Reference List

Reference List Template

Use our free Reference List in order to provide a list of contacts to a potential employer.

When you are submitting an application for a job, a rental, or a loan, you can use a reference list to organize a list of acquaintances who can vouch for you.

Make sure to contact the people on your reference list before compiling it to confirm that their information is accurate and that they are prepared to speak well about you.

To avoid including a list of references on your resume, make a separate list just for the hiring manager. In this method, you can prepare a reference page to give the hiring manager during or after your interview and attach it with your job application if one is needed.

Table of Contents

What exactly is a reference list?

A reference list is a critical component of academic and professional writing, providing comprehensive information about the sources cited or consulted within a document. It serves several essential purposes in scholarly and professional communication:

  1. Citation and Attribution: The primary function of a reference list is to provide proper credit to the authors, creators, or sources that have contributed to the content of a document. It acknowledges intellectual property and gives recognition to the work of others.
  1. Verification and Validation: It enables readers, instructors, editors, or researchers to verify the accuracy and credibility of the information presented in a document. By listing complete source details, readers can locate and evaluate the referenced material.
  1. Transparency and Integrity: A reference list promotes transparency by revealing the sources that have influenced the author's work. It demonstrates intellectual honesty and upholds academic and professional integrity.
  1. Support for Further Research: Researchers and scholars often use reference lists to explore related literature, delve deeper into a topic, or find additional sources for their own studies. A well-constructed reference list facilitates this process.
  1. Avoiding Plagiarism: By including sources in a reference list, authors demonstrate that they have appropriately cited and referenced external material, reducing the risk of plagiarism.

The format and style of a reference list depend on the citation style required by the academic institution, publication, or field. Common citation styles include APA, MLA, Chicago, and more, each with specific guidelines for formatting author names, titles, publication dates, and other source details. Creating an accurate and well-organized reference list is not only a matter of academic or professional convention but also a reflection of one's commitment to ethical research and communication.

Types of Reference Lists

Although both reference lists have the same goal, they are geared towards distinct sorts of relationships. There are two types of reference lists:

Personal Reference: A character reference is a quick evaluation of you as a person given by someone who is not familiar with you from the context of your place of employment.
Work Reference: A coworker's evaluation of you, usually a direct boss, who serves as your work reference.

What is Needed to Include in a Reference List

A reference list is a crucial component of academic and professional writing, as it provides detailed information about the sources you've cited or consulted in your work. Here's what you should include in a reference list:

  1. Author(s): List the author or authors of the source. For multiple authors, follow the citation style's guidelines for formatting (e.g., "Last Name, First Initial" for APA or "Last Name, First Name" for MLA).
  1. Publication Date: Include the publication date of the source. Use the format specified by the citation style, which can be the year alone (e.g., 2022), month and year (e.g., June 2022), or a full date (e.g., June 15, 2022).
  1. Title: Provide the title of the source in the exact wording as it appears in the original publication. Capitalization and formatting (italicization, quotation marks) should follow the citation style.
  1. Source Type: Indicate the type of source, such as "book," "journal article," "website," "conference paper," "thesis," or other relevant categories.
  1. Source Title: For books, journals, and other publications, include the title of the larger work (e.g., the book title for a chapter, the journal title for an article).
  1. Volume and Issue (if applicable): For journal articles, specify the volume and issue numbers.
  1. Page Numbers: Provide page numbers for specific sections, articles, or chapters within the source.
  1. URL (for online sources): If citing an online source, include the URL (web address) of the source. Ensure it is an active and accessible link.
  1. DOI (Digital Object Identifier): If the source has a DOI, include it. DOIs are commonly used for scholarly articles and provide a stable and reliable link to the source.
  1. Publisher: Include the name of the publisher for books and other published materials. If the source is self-published, specify that.
  1. Location (for print sources): For print sources like books, include the city or location where the source was published.
  1. Access Date (for online sources): Note the date you accessed the online source, especially if it's subject to updates or changes.
  1. Annotations (for annotated bibliographies): If you are creating an annotated bibliography, add a brief summary or evaluation of each source after its citation.
  1. Indentation and Formatting: Follow the citation style's guidelines for indentation, formatting, and punctuation. For example, APA and MLA have specific formatting rules.
  1. Alphabetical Order: Arrange the entries in alphabetical order by the author's last name (or title if no author is listed) as specified by the citation style.

The specific details to include may vary depending on the citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago) you are using, so it's essential to consult the style guide or manual relevant to your field or institution. Accurate and consistent formatting in your reference list is essential to maintain academic and professional credibility.

How to List References on a Resume?

The ideal way to add references to a resume is to present a well-organized list that is consistent throughout and clearly distinguishes between professional and personal references with the appropriate contact details. Using a template will make this process simple.

The following is a sample reference list for a resume:

✅ For professional references:

  1. Name
  1. Company
  1. Job title
  1. Phone number
  1. Email

✅ For personal references:

  1. Name
  1. Relationship
  1. How many years you’ve known them for
  1. Phone number
  1. Email

10 Tips for Writing a Reference List

Writing a reference list is a crucial part of academic and professional communication. Here are ten tips to help you create an effective reference list:

  1. Follow Citation Style Guidelines: Consult the appropriate citation style guide (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago) required by your institution, publication, or field. Adhere to its formatting and citation rules.
  1. Organize in Alphabetical Order: List references alphabetically by the author's last name or the title (if no author is provided). Ensure consistent formatting, such as italics or quotation marks.
  1. Use a Hanging Indent: Format each reference with a hanging indent, where the first line is flush left, and subsequent lines are indented. This enhances readability and conforms to most style guides.
  1. Include Complete Information: Provide all necessary information for each source, including author(s), title, publication date, source type, page numbers (if applicable), and publication details.
  1. Be Consistent: Maintain consistent formatting throughout your reference list. Ensure uniformity in terms of font, spacing, capitalization, and punctuation.
  1. Check DOI and URLs: If citing online sources, include Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) if available. For URLs, use the full and correct web addresses, and ensure they are active links.
  1. Proofread Carefully: Review your reference list for errors, such as typos, missing information, or incorrect formatting. Attention to detail is essential.
  1. Check for Updates: Ensure your references are up to date. For academic work, make sure you have the latest editions of books and articles.
  1. Include the Right Sources: Only include sources that you have cited or directly consulted in your work. Avoid padding your reference list with irrelevant or unused sources.
  1. Revise as Needed: As your writing progresses, be prepared to update your reference list to reflect any changes in your sources or citations


What is a reference list?

A reference list is a document that provides detailed information about the sources (e.g., books, articles, websites) you have cited or consulted in your academic or professional work. It typically appears at the end of a research paper, essay, or publication.

What is the purpose of a reference list?

The primary purpose of a reference list is to give credit to the authors or creators of the sources you've used in your work. It allows readers to locate and verify the information you've cited, promotes transparency, and supports academic and intellectual integrity.

How should I format my reference list?

The format of a reference list depends on the citation style you are required to follow, such as APA, MLA, Chicago, or others. Each style has specific guidelines for formatting author names, titles, publication dates, and more. Always consult the appropriate style guide for accurate formatting.

Do I need to include all sources I consulted in my reference list?

No, your reference list should include only the sources that you have cited directly in your work or that have significantly influenced your understanding of the topic. It should not include sources you have merely browsed or consulted briefly.

Should I include sources that are not in English in my reference list?

If you have used sources in languages other than English, you should include them in your reference list if they are directly cited or contribute to your research significantly. In such cases, provide the source's title, author (if available), and publication details in the original language, followed by an English translation in square b

Reference List Sample

Below is an example of a reference list:

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