How to Choose Your Referee for Your Resume

How to Choose Your Referee for Your Resume

Finding the right referee can be a bit like choosing the perfect outfit for a big event. It has to fit well, make a good impression, and leave a lasting impact. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting, selecting the right referee and knowing how to present them on your resume can make a world of difference.

Understanding the Role of a Referee

A referee, also known as a reference, is someone who can vouch for your skills, work ethic, and character. They provide potential employers with insights into your professional abilities and achievements. A good referee can reinforce your strengths and help you stand out from other candidates.

Choosing the Right Referee

  1. Professional Relevance
    • Current or Former Employers: Your immediate supervisors or managers are ideal choices. They can speak directly about your job performance, responsibilities, and achievements.
    • Colleagues or Coworkers: If you worked closely with someone on projects, they could provide valuable insights into your teamwork and collaboration skills.
    • Clients or Partners: For those in client-facing roles, a satisfied client or business partner can be a powerful advocate.
  2. Personal Relevance
    • Academic Advisors or Professors: If you're a recent graduate or still early in your career, professors or academic advisors who are familiar with your work can be excellent referees.
    • Mentors: A mentor who has guided you through your career can speak to your growth and potential.
  3. Character and Credibility
    • Honesty and Integrity: Choose someone who will provide an honest and fair assessment of your abilities.
    • Professional Standing: The referee’s position and reputation can add weight to their endorsement. A well-respected professional in your field can significantly boost your credibility.
  4. Availability and Willingness
    • Willingness to Vouch for You: Ensure that the person you choose is willing and able to provide a positive reference. Always ask for their permission before listing them.
    • Availability: Make sure they are reachable and responsive. An unresponsive referee can harm your chances.

How to Ask Someone to Be Your Referee

  1. Be Respectful and Polite
  • Approach them with a polite request. Explain why you value their opinion and how much you would appreciate their support.
  1. Provide Context
  • Give them context about the job you’re applying for. Share your resume and the job description so they can tailor their reference to the position.
  1. Make It Easy for Them
  • Offer to provide a summary of your achievements or key points they might highlight. This makes their job easier and ensures they mention the most relevant information.

How to List Referees on Your Resume

  1. Create a Separate Section
    • Title the section "References" or "Referees." This can be placed at the end of your resume.
  2. Include Essential Information
    • For each referee, list their:
      • Full Name
      • Job Title
      • Company Name
      • Phone Number
      • Email Address
    • Optionally, you can include a brief note about your relationship (e.g., “John Doe, my direct supervisor at XYZ Company”).
  3. Format Neatly
    • Use a clean, professional layout. Consistency is key; make sure the formatting matches the rest of your resume.

4.Keep It Updated

    • Regularly update your referees’ contact information and ensure they are still willing to provide a reference.

Example of How to List Referees


  1. Jane Smith
    • Marketing Manager, ABC Corp
    • Phone: (123) 456-7890
    • Email:
    • Relationship: Direct Supervisor at ABC Corp
  2. John Doe
    • Senior Developer, XYZ Ltd.
    • Phone: (098) 765-4321
    • Email:
    • Relationship: Project Lead at XYZ Ltd.

Choosing the right referee and listing them correctly on your resume can significantly enhance your job application. It’s about selecting individuals who can genuinely vouch for your abilities and present their information clearly and professionally. Remember, a great referee can be your strongest advocate, helping you to stand out in a crowded job market. So, take the time to choose wisely, ask respectfully, and list them appropriately on your resume.