Want to Land That Job? Here’s Who to Put On — and Leave Off — Your Reference List

professional references

Do you have a list of references on your resume? A lot of job seekers have removed their references from their resumes, under the assumption hiring managers aren’t interested in that information.

Lisa Crocco at Career Contessa is ready to prove those job seekers wrong. As Crocco explains, having a reference list can be key to landing that next great job — but it all depends on which references you choose to include.

How to Pick Rock Star References

Not all references are created equal. Like all of us, you probably have some people in your work history who think you’re amazing, and some people who think you’re just OK.

It’s your job to seek out the people who value your work the highest, and use those people as your references.

Crocco calls these people “rockstar references.” It’s pretty simple: If your reference thinks you’re a rock star, they’ll be a rock star reference for you.

Think back to your last few jobs. Who was most impressed by your work? Who was always happy to have you on their team? These are the people most likely to be your rock star references.

Also — always ask permission before listing someone as a reference. The people who think you’re a rock star will be even more impressed you took the time for this often-overlooked courtesy.

Leave These People Off Your Reference List

Are there any people you shouldn’t include as a reference? Crocco lists a few:

  1. Family members, even if you’ve worked for them
  2. Your current employer, especially if they are unaware you’re looking for a new job
  3. Too many people from the same company

Crocco explains, “Your future employer wants to see variety in the types of employment, employers, contacts and professional references they see listed. If you have six people listed from the same company, the hiring manager might think that you lack connections and successful partnerships throughout your career.”

So work on building those connections, finding the people who think you’re amazing and building your rock star reference list. Then start applying for that new job!

Want to learn more? Read the full story at Career Contessa.

Your Turn: Do you include a reference list on your resume?

Nicole Dieker is a freelance writer focusing on personal finance and personal stories. Her work has appeared in The Billfold, The Toast, Yearbook Office, The Write Life and Boing Boing.