You may wonder what references are for and why they are important. References from your network of academic and professional contacts are vital to your current employment prospects. Increasingly, with grade inflation, and a higher number of professionally trained and university graduates, employers are using references to distinguish between candidates. The better your references is are the more impressed they will be with your networking skills and
The question then is should you put references on your CV? And if so, how to present that you have solid references on your CV? Some people say that putting references on your CV is a waste of space and at best you put them on your cover letter, while others maintain it is essential. Not to worry, we have this helpful guide as part of our CV writing guide to go along with our excellent resume templates available on this website. After reading this you will know how to approach the sometimes awkward part of putting referees on your CV.
What are references for?
By references we refer to the act of a recruiter asking a former employer, colleague, university professor or acadamic you knew whether you are upstanding enough for the job. You provide these references with their approval. You must ask your referees for permission first before putting them down as references.
Employers ask for references for several reasons depending on their sector. For the most part, it is simply checking that you are who you say you are, especially with regards to the work experience, education, and professional skills part of your CV. With government jobs however, they may want to do a more thorough background check. They will likely ask for a description of you as a person. Thus, according to the job you are applying to, make sure your tailor your references accordingly.
Some also see references as a good indicator of your networking skills, which are increasingly an important set of professional skills in the workplace. Showing that you can maintain contact with university professors and previous employers is an impressive skill in itself.
Who can you put as a referee?
You may ask yourself who qualifies as a good referee for your qualifications. This can range from a number of people from your professional, academic or extracurricular background :
- a former teacher or academic professor who followed your curricular or academic development.
- An academic supervisor. If you wrote an academic paper then your supervisor usually gets to know your work very well.
- a former employer. This can either be the head of the company or the line manager. Your line manager knows hwo you work better.
- A mentor that you know from a different context.
- A previous business partner or a professional relationship.
Should you put references on your CV?
Many recruiters will make it clear if they are interested in your references in the job posting. In this case they should specify how to transmit those references. However if not, you may want to either include them in the email that you attach your CV to or in your CV.
If you include it in your CV, you should state the following information :
- The full name of the referent.
- The position they held in the organisation you attended. This also needs to hint at what they were in relation to you (line manager, academic tutor).
- The current position they hold.
- Their contact details. Note that you must ask them for their preferred manner of contact. Do not give their phone number without consulting them first!
The format should be as follows :
John Doe, Head of Sales (manager of applicant), CoronaBank,
0478 64 46 48, firstname.lastname@example.org
References in a CV for recent graduates
As a recent graduate, your references are doubly important. With Grade Point Average inflation, some would say references are how you are likely to distinguish yourself from other applicants. We thus recommend you put next to your education section your references if you are a recent graduate.
You should aim to have two academic references from teachers you established a good academic relationship with, your program director or the dean of your faculty. References are usually not a huge issue for academics as they are used to being asked for them. They may also ask you to write your own reference letter that they will sign.