alert each person on the list that they may get a call and be specific if you need them to stay quiet about your job hunt. Sending an email with the job info can also be helpful as well as letting them know what you hope they will be able to share.

If you’re not sure who to put on your list, here are four people you should consider listing as a reference on your resume:

  1. Colleague: this may sound like a given but who you choose is very important. Make sure this person worked with you for a long enough period to know your strengths. Teamwork is usually a highly sought-after skill.
  2. Former Employer: this person will know what your responsibilities were and how you handled them.
  3. Teacher: this person is pertinent if you don’t have a lot of job experience or you’re a recent graduate. Choose a teacher that taught in your major or in your field. They can speak to the skills you learned as well as to your character as a student.
  4. Supervisor: this person may not have been your immediate boss but maybe someone who oversaw your work from a different team. It could be someone that watched your work in a volunteer capacity or special team type project.

You want to choose people from a list that will have good things to say about you but that also have detailed reports. Don’t pick someone that will gush or sound fake with their review. The employer may ask for ways you could improve, and you want someone who will be honest with their feedback. Otherwise, it will appear coached and insincere. Never use a family member or close friend; after all, you might not know what they would say about you. With locations in PortlandClackamasBeavertonEverett, and Vancouver, our skilled recruiters are ready to help you take the next step in your career. If you’re excited for a new challenge, call NW Staffing today.


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