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References Guide

References Guide

A request for your reference list by a potential employer after your interviews are completed is a sign that you are either the leading candidate or one of a group of final candidates under consideration for hire. (You may encounter a company that checks references at the start of the interview process, although such a situation is not common.)

Prepare your reference list document

Well before you begin interviewing, and well before you are asked to submit names of references to a potential employer, prepare your reference list document.

List three to four individuals who have agreed to enthusiastically and knowledgeably speak about your accomplishments, strengths, skills and the value you can bring to a company.

Communicate with your reference contacts

After you are asked by a potential employer for your list of references, call each reference as soon as possible, and alert them that they are about to receive a call from a human resources representative or from a hiring manager.

Inform your reference of the following:

  • The name of the company considering you for hire 
  • The title of the position for which you are under consideration 
  • The primary requirements of the position 
  • Your skills and accomplishments which make you a “fit” for this position 
  • Key statements you would like your references to offer in the reference interview

Be sure to send a thank you letter to your reference contacts after they have provided the reference to a potential hiring manager.


  • Do not list your references on your resume 
  • Do not distribute your references until they are requested

Below please see a Sample Reference List


Patricia Manor
400 Heath Street
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
617-731-0000 cell

Susan Jones
Professor of Visual Arts
Pine Manor College
Chestnut Hill, MA
Relationship: Senior Internship Advisor

James Smith
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Pine Manor College
Chestnut Hill, MA
617-243-9999 w
617-781-0000 c
Relationship: Work Study Supervisor

Julia Jambinko
Director, Fabulous Art Museum
Boston, MA
Relationship: Internship Supervisor