Are referees important on my resume?

Yes, a good referee is just as important as a good resume!

Often candidates neglect listing their referees. What should be an easy step in the recruiting process, is often a continuous struggle for recruiters. Deborah Burley, Recruitment Coordinator at MBC Recruitment, says: “Besides having the latest referees included in your resume, it is also equally important to inform them that they may be contacted by a recruiter for a reference check.”

Tips for providing referees

  • Get their permission to be used as a referee: having a referee decline a reference check doesn’t leave a good impression.
  • Ensure they are current referees: your employer from a decade ago, might not remember you anymore.
  • Ensure their contact details are still current: they need to be contactable – there is no point providing incorrect or old contact details.

Listing a referee

A job seeker should have three to four references on their resume. When applying for a more senior position, you might want to include even more. When one referee is unavailable, it is convenient to choose from the others. Be sure to place your best reference first. Remember to include the referee’s name, surname and position held. To add whether it’s a personal or professional acquaintance is always helpful and also remember to include their email address and telephone number.

Who makes a great character reference:

  • Previous employer or manager
  • Co-worker
  • Job Search Agency
  • Client or customer
  • Vendor or business acquaintance
  • A teacher or mentor
  • Fellow student or graduate from an educational programme
  • Personal referee if the others are not available


Remember, a reference check gives a recruiter a glimpse of your character. Make it count!