So I recently applied for a job, and there wasn't a section to include anyone that referred me to this company. It made me think that maybe I should have put my friends name in my resume references, because his dad works at the company. However I don't know if it's the right thing to do, since I heard from different sources that including your friends in your references is not right.

Edit 1: By putting the reference in my resume I meant putting it separately with my resume.

Edit 2: One of the reasons for not using his dad's name to begin with was that, I don't know him personally, and so my friend asked me to use his name instead.


4 Answers 4


If there is no section for referrals, do not put any name on application. Barring ethics, writing any names without their consent is harmful for both them and you.

Let us be straight: if you would be hired because of your connections, you would not need to write any name.


To elaborate on @Joe Strazzere's comment:

  1. Don't put references on your resume. You can but it generally isn't done. Companies who want references will ask you for them and it's trivial to send them a short tailored list via email.
  2. Whoever you list as a reference must have agreed to it. This is just basic courtesy.
  3. Whoever is on your list must be relevant to the recipient.
    1. Your friend is only relevant if you have worked together (ideally you for him). His dad working for the company is irrelevant.
    2. His father is only relevant if he can speak to your professional qualities. Him working for the company can be a great bonus but only if the first requirement is fulfilled.

Normally, you send you resume to the person you know. In this particular case, you would have sent your resume to your friend. It's then your friends' call whether or not he wants to forward it to his father, and then it's his father's call whether he wants to forward it to HR with a special note (either a positive one or a negative one).

This is the preferred way of doing this.

Whatever you do, like Joe Strazzere said, do not write your references in advance on your resume. You're confusing the term reference with the term referral anyway. References are usually handled at the end of the process when they're already pretty sure they're going to hire you. Referrals are done at the beginning.

Now that you've missed the boat, you should still probably forward your resume to your friend anyway, tell him that you've already applied, and ask that he forwards that copy to his father in case he wants to refer you.

If employees get referral bonuses for referring new employees, his father will probably appreciate that you did this. In either case, his father will probably appreciate the heads up. This way, he'll ask his son about you. Also, this will avoid any awkward moment where the father might remember your face, but not your name, in case you ever run into him at the company.


The other answers have talked about not adding references to your resume, however there is another underlying question not being answered. How do you bring up the subject that you were referred to the company, in case there is a referral bonus or similar?

As already stated, the references place is the wrong place to put a referral.

Instead, if you're wanting to add that your friend referred you, there are two places that you could do it.

  1. At the end of the interview (If you get one)
  2. In the cover letter sent along with your resume

If you've already applied and are too late to add it to your covering letter, you can ask them if they would like to know who referred you to the position, at the end of an interview. Be prepared to be told no, as they might not want to take any bias into account.

If you haven't submitted your application yet, think about adding it to your covering letter. There are some samples here:

I've taken an example from the first one to show how it could be done:

Email Cover Letter With a Referral Subject: Referred by Sloane Greene

Dear Ms. Future,

I am writing to you in regard to the position of billing manager that you have posted on your company website. I worked with Sloane Greene in the billing department of XYZ Enterprises for several years before taking a hiatus to raise my children.

When I mentioned I was returning to the workforce, she recommended I contact you about this position, as she felt that I would be an excellent fit for your organization.

At XYZ, I worked closely with Sloane to convert our billing system to handle the increase in sales volume the company was experiencing. I oversaw the seamless transition when our deliverables doubled in less than 6 months. I have successfully managed both small and large billing departments, but am most comfortable in an environment like that at your company. I feel that my experience would be an asset to Bright Enterprises, and would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you regarding the open position.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.


Beth Maple [email protected] 123-456-7890


As you can see, the regular reference to someone, whilst not including them as a reference can be done. Though do read the 2nd link as it also goes through some pitfalls to avoid when using someone as a referral to a company. I've included some below:

  • Confirm that your reference knows the appropriate people at the potential employer
  • Confirm your contact knows that they are your referral
  • Know whether it is appropriate to use a referral


In your specific case, I'm not sure adding your friend as a referral will help you, unless your friend and/or your friend's dad know how you work in a professional context, it could seem a very long shot. Instead, it would be better to build your network and have a referral from someone inside the company that you know in a professional context.

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