Sample Reference Page for Employment

By Hanne Keiling

Updated October 11, 2021 | Published October 23, 2018

Updated October 11, 2021

Published October 23, 2018

Hanne Keiling is a senior digital communications expert with over eight years of experience ideating, executing and launching user-first experiences to achieve business goals. She is a former Indeed editorial team member who helped job seekers be successful on Indeed throughout their job search and into their careers.

A reference page is a list of usually one to five people who can vouch for your skills and work styles, which employers may ask you to submit during the hiring process. The list includes:

  1. Your name and contact information

  2. Reference name

  3. Reference position

  4. Reference company

  5. Reference address

  6. Reference phone number

  7. Reference email address

  8. A brief statement of your relationship with the reference

In this article, we will provide information about what employers look for in your reference list and a sample reference list for employment.

Related: How to Write a Resume Reference List

Reference List Format
Image description

Reference List Format

  1. Reference name

  2. Reference position

  3. Reference company

  4. Reference address

  5. Reference phone number

  6. Reference email address

  7. Reference description

Why do I need a reference page?

While your resume and interview are key components in the hiring process, a reference page is a supporting asset that may help employers learn more about you. Employers contact your references to get an understanding of how you work with others, your work style and your accomplishments. This provides them with a third-party account of why you are a good fit for the job.

Do I need to include a reference list in applications?

When applying for a position, the job description or application should tell you everything you need to know about how, or if, you should send references. A reference list may be requested in the online application process. In this case, you can simply include your contacts here. If there is no mention of including references, simply send your resume with no reference list until it is brought up in the interview process.

Including a reference list when it’s not requested has the potential to distract employers from the content of your resume. Additionally, reference lists contain personal information (phone number, address, email) of your references—for this reason, it is best to wait to present them to your employer until they are requested later in the employment process.

Related: Should You Include References on a Resume?

Who should I choose as my references?

When choosing references, follow any guidelines the employer gives you. They may require a specific type or number of references. If you don’t have instructions from the employer, you should select three to five references. When deciding who to include, there are a few qualifiers you should keep in mind:

Choose someone who knows you personally

While it might seem tempting to select references with a certain title or standing, you should choose someone who knows you personally. This way, they can provide more helpful information for the employer in a sincere, honest account of their working relationship with you.

Select references who can support your claims

You should also choose someone who can speak to what you’ve included on your resume. If you list that you have strong interpersonal skills, for example, at least one of your references should be able to provide specific examples of times you contributed positively with your interpersonal skills.

Pick contacts you’ve worked with in some capacity

Whether that be a colleague, manager, classmate or professor, you should select references that know how you work. While friends and family may know you well on a personal level, they may not be seen as reliable or relevant as references who can provide testimony to how you work with others, your work style and your strengths. In fact, many employers will explicitly request references who are not family members.

Good options to consider including on your reference list are:

  • Current or former manager or direct supervisor

  • Current or former coworker

  • Current or former employees/direct reports

  • Academic advisor

  • Professional mentor

How to list references

Much like your resume and cover letter, your main objective when formatting your reference list is to make it as clear and easy to read as possible. This means selecting 1–1.5 inch margins, a simple, professional font and a font size between 10 and 12 points.

You should list out your references by starting with whom you believe can provide the most helpful and relevant information to the employer. For example, your direct manager should be placed above a coworker.

Reference list template

Here is a sample reference template you can use by filling in your own information:

Your name
Your address (optional)
Your phone number
Your email address

Reference name
Reference position
Reference company
Reference address
Reference phone number
Reference email address

Reference description including where you worked together when you worked together and your working relationship.

Reference page example

Reference List

Maria Hernandez
(555) 123-456
mhernandez@email.com

Reference #1
Olivia Watts
Office Director
Crane & Jenkins
555 Rosewater Circle
(435) 800-9000
owatts@email.com

Olivia was my direct supervisor at Crane & Jenkins where I trained to be an office manager with two direct reports.

Reference #2
Henry Thornton
Director of Human Resources
Cloud Clearwater
6500 Lily Lane
(111) 222-3333
henryt@email.com

Henry and I worked closely on several employee initiative projects in my last office manager role at Cloud Clearwater.

Reference #3
Yolanda Ramos
Jr. Office Manager
Cloud Clearwater
6500 Lily Lane
(222) 333-4444
yolandar@email.com

Yolanda and I worked together as office managers during my time at Cloud Clearwater. We shared several tasks and worked closely together to accomplish our team goals.

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