Free Reference List Template

Increase your chances of success by making sure your references are listed correctly.

Download our Reference List template and showcase your qualifications as an outstanding applicant.

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Last Update June 12th, 2024


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What is a Reference List Template

A Reference List template is a ready-made employment form that helps you quickly and easily organize your references. These templates are used in many areas, like job applications, research papers, and rental or loan applications.

Using a Reference List template saves time and reduces errors. It also enables you to focus more on selecting the most suitable references for your specific situation.

Pick references that match your application and can give valuable information about your skills or character.

Types of Reference List

There are different types of reference lists to choose from, depending on your needs and the context.

Following are some common types of reference lists:

  1. Reference List for employment: It may consist of past supervisors, colleagues, or clients who can speak to your skills, work ethic, and accomplishments.
  2. Academic Reference List: Commonly used for applying for educational programs, scholarships, or positions in academia. It usually includes professors, advisors, or mentors.
  3. Character Reference List: This type of list consists of individuals who can provide insights into your personal qualities, values, and integrity.
  4. Landlord Reference List: When signing a residential lease agreement, it is common for potential landlords to request references from previous landlords to ascertain your reliability as a tenant.
  5. Personal Reference List: In some cases, you may be asked to provide references who can vouch for your character and personal attributes. These lists often include friends and family members.
  6. Professional Network Reference List: This type of reference list includes individuals from your professional network who may not have worked directly with you but can provide valuable insights into your industry knowledge and reputation
  7. Combination Reference List: Depending on the situation, it may be appropriate to create a combination reference list that includes references from various categories mentioned above.

How to Format a Reference List

It's crucial to format a reference list clearly and professionally when presenting it to potential employers or landlords.

Find below an example of how to format personal and professional references:

Personal Professional



Duration of relationship

Phone number




Job title

Phone number


Organize your reference list **alphabetically **by last name or organization name.

What to Include in a Professional Reference List

A reference list is a valuable asset in various professional and personal contexts.

A detailed reference list can boost your credibility, whether you're applying for a job, a program, or a project.

Here are key elements to include in a reference list:

  • Contact information: Start by providing the full name, title, organization, email address, and phone number of each reference.
  • Relationship: Clearly state your relationship with each reference and the duration of your association. It could be a colleague, supervisor, mentor, teacher, client, or anyone who can attest to your character, skills, or performance.
  • Reference's area of expertise: Highlight the reference's area of expertise or professional background that qualifies them to provide insight about your abilities.
  • Relationship Duration: Indicate the duration or time frame during which you have maintained a professional or personal connection.
  • Additional notes: If there are any specific aspects or details you want to highlight about the reference or their relationship with you, add them as brief notes. This can include a memorable project you worked on together, specific roles they held during your collaboration, or any unique insights they can offer.

Maintaining strong relationships with your references is important. Keep them updated on your progress, and express gratitude for their support.

Reference List Tips

When creating a reference list, follow these tips to ensure it is effective and provides the necessary information for potential employers, landlords, or contacts:

  • Title your reference page: Begin your reference list with a clear and concise title, such as "Professional References for [Your Name]". This helps the reader easily identify and navigate through your references.
  • Select appropriate references: Choose individuals who can attest to your character, skills, or qualifications. Ideally, include former supervisors, managers, colleagues, or mentors who know you.
  • Seek permission: Before including someone as a reference, always ask for their permission.
  • Provide context to your references: Briefly explain your relationship with each reference and how they know you professionally. This helps employers understand the context and adds credibility to your recommendation.
  • Follow formatting guidelines: Make sure to follow any formatting instructions from the employer or institution. Consistency and clarity in formatting make your reference list easier to read and access.

Sample Reference List for Employment

To create an effective Reference List, it is beneficial to refer to a well-written sample beforehand. 

Below is an example that can offer guidance on outlining your document.

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Reference List Sample

Reference List Template FAQs

To help clarify any doubts, check out these answers to the most common questions about Reference Lists. 

Our responses will assist you in creating your own document.

When Should I Use a Reference List?

A reference list can be advantageous as it provides educational institutions, potential employers, or landlords with additional insights and perspectives on your capabilities and character.

When selecting references, it is important to choose individuals who have had direct professional or personal interactions with you and who can offer specific and relevant feedback that supports your application

How Can I Get a Reference List Template?

Use our Reference List template as a starting point to create your document. Take the time to carefully review and edit the template, ensuring that it includes all the necessary details and follows the appropriate format required by your intended audience.

By making these adaptations, you can ensure that your reference list accurately aligns with the expectations of those who will be reviewing it.

How Long Should a Reference List Be?

The length of a reference list can vary depending on the specific requirements and circumstances. In general, it is recommended to include at least 3 to 5 references. However, some employers or institutions may request a different number. 

Ensure that you follow any guidelines provided by the intended audience. It's also important to prioritize quality over quantity, selecting references who can provide valuable insights and feedback relevant to the circumstances.

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Reference List Sample

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