Choosing the Best References for Your CV

Bridge the gap between you and a successful career by choosing the best references for your CV. Your references could make or break your chances, so find out how to choose wisely.

When you’re applying to a new job, your CV is your greatest asset. Each bit of information you add could either make or break your chances. And this includes your references. Choosing the best references for your CV could be the edge you need to land the job.

Choosing the Best References for Your CV

Not everyone you’ve worked with should be included. But if you’re not sure where to start, we’re here to help. From choosing the best contact to where you should add them, use our tips on choosing the best references for your CV. 

  • Make sure they are relevant to the job you want
  • Who you should include as your references
  • Ask for permission
  • How many references you should include
  • Where to add your references on your CV
  • Use updated contact details

Make Sure They are Relevant to the job you Want

The reference you include should be relevant to the job you’re applying for. The recruiter wants to know how you’ll be able to complete your duties. But if it doesn’t align with the duties in the job post, they may wonder if you have relevant experience.

Who you Should Include as Your References

The friends you hang out with will be the perfect references, right? Well they probably know you best, but that doesn’t mean you should add them to your CV. The people you include should be able to vouch for your skills, experience and achievements. These include: 

Previous Manager or Team Leader

Your manager and team leader tracks your performance. Through reviews and the projects you completed, they’ll be able to provide insight on your work ethic and skills.

Your Colleagues and Business Partner

Don’t leave your colleagues and business partner behind. You can add them too. Since you’ve worked together in a team, they’ll be able to confirm how well you work in a team and your soft skills.

Professors and Lecturers

Creating your first CV? Even without formal experience, you can still add your professors and lecturers as references. This is a great add if you were a tutor or research assistant on campus.

Volunteering Organisation

There are many career benefits of being a volunteer. The organisation you volunteered with can provide details on your interpersonal skills. But make sure they are relevant to the job you want.

Ask For Permission

Having reliable references is a great resource. But you can’t add them without asking. You need to ask for permission first. Not only is it polite, but it is also a chance to find out what they will say about you. They will be able to provide you with the contact details too. 

How Many References you Should Include

The more, the merrier. Having at least three references is a great start. If you have years of work experience relevant to the job, having references will back your credibility. If your responsibilities and career changes, change your references according to it. 

Where to add Your References on Your CV

You may feel proud that you’ve worked for  top employers, but add your references last. Or at least further down into your CV. Highlight your skills, qualifications and experience by adding them first. Also, keep your references short and sweet. 

How to Structure Your References

Since you’re keeping it short and sweet, only add important details. Your CV is all about you, so no need to go into great detail in this section. Only include their:

  • Full name
  • Job title
  • Place of employment
  • Contact number / email address

Use Updated Contact Details 

Having a bunch of references won’t mean much if your recruiter can’t get through to them. Contact details might change. So be sure to include updated information. This also shows that you can maintain a good relationship with former employers.

Be Mindful of who you Add as a Reference

As much as we think they will put in a good word, not everyone has your best interests at heart. If you’ve burned bridges or had conflict with your employers, you may need to look for alternative references. Ask people who you’ve had a good work relationship with. 

Should you put References on Your CV?

With all this in mind, is it really necessary to add references to your CV? Well if the recruiters list contactable references on the job post, it’s best you add them. But if it states otherwise, then leave it out. But adding references is a great way to verify the skills you’ve gained.

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Last Updated: June 3, 2022

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Charnell Ward
Charnell Ward
Charnell is a top-class content creator at Skills Academy. She creates engaging content with the aim to provide useful information on distance learning and further study opportunities. Her passion for writing goes beyond her career, as she enjoys writing short stories and volunteering as a writer in her free time. View my LinkedIn profile