Choose the right references when writing a professional resume.

Writing a professional resume requires choosing the right references.

Job references can be an important part of the interviewing process. While it’s no longer necessary to include them when writing a professional resume, you should still be ready with a list of people potential employers can contact. Choosing the right individuals can make a difference in your C-level personal branding, allowing you to make a great impression.

A Recent Boss

It may be tempting to list the boss from your first job because he felt you did a great job and appreciated your work ethic, but depending on how long it’s been, he may no longer remember you well enough to give a good reference. Choosing a more recent boss is your best option. If you choose not to include your current boss, be ready to explain why, even if you simply don’t want him to know you are looking for a new job.


People with whom you work can be a great asset to your resume. However, it’s important to make sure you choose the right individual. Just because you are friendly with a co-worker doesn’t make them a good professional reference. Choose someone who knows your job and can vouch for your value to the business.

Volunteer Organizations

Though not always related to your career choice, you can include someone from an organization for which you volunteered. Resumes that get you hired often list volunteer opportunities that show your dedication and your willingness to help others. Those who volunteer their time for a worthy cause are more likely to go above and beyond in the workplace as well.

An Early Odd Job

Babysitting and lawn mowing are common jobs for teenagers, even before they’re old enough to legally work. If you are still in touch with individuals for whom you performed these tasks, ask them if it’s all right to use them as a reference. This type of reference can do wonders for your C-level personal branding. It shows a strong work ethic and reliability.


You spent time in college training for work in your chosen field. One of the benefits of the time put in at a university can include using professors in your field as a reference for future jobs. These individuals know you on a personal level and can speak to your character better than many other references. However, be sure you choose one who knows you as a person, rather than just another face in the classroom.
Resumes that get you hired may not include references with the rest of your information, but they are still an important part of getting hired. As you create your list, make sure you choose the right people and let them know you are using them as a reference. No one is able to give a good reference if they aren’t prepared.