When You Will Need One
Getting to know about everything necessary to include in your portfolio is a vital step in the hiring process. Note that your resume should always go along with this reference document. It is not always needed, but oftentimes will be explicitly requested when you go for an interview. It can't hurt to bring the page along, but most of the time don't expect an employer to ask to see it unless they have previously mentioned it.
How to Ask for a Reference
Asking someone to speak on your behalf can sometimes be difficult if you are unsure about how to go about asking them, but it is a fundamental element of learning how to write a resume reference page. There are two types of references that you can have on a resume, professional and personal. An example of a professional contact would be a supervisor, manager, or even a coworker whereas a personal contact can be a volunteer director, instructor, or neighbor. Most of the time you do not want to ask a family member unless they are very distinguished.
Hopefully you feel comfortable enough in your relationship with your contact to speak with them about this, but if you need to learn how to be a bit more direct and informative for them, here are some tips.
How to Ask Step-by-Step:
- Ask if they would be willing to speak about you in order to increase your chances of obtaining the opportunities you are pursuing. Just always remember to ask them, no matter how well you know them. Getting their permission is necessary to ensure you will get a good recommendation, and also informs them that someone may be contacting them soon on your account.
- Start with something like,
"Hello [contact], I have an incredible opportunity to intern/work/volunteer at [organization/company] and I was wondering if I could include you as a reference. Attached is my resume, if you have any questions feel free to contact me. I appreciate your time, thank you!"
Hopefully they will contact you after this email or conversation so that you can continue speaking with them if they request any additional information.
- Solidify your contact information when you connect with your references, make sure that all of the information in your file is up-to-date. Also, ask them which method of communication would they prefer to be reached at.
- Send a copy of your resume to your contact if necessary so that they can become familiar with your accolades and experience outside what they already know about you. You should also explain what you are in the process of applying for currently.
The actual set up of the page is quite simple. The page is merely a list of your references' information in a particular order. The preferable order is alphabetical, but with professional contacts listed before personal ones.
This page should be printed on 8.5" x 11" paper and should match the rest of your portfolio. The listings should be evenly spaced, not crammed together. There should be no more than three to five references; any less will make you look unreliable, but any more will become tedious for the recruiter to sift through.
The first six lines of the reference page is composed of the contact information. This includes their name, job title, street address, city, state, zip code, phone number and email address (for the office or place of business.)
The final two lines require more detail than the previous. The affiliation describes that person's relationship to you. The skill/project that you have worked on with the contact is your chance to show any specialized training accrued or milestone that you have achieved when dealing with this contact. Use action verbs to energize your accomplishments. Use keywords similar to what the company of the position that you are applying for would be interested to hear. Your resume and cover letter would have already used relevant keywords which you can use here too. Attempt to tie in certain words to these two lines to attract the interest of potential employers and appear more qualified for a job.
Basic Set Up:
- Street Address
- City, State Zip
- Work Phone
- Affiliation (Relationship to you)
- Skill/project you have worked on with contact