A reference list should be comprised of at least four individuals who a search firm or your next potential employer can reach out to and provide insight to your professional performance and characteristics. On that list you should include the name of the individual, their current position and company, their phone number, their email address and what their relationship was or is to you i.e. Supervisor, Peer, Subordinate and with which company.
Please ensure the contact information is correct.
Communicate with Your References
Ideally you will have reached out to those individuals prior to let them know that you are using them as a reference and that you would appreciate their prompt response to any calls made to inquire about you. Do not give out references lightly. Their time is very valuable so you would not want them contacted unless an employer is serious about considering you for employment. Never put your reference list on your resume or include it with your resume. This should be a separate document that is provided to those employers and search firms that you are in the process with and given only when specifically asked.
When considering who to use as a reference think about the level of position you are applying for and how that reference will represent you in discussion. You will want to list references which are able to represent you in a very professional manner. They should be individuals that you have worked with in the last five to ten years. Anything further back than that, depending on the level of individual you list, will most likely not be of great insight as it has been too long and most likely your work and leadership characteristics have grown since then.
Choosing the Right References
You would want to ensure that anyone on your reference list is articulate in how they converse with the individuals contacting them. They must present themselves well, be knowledgeable of your accountabilities, successes, strengths and areas of development. A diverse list of individuals to call is preferred i.e. Supervisors, Peers, Subordinates, other discipline leaders i.e. Human Resources, Training, Procurement. Again, please ensure the individuals listed are well versed in your work practices.
The level of leadership you are providing as references is very important. Do not under play your level of responsibility and authority by listing references that are significantly junior comparable to the level of position you are pursuing.
Remember your references are a professional representation of yourself. They will help influence the hiring decision and must add value and additional insight as it relates to your work and leadership characteristics.