Effective Resume Writing – How to Choose Your References


When writing resumes, people tend to place a lot of their attention on which skills and achievements to list and the format of their resumes. This is a very good thing to do and no one can blame you for doing so, but perhaps it is also a good idea to take some time to think about other concerns like whom you are going to list as references. This is one of the top rules of effective resume writing.

Your references may seem like an after-thought at times but you need to really give them more thought. After all, these are the people who will confirm everything you have written on your resume and they might even be the ones to tip the skills in your favor. Choose the right references and you can increase your chances of landing the job you want, but choose the wrong people and you might just lose your chance.

Effective Resume Writing—The Best References Effective Resume Writing – How to Choose Your References

Choosing the right character references is more than just looking for people who will sing your praises to the high heavens. It is more important to look for people who can tell prospective employers what you were able to do for the company and how you were as a worker (with a positive spin, of course!) because this shows them a glimpse of how you will perform when you are hired and made a part of their team.

If you have worked before then you can include your immediate supervisor as your reference together with some other higher-ups in the company who know your capabilities. You may also write down some former workmates of yours as references. If you have worked as a manager you can write down someone you have supervised so he or she can tell prospective employers how efficient you were as a boss.

Listing one higher-up and one person you supervised as references is the best thing you can do and it can give the prospective employer a better idea of the kind of worker and boss you were.

Folks who do not have too many working experiences or do not have experience at all can use their teachers as references. If you do not have any work experience but have done volunteer work then by all means use the head of the volunteer group as your reference.

Don’t Choose These References

Now that you have a better idea as to who you have interacted with makes the best references, it is time to look at some people who make really poor references. Check out the list below and see if some of them made your list of references:

  • Your mother
  • Your girlfriend
  • Your friend from elementary school you just met again after 20 years
  • Your building custodian
  • Your sister’s boyfriend’s mother
  • That stranger on the sidewalk


Looking at the list, you have a pretty clear idea of people who do not make ideal references and it is easy to see why. When it comes to effective resume writing, make sure that everything is as professional as can be and you should be all right.

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