Whew! Your resume got traction, you landed an interview, and now you're invited for a second round to which you've been asked to bring your list of references.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing and listing references:
1. Don't just plunk a hodge-podge list of names and contact info on a sheet. Build a professional portfolio "look" by creating a reference page that mirrors the style of your resume and cover letter. Add the names, etc., in a table format so that everything is nicely aligned in a professional presentation.
2. Beyond a name and email or phone number, add what that person's relationship was to you - your supervisor, colleague, a client? And do ask the reference-giver which form of contact they prefer: email, home phone, cell phone, and at what time of the day, and add these details to their listing. Add which company you worked at together and maybe even their current title and employer (especially if it's influential!). Think beyond the factual to the strategic!
3. When asked to bring this list, alert your references. If you get a bounceback email that tells you someone is on sabbatical for two months, you'll have time to source an alternate.
4. Share your updated resume and the job posting with your references so that they feel more knowledgeable in their communications. You might remind them of a project you worked on with them, and how they commented on your preparation at weekly meetings (or something that provides specific detail and makes their reference more "alive" and real). There's nothing wrong with prepping your references, in fact, they'll appreciate some help as being a reference isn't necessarily stress-free!
5. Please don't add your references to the end of your resume (unless you're asked to provide them right off the bat). It's a simple courtesy to keep their info private until you are asked to share.
6. Select a variety of people, if you can. Generally three are asked for, although sales roles, so heavily dependent on connections and proof of relationship building, may be asked for many more. A supervisor, colleague, client, professor, trainer, committee member, association colleague - mix it up if you can! Also, mix up genders, ages, ethnicities - especially if diversity is a stated value of the corporation to which you are applying.
7. And yes, letters of reference can come in handy as well. A recent client had a treasure trove of these, catalogued with a table of contents (yes, she had that many), in a professional presentation with a cover page that matched her resume portofolio. What a marvelous leave-behind document to bring to a first interview!
References are not always contacted, but like cover letters that are not always read, you do have to be ready with these as they are simply part of today's recruitment process.
As for our little lady in the photo, can't you just hear what she may have to say!?
This Reference Sample provides you with a visual, and it goes yet another step beyond the average.