References Available – Inside Information, Examples, Q&A


It is no longer a common practice to include a References section on your resume, even one that states “References Available Upon Request.” Most employers today will assume you can provide references if they are requested. Therefore, you do not have to include references on your resume.

If an employer is seriously considering you as a candidate, be sure to have a separate list of references ready to provide during the interview. Always ask permission of your references beforehand and discuss the kind of recommendation they will give.

Preparing a List of References

You should have a list of three to five references prepared, unless you are in a specialized field where a longer list may be required. Gather your list from any of the following contacts:

         Former Managers

         Previous Supervisors

         Department Heads

         Members of the Executive Team

         Business Colleagues

         Professional Contacts


         Professors or Advisors


         Community Leaders

Insider Tip:  Be sure to add the contacts you would most prefer someone to contact at the top of your list.

Choosing the Right References

Ideally, you will look for contacts that:

         Possess good communication skills

         Know you fairly well

         Will speak positively about you and your work

         Will sell your experience, skills, knowledge, and ability

         Can describe your performance and achievements

         Can demonstrate your value to previous employers

         Can describe your positive characteristics

Insider Tip:  Always include several more references than were requested in case the hiring manager has difficulty reaching any of your contacts.

Preparing Your References for Calls

You should always send a copy of your resume with a letter that lists the three to five key points that you would like your references to share with people who contact them. For example, you might ask one of your contacts to elaborate on your specific skills in a particular area, or another contact to discuss your unique characteristics or strengths, and yet another to describe your accomplishments or previous successes.

Insider Tip:  Help your contacts develop an example or story that reinforces your positive characteristics and provides a visual image of you in the role you are seeking.

Available References - Examples

Although not recommended for modern resumes, it was common in recent times to mention on your resume that other people can attest to your qualifications or personal character in one of the following formats.

Professional References Available Upon Request


Available Upon Request

Available References - Questions & Answers

Q: Should I include the phrase “Available upon request”?

It is obvious to today’s hiring managers that references are available from a job seeker. Since an employer will assume you have references, you do not need to include this information on your resume.

Q: How many references will I need?

Generally, your list of references should contact three to five contact names, unless you are in a profession, such as medicine, law, or education, or in a specialized field, where a longer list may be required. If you have been asked for a specific number of references, then you should provide several additional contacts, in case the hiring manager has difficulty reaching any of your contacts.

Q: Whom should I consider asking to serve as a reference?

Preferably, you will want to ask your former manager or . However, you can also consider business colleagues, customers, professors, advisors/mentors, community leaders, department heads, or members of the executive team at your current firm. Obviously, you will want to add friends and family members as a last resort, as most hiring managers realize that these people are not unbiased.

Q: What should I look for when selecting my references?


Ideally, you will want references that possess good communication skills, know you quite well and would speak positively about your previous work experience, skills, knowledge, and characteristics. Include people who can describe your performance and value to your previous employer as well as characteristics, such as teamwork, strong work ethic, and leadership ability that any future employer would find valuable.

Q: How should I prepare my references for a phone call?

Once you have received permission from your references to add them to your list, you should always send a copy of your resume and a letter that lists the three to five key points that you would like them to share with employers who contact them.