Getting Started

  • How many references do I need?
    Plan to identify 3-5 people to use as references and then provide 3-5 for each position applied for, depending on who is the most relevant for each position.
  • Who should I ask to be a reference?
    Full-time and part-time work supervisors, volunteer coordinators, advisors/mentors, professors and academic instructors, academic advisors, and any other person that can speak to your abilities related to the job you are applying for. People not to ask: parents, friends, family, significant others, etc. (these are considered personal references and not professional references).
  • What to ask?
    Schedule a short meeting or phone call with this person (meeting preferred) and ask them to be a positive reference for you. Talk about the position you want and your qualifications so that you and your reference are on the same page about what information is being presented about you. Make sure to ask this person for their preferred contact information so you can include it on your reference page, and remember to say thank you!
  • What to provide to my references?
    A copy of your cover letter and resume, and anything else the reference may need from you. Note: Notify your references when you apply and/or interview for positions. They'll appreciate the heads-up that they might be contacted!


Reference Page

  • Use the same heading at the top of your reference page that you used at the top of your resume - they should match.
  • Write "References" as your section heading and format it so it looks the same as the section headings on your resume.
  • List 3-5 references, in order of importance for the specific position being applied for. Include their name, title, work address, phone number, e-mail, and their relationship to you (i.e., Former work supervisor).
  •  Sample Reference Page