The application process for most fields in business, industry, government, and non-profit will require you to provide a list of references rather than to submit written letters of recommendation. A separate document that you bring to an interview (or upload/attach along with the resume and cover letter when requested up front), the list of references includes contact information of 3-5 individuals who can speak to your work ethic, professional abilities, and prior achievements. In many cases these will include some of the same people who write letters of recommendation for your academic applications (e.g. your advisor), but you may also want to include others who have seen your work in action, including a supervisor, lab manager, committee member, teaching coordinator, mentor, etc. 

Remember to:

  • request permission to list someone as a reference
  • ask for their preferred contact information
  • keep them informed on the status of your applications

Q) Should I list my references on my resume?
A) No! References should always be a separate document. Never include them directly on the resume itself unless specifically required by the application instructions. You also don't need to write "References available upon request." Employers know if they ask you for references that you will provide a list.

View our newest guide to Professional References for more information.

Recommended Reading

Developing your list of references,

Digital Resources

Graduate Career Services has a Pinterest Page where we have gathered a wide variety of carefully selected online content that may be of interest to graduate students.