You read that right, references do not belong on your resume! I know that many of us grew up learning to include “References Available Upon Request” on our resumes. Those days, however, are over. Hiring managers know that you will provide references if you are asked. Do not waste your resume “real estate” with this information (unless the job posting specifically requires that you include references—and by the way, this is not a requirement of USAJOBS).

Instead of noting references on your resume, you should have a separate reference page ready to go. Your reference page does not get submitted with your resume when you apply (unless explicitly requested); instead, you should bring your reference page with you to your interview. Then, if the hiring manager asks for references, you’ll have your reference page ready to provide.

Here’s how to put together a reference page:

• Match the formatting of your reference page to the formatting of your resume (and cover letter) in terms of font, color, and any graphics.

• Include your name and contact information (professional-sounding email address—not your work email and phone number) at the top of your reference page. You may want to include your customized LinkedIn URL and any other social media links as well.

• List 3 to 5 professional references. Each reference listing should include the reference name, their title, organization, City, ST, email, phone number, and relationship to you. You may want to consider to consider listing projects or skills that they reference can attest to.

• Make sure the first reference is the most important one. Be sure to ask permission before listing a reference. And, provide your references with a copy of your latest resume so that know what you have been doing.

• If you are including references on USAJOBS (even though they are not typically required), make sure your references are different than the supervisor names you have provided for each of your jobs.

If you are asked to provide references for a particular job, contact everyone on your reference page right away to let them know. Let your references know the name of company / organization that asked for the information, the position you are seeking, and the name, title, email address, and phone number for the person who may be calling. You should also share some of the critical challenges and responsibilities of the position so your references will be prepared to discuss specific skills, experience, and achievements from their work with you.
And, don’t forget to thank your references!

Nancy Segal is a federal human resources training and job search expert. Following her own 30-year federal HR career (much of it at the senior level), she founded Solutions for the Workplace LLC in 2003 to provide an HR management perspective to both federal managers and astute applicants to U.S. government positions. Nancy has unmatched federal career management insight, high standards, and respect for people’s time, and her clients use this to their advantage.